I’ve recently been in conversation with a few people, one of whom is retirement-eligible and afraid to retire. When I asked her about her fear, she said that she would not know what to do. This is not the first time I have heard this. Throughout my career working in organizations, I have discovered fascinating things about people I work with – talents that they have and passions that they would love to pursue.
Throughout my life, I have not waited until the right time to become involved in something I am passionate about. For me, it has been music, birding, gardening, and travel. I almost fell into the trap of wishing my life away and saying, “someday I will do this… someday I will do that…” I also discovered fairly early in my career that as good as my career was going, and as happy as I was with my career path and the organizations in which I worked, I felt a lack of fulfillment. I stayed close to my observations and did a lot of personal work to discover what I am most passionate about. For my hobbies, I began to find ways to bring them into my life and make time for them. For my career, after discovering again and again what I’m most passionate about (leadership coaching), I took the leap and left my corporate position to start my own business as an executive coach.
My hope is that more people who want to pursue a passion go ahead and pursue it now. If we listen to our heads and our hearts and believe that we have the potential and the capability to do things beyond that which we might imagine, we can live out our passions. Too many of us become afraid of what that might mean if we follow our passions. Why do we wait? What are we afraid of?
There are many examples of people who made entire career switches into a path that they are most passionate about. In nearly every example that I read about or experienced, those people are entirely fulfilled and happy with the choices that they made. They wouldn’t go back. They wouldn’t change a thing.
Living out one’s passion does not always mean picking up and making an entire 180° change. Often, it can begin by incorporating those aspects of ourselves that we are most passionate about and making them a part of our everyday living. It begins by going inward and being introspective about what fulfills us in our work and our lives. Then, it’s being willing to think about all the possibilities and letting go of our fears for some time. Amazing things can happen. We may take the leap, or we may start bringing in small aspects of those passions that fill our lives and bring out the best in us.
What will you do next to move towards living out your passions?