Sometimes no matter how hard you try, something you once loved no longer floats your boat and makes you want to stay in bed instead of leaping out of it in the morning! This is what happened to me about seventeen years into my corporate life. I no longer felt the urge to go in early, stay late, and work weekends because I was not enjoying what I was doing and quite frankly after losing my first husband when he was only thirty-nine I knew all too well how short life really could be.

I decided it was time for me to make a radical change, so I stepped off the corporate bus and took a year off to decide whom I really wanted to be when I grew up. It was by no means a straight line to the final decision. There were times when I almost went back into corporate but when my second husband told me if I did, he did not want to hear about it after listening to my complaining about my last role for the previous two years, so that option was scratched off the list.

I truly believe I was born to be an entrepreneur. Raised at the knee of an entrepreneurial mother, I learned a lot about being one because my parents were inclusive, and openly shared the difficulties of owning their own business. It is in my blood and I decided that I really did want to work for no one but myself so the next thing I had to figure out was what I could do!

You often hear about people having a ‘passion in life’, so I determined I needed to find out what I was truly passionate about. As I was struggling to find what I was passionate about, I decided to conduct a little exercise using the word passion itself. It took a long time and a lot of introspection, but this exercise ultimately helped me to identify my passion. Let me share the steps I went through with you.

P – Personal

Passion is not an external pressure hoisted upon us from the outside—it comes from within. So did I believe that there was something inside of me that may lie at the root of my passion? Losing my thirty-nine year old husband to a terrible accident certainly changed my life and brought with it a myriad of emotions, but was this to be the root of my passion?

A – Affect

Had something affected me in a profound enough way to stir up my passion? I had been in the financial services business for years and had always thought that if anything happened to me, I would be able to cope better than others would. Wrong! Over the years, a thought kept nagging me: with all of my experience and expertise, if I was so affected by things that came my way after my husband died, what must the average person go through?

S – Story

I asked myself if I believed that suddenly becoming a widow with a twelve-and-a-half year old daughter, going through hell, coming out the other side of it upright and subsequently remarrying was a story in itself. It was!

S – Share

Then I had to ask myself the tough questions. Would I be able to summon up the emotional courage and fortitude to share that story and, equally as important, should I? My answer was, again, yes.

I – Inspirational

Why was I thinking of sharing the story? Was it to garner sympathy or did I believe it would be inspirational to others? I believed it could be inspirational, but I firmly knew that it had to have an educational component as well.

O – Outcome

What did I want the outcome of sharing my story to be? To help others not to have to go through what we went through.

N – Need

Did I truly believe there was a need for my story and the things I learned along the way to be shared? Yes!

This exercise was not conducted over a cup of tea one lazy afternoon it was a long process. After all of that soul searching, I decided to share my story by writing a book and offering up a roadmap to help educate people on how to prepare so that, in the event of a terminal illness or death, they would not be blindsided as I was in so many ways.

So what is the moral of sharing this story with you? Through uncovering my passion later in life, I have come to understand my purpose for being here as well. My ‘PURPOSE’ is to help people have courageous conversations with themselves first, then their loved ones and then to engage the appropriate financial professionals so that each of you can, WITH THE [STROKE] OF A PEN®, Claim your life. I am living my life with passion, purpose and looking forward to helping others claim theirs—and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a great way to spend my time.

I would love to hear your thoughts or stories about finding your passion in the comments section below.