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Five Steps to Vocational Passion: A Disciplined Plan for Major Mid-life Changes

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    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2004
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      You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print,
      free of charge, as long as the resource box below is included.
      A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

      --Title: Five Steps to Vocational Passion:
      A Disciplined Plan for Major Mid-life Changes

      --Author's First and Last name: Craig Nathanson
      --Author's Website: http://www.thevocationalcoach.com
      --Author's E-mail address: craig @ thevocationalcoach.com
      - Author's Phone 925-855-0755 Fax 925-855-0750
      --Number of words: 941

      Five Steps to Vocational Passion:
      A Disciplined Plan for Major Mid-life Changes
      by Craig Nathanson

      There's a famous song lyric that asks: "Is that all there
      is?" Every seven seconds, an American turns 50 years old. So
      there's a good chance that song is running through some of
      their heads.

      The question captures the ennui that many people feel in
      mid-life. They look up at the clock, see it ticking, and
      begin counting in their heads all the mountains not climbed,
      the poems not written, and the songs not sung.

      It's time to stop asking the question idly. I'm offering
      five initial steps that you can take to evaluate your
      situation and to begin the transition away from a
      meaningless grind toward a new life that provides you with
      energy and fulfillment.

      Vocational passion is an alignment of your abilities and
      interests in a role that gives you unlimited energy and
      happiness. This is not an overnight process. But it's a
      process you can begin today.

      Step One: Evaluate

      Lots of people settle for jobs that pay the bills but leave
      them feeling empty. If you want to break out of this trap
      and find another kind of life, you need to evaluate where
      you'd like to go.

      Examine where your passions lie. On a scale of 1-10, where
      are you when it comes to vocational passion? A "1" is a
      living drudgery where you force yourself to your desk every
      morning and dream about the end of the day; a "10" is a
      perfect alignment between interests and livelihood.

      Too many of us are closer to "1" than "10". Anything lower
      than a "5" suggests your working life may be feeding your
      family, but at the expense of starving your soul.

      Step Two: Envision Your Future

      You may have seen the U.S. Navy ad that asks: "If someone
      wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read

      Here's your chance to write that book - or at least the
      outline. Sit down and write a short biography that describes
      who you are five years from now. Describe exactly the life
      you wish to lead, doing work that you love. You will know
      you're done with the exercise when your heart races with

      Then imagine and write down your vision of a perfect
      vocational day. It's difficult to achieve something that you
      have not clearly envisioned. Make sure your vision has
      clarity. Then document it and pull it out regularly, to
      refresh your desire to achieve that vision.

      Step Three: Tune Out Negative Feedback

      Understand this: The moment you announce plans to make a
      radical change in your life, many people will find the move
      threatening and they will not wish you well. They will try
      to talk you out of it and tell you what a big mistake you're
      about to make.

      Never let the naysayers dictate your life. People who listen
      to negative voices end up with the status quo.

      Step Four: Shore Up Your Support Network

      Anyone making a change needs supportive friends, and lots of

      I suggest a three-tiered model for analyzing your personal
      support network. The three tiers will include people who are
      1) "interested" in your work; 2) "supporters" who are not
      only interested, but offer creative ideas to move you
      forward; 3) "believers," which includes your most active

      Make your lists now. Examine whom you have in your support
      network and rank them according to these tiers. Focus on
      networking with your tier-one supporters, while trying to
      move those people in tiers two and three up the ladder.

      Step Five: Assess Your Risk

      When taking action to follow one's passion, people trying to
      change their life fall into one of four categories. Each
      requires a different strategy.

      Category One: Plenty of money and plenty of time. People in
      this category have a high tolerance for risk based on their
      relatively young age and solid financial means.

      Category Two: Plenty of money and little time. Because of
      failing health and/or advancing age, those in category two
      have some risk tolerance. But they probably lack a solid
      support network, since most friends will advise against
      change because they are "too old" or "too sick."

      Category Three: Little time and little money. I define
      "little money" as having less than six months of cash flow
      in the bank. Risk tolerance is low in this category, and
      supporters are probably hard to come by. Most people are in
      this category.

      Category Four: No money and no time. I define "no money" as
      less then three months cash flow in the bank. Anyone is this
      position will have a very low risk tolerance. They will find
      little support to help them move toward doing what they

      What to do?

      Take the calculated risks now.
      Make solid but flexible plans
      Get aligned around your abilities and interests
      Get more education if necessary
      Talk to people who do what you want to do!

      What's the worst that can happen?

      Remember this: You won't die or become homeless if you
      pursue what you love. You may, however, find that your
      relationship to your money will change. You'll respect money
      more, and you'll find that you can manage on less of it.

      Also understand that pursuing vocational passion doesn't
      always mean making less money. But it does mean that money
      is not the only consideration - or even the most important
      consideration - in choosing your new vocational path.

      If you don't act to pursue your vocational passion, then
      every seven seconds someone else will come along and ask
      themselves: "Is that all there is?" Many of them will
      answer, "No," and will do something about it. You can be one
      of the doers.

      Craig Nathanson, The Vocational Coach, is the author of "P
      Is For Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day," by Book Coach
      Press. He publishes the free monthly e-zine, "Vocational
      Passion in Mid-life." Craig believes the world works a
      little better when we do the work we love. He helps those in
      mid-life carry this out. Visit his online community at
      http://www.thevocationalcoach.com where you can sign up for
      his next Tele-class coming up November 17.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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