Use Passion to Fuel Your Next Act

5 Steps to Find Your Passion for Your Next Act

“Passion is the first and most essential ingredient for planning and beginning a business or for starting and completing any worthwhile project.”  ~ Martha Stewart


5 Steps to Find Your Passion for Your Next Act

Are you looking to reinvent yourself?  Maybe you are reeling from the economic downturn or just feel ready to move on to something different, more interesting or exciting.  Where do you begin?

First, consider:  Do you want to work at a job, at a career, or at a passion?  If you want to work at a job, your primary concern will be your compensation.  If it is at a career, it will be your opportunities for promotions and professional development.  And if it is at a passion your concern will be the work itself and the desire for money, prestige or control will be secondary.

Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”   When Mae Laborde reinvented herself to start her Hollywood career at age 93, she was an example of someone who wanted to work at a passion.    She was good at it and she loved it.

Use Passion to Fuel Your Next Act

1.      Pick Yourself Up and Dust Off

Some of the most successful people have achieved remarkable achievements after some spectacular failures.  You can read about them here, but the point is, you too can reinvent yourself and be successful!  Accept that this is a scary process; embrace the challenge of moving into an exciting new direction.  Po Bronson in his quest to find out how people reinvented themselves found that they usually did it in hard times; in good times they only talked about it. “Hard times forced them to overcome the doubts that normally gave them pause.  It surprised me how often we hold ourselves back until we have no choice.”[i]

2.     Be Positive

It may be hard to positive at a time like this, but it is an absolute must.   Research by Barbara Frederickson, author of Positivity, has shown that people need a positivity ration of 3:1 to flourish.  A side benefit of having positivity at an optimal ratio is that positivity “broadens and builds.”  This means that you will see more opportunities and that they will build on one other in unexpected ways.  If that sounds on target, but not doable, read my blog about how you can up your positivity ratio.

5 Steps to Find Your Passion for Your Next Act

Find your Passion

3.     Find Your Strengths 

It makes sense that as you move forward in a new direction that you want to do it from a position of strength.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a good idea of what our strengths are.  They are a taken-for-granted commodity.  A good way to develop awareness of your strengths is to think about the things that energize and excite you.  You are probably using your strengths at those times.  I also offer a free Strengthsfinder coaching session that you can schedule here.

4.     Commit to Your Values

When you are passionate about something it is because you care deeply about.  You want to think about what you value and you want to commit your life direction to something that is grounded in those values.  To help figure that out, review this list of values  and ask yourself:  What do you value most about yourself as a human being? What do you value most about your work?  What would you value about an organization that you were affiliated with?

5.     Put Your Toe in the Water

Reinventing yourself is a process.  Start with baby steps.  When you take a small step towards a new direction you won’t find yourself paralyzed by the fear of making a big change.  Big changes usually are the cumulative result of taking many small steps.  Most important: enjoy the journey, learn as you go, and in the words of Ellen Langer, “Be GLADO.”

Want some help in using passion to fuel your next act? Please contact me  for a free consultation to see if some coaching can help you.



P.S. Have you checked out The Happiness Shelf in the Leader’s Library on My picks and the reasons why I picked them are all there with links to Amazon. And, if you buy one of these books through the Leader’s Library, I am donating the affiliate money I earn to Better World Books.

Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry. She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves. An MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.

BCC Board Certified Coach #1487



[i] Po Bronson, What Should I Do With My Life: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question



  1. Use Passion to Fuel Your Next Act | affiliate per click on February 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

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  2. Calla Gold on February 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Dr. Lynn,
    I am living proof that living and working your passion makes you a happy person. I’m a very happy person and I love being a Jeweler and Jewelry Designer in Santa Barbara.
    So I’m passionate about where I live and passionate about my work.
    Jeweler Calla

    • Executive Coach on February 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      You definitely are a living example of what Confucius said, Calla! Thanks for being the happy and passionate personal jeweler that you are. So many people are the beneficiary of your gift.

  3. Alison on February 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Lynn-I love your list of values. Committing to your values often times steers you where you need to go, but you need to know YOUR values. I have always had a passion for what ever I do. I couldn’t imagine just going to a job with no connection, passion, or enjoyment.

    • Executive Coach on February 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Glad you liked the list of values Alison! It is interesting to review those and think about what it is we care about. You are indeed fortunate to have felt such passion for your work. I am sure that many people have positively benefited from your passion.

  4. Keisha Lowe on February 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Dr. Jones,

    Your blog on how a person can use their passion to fuel his or her next act came at an appropriate time considering Valentine’s Day. Many people are losing sight of what passion means in regards to what they want to do in life. Referring to the thesaurus, I was reminded that the synonyms for passion include words and phrases such as intense love, strong interest, or affection. In other words, it is important for individuals to reconnect and to become in tune with the things or activities that put a smile on their face or excite them. As you pointed out in your blog’s title, passion is what fuels individuals to continue doing the activities they enjoy. Passion is the driving force to motivate people to pursue and reach new heights in their lives.

    In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I believe that it is important for individuals to pursue their goals and activities like dating or marrying someone. Most people only date or marry someone that they love or possess a strong passion towards the person of their interest. Therefore, it is equally important and makes sense for people to stop wasting time and energy on activities that they do not have any interest in or love.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

    • Executive Coach on February 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Happy Valentines Day to you, Keisha! And thanks for making such a powerful connection between passion and love, which we all understand to intuitively and passion and doing what we love in life! May you pursue your passions in life and love!
      Dr. Jones

  5. LaShasta on March 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    This is a very strong article. I totally agree with the overall message. It is oftentimes impossible to be positive during hard or challenging times. I have learned that staying positive requires a great deal of mental strength to avoid allowing the negative to control any given situation. Great Article.

  6. SBMatchmaking on April 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    This article resonates strongly with me.  I “reinvented” myself just over one year ago and couldn’t be happier.  It’s true, however, that I was really at a crossroads when I decided to take the leap.  My marriage was ending, my job lost when the company I was working for folded and although I liked my job, I wasn’t finding it very fulfilling.  Through support from loved ones and a big push from my mentor, I did it.  I went from being an Accountant to a Matchmaker!  This may sound funny but my accounting spreadsheet mind really crosses over well into my new, far more fulfilling career which is also a passion.  I encourage others to also find support and believe in themselves enough to pursue their passions as well.

    • DrLynnKJones on April 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

      @SBMatchmaking What a fabulous story!  I applaud your courage to make your passion-fueled change.  It sounds like you really did follow the 5 steps that I outlined and that they worked wonderfully well.  The key as you say, is “to find support and believe in yourself.”

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