No matter where you are in your continuum, you can follow your purpose. 

By Marcella de la Torre Special to the Star Tribune AUGUST 23, 2020 — 2:00PM

Q: What tips do you have to turn a passion into a profession?

A: Let’s start by looking at change.

First, we need to understand that life is a series of chapters where the beginnings and ends are blended unless we are forced by an unforeseen event, and even then, one could have been thinking about what that next chapter may look like for a long time. We spend the first part of life or childhood learning skills and getting educated, then we move into adulthood and what Pam D. McLean, CEO and co-founder of the Hudson Institute of Coaching, calls “launch.”

In this phase, we are managing our careers, starting families and volunteering at sports teams or our favorite nonprofit. In many instances, we are coping with life and may not have time to listen, pause and reflect on our purpose.

Then, we move to the third phase of life, elderhood. In the past, we believed this is a time to keep working frantically and making sure we get to retirement while at the same time supporting our parents and children. However, this is in fact a time where our inner self craves a life designed on purpose, our core values, our true self. For some, this can occur much earlier in life, but it’s never too late. No matter where you are in your continuum, you can follow your purpose.

One way to start shifting to a new chapter is by working on self-renewal. One book I recommend is McLean’s “LifeForward: Charting the Journey Ahead.” You can also attend self-renewal workshops and retreats and work with a certified and well-trained coach. However, you may simply start by journaling and finding what your life stories have in common. What drove you to choose your career, accept jobs, volunteer work, etc.? What is the thread? What moved you and what still sparks interest in you? What is your inner voice telling you about your next chapter? Remember I mentioned life is a continuum of chapters and circular movement? Become a lifelong learner and live the life you were meant to live.

As Peter Senge, author of the bestseller “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization,” said, “All real change is grounded in new ways of thinking and perceiving.”

Marcella de la Torre teaches courses at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.

This article originally appeared in the Star Tribune. Used by kind permission of the Star Tribune.