“To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?” – Katherine Graham – American Publisher.
According to research conducted by the Kauffman Foundation in 2019, more than 25% of new entrepreneurs were between the ages of 55 and 64. This is compared to just under 15% in 1996. The impact of COVID-19 is continuing to fuel this trend in 2020. As older workers experience layoffs or take early retirement packages due to the pandemic, many are evaluating the possibility of launching their own business.
One of the first things to consider involves determining what will ignite excitement and fulfillment in you. Starting a business is hard work. Pursuing something that is purposeful and taps into your passion will keep you motivated during the inevitable ups and downs. If you are amongst those older Americans who are now considering starting a new chapter in your career, here are some tips to help you find your passion.
Being in the Zone
When was the last time that you were so engaged in what you were doing that you completely lost track of time? What is it that you were involved with? Were you organizing, planning, decorating, running a meeting, painting, gardening, helping others, or teaching? Whatever you were engaged in, you were experiencing being “in the zone”. This is a state of being fully focused, motivated, and passionate – a state where you are doing what you are uniquely gifted to do.
One of my teachers, Laura Berman Fortgang, has said, “your satisfaction will not stem from what you do but from who you get to be while you do that thing.” We often get caught up in what we are “supposed” to be doing. This can stem from a wide variety of influences including parents, friends, teachers, and societal pressures to name a few. Forget titles and look at the essence of who you get to be in any business pursuit you consider. It can open up doors you never imagined.
Find what it is that uniquely lights you up. Your passion can be something that you’ve known all your life or you may evolve into it as you notice what you most love. To begin your own exploration, consider the following questions.
- What gets me excited about life?
- What brings meaning to my life?
- If I could do exactly what I’d like to do, what would it be?
- What are my natural gifts and talents?
- What did I most like to do as a young child?
- What are my criteria for happiness?
- What are my values?
Your Next Steps
Once you have jotted down the answers to these questions, it can be helpful to share them with a close friend, a mentor, or a coach to flesh them out and look at possibilities. It’s never too late to embark on a new path. Dreams can be realized no matter where you are in your life’s journey. Take these first steps to open the door to what could be next for you.