If you’ve recently experienced a serious medical event, the thought of returning back to work (or if you’re retired, returning back to the way you lived) may trigger some anxiety. Do you really want to return to a job or a lifestyle that may have been the underlying cause of your illness, injury or impairment? If you’re afraid, embrace those feelings.

This is a great time to cultivate some thoughts of change. Starting a new year or making a lifestyle change often inspires new ideas, intentions and assessments about your life.

  • Do you love what you do?
  • Do you find fulfillment in what you do?
  • Do you wake up in the morning with energy and anticipation?

If so, you’ll likely to live a longer life. If not, how do you get there? Here’s how…

Connect with Your Excitement

Passion is what separates you from the mediocre and unremarkable. Passion is not defined by what you do, it’s who you are. When you operate from a place of passion, life is effortless. If you love what you do, you move through your day with enthusiasm, purpose and determination.

But… somehow along the way, you may have veered off course and you’re no longer sure of who you are. Why? Because you’ve been operating from the ever-so-confining rules of “I should” rather than your own burning desire.

How many times have you said “I should” when it relates to why you’re working at your current job or completing obligations? Have you ever said any of the following in the past few months?

I should work here because…

  • It’s good for my resume.
  • I need the money, benefits, or both.
  • I’m comfortable doing this type of work. It’s what I studied in college.
  • I’m good at what I do and I’ve invested __ years doing it.
  • I don’t know what else I could do.
  • It’s the family business, and they need me to run it.
  • It pleases my spouse, parents, or ____ (fill in the blank) and makes them proud of me.

I should start this new business because…

  • It can be lucrative, i.e., I can get rich quick.
  • I can’t get a job.
  • It utilizes my skills.
  • My friend wants to start a business together.

I should retire because…

  • I’m old, slow and feel like I’m not very useful.
  • I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to keep working.
  • I’ve “aged out” of the job market.

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you are suffering from what I call “I Should Syndrome”. If left untreated, you’re destined to live a mediocre life.

The Best Treatment for “I Should Syndrome”

  1. Revisit your childhood. What did you love to do? Clues to your passion are activities that cause you to lose all track of time. There is no timeclock when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Children play. Adults worry.
  • As an adult you’ve learned to worry about failing, about being judged, criticized, and how you measure up. Over time, you lose your sense of who you are and morph into who you should be – not who you want to be. Examine whether you can incorporate the fun experiences of your childhood into your career choices today.
  1. Ask yourself this question: If you could do anything and know you would not fail, what would you do? The answer could unveil your passion. Frankly, though, the answer may not be so easy to figure out if you’ve been hidden behind many layers of “I Should’s”. But keep at it and eventually, your passion will reveal itself once again.
  1. Stop analyzing and start doing. Now’s the time to break out of the “I Should” shackles and start doing what you love. Forget about trying to figure out how to monetize it and let things evolve. Have fun! Get feedback.
  • Figure out how you can contribute to solving a problem using your passion. By starting now, you’ll have more clarity when it comes time to putting together a business plan. Here’s my favorite inspirational quote:

    “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” ~ Kobi Yamada

  1. Study the people who are where you want to be. Make a list of the people you emulate or envy. See what they’re doing. The difference between you and those people is simple… you sell yourself short. So start studying and figure out what it takes to be successful in a career or lifestyle that you love too.

Karen’s Fit Tip: Remember, you’re either in a state of growth or in a state of decay. When you’re ‘comfortable’, you’re not growing. Only when you live from your passion can you be remarkable. Transform the world. Don’t let it transform you. And most of all, live fearlessly — and don’t let your age confine you.


Karen Owoc

Karen Owoc is a certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist specializing in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and lifestyle medicine. Her science-based approach to longevity, nutrition, and muscle health has made her the go-to source for health seekers and medical professionals alike. Karen's best-selling book on functional longevity, "Athletes in Aprons: The Nutrition Playbook to Break 100", and her transformative perspective have mended many minds, hearts, and spirits.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *