The Cure for Career Anxiety Series


Condition #2: Passionless

There is an epidemic sweeping the career world right now–career anxiety. It is evidenced by low job satisfaction and engagement rates and a need for all to dig deep and find resilience in a rapidly changing global economy.   This blog series will be a conversation guided by reader questions and is designed to cure career anxiety and bring you to career clarity.

Question from a reader: When my manager asked me what my interests at work were in a career development session, I blurted out, “I have no idea.”  Sadly, I feel like I have no passion left and walk around work feeling numb. Can you help?

The Cure: Possibilities

Once, I had a discussion with a client, based in London, who told me that the corporate world had “beaten all the creativity out of her.”  A year after she said that, she left her job in banking and began a new career as a freelance consultant and television producer.  A big part of her process to getting there, required her to revive her natural creative spirit and generate new ideas from that place.

Taking responsibility for your own creative process and not relying solely on an organization can put yourself back in the driver seat of your own career. Whether you want to grow in the job you are already in, change career tracks or jobs or start a business, you probably need new ideas that will inspire you to action. This is often more challenging than people expect, but help is on the way through the 3 P’s of Possibilities, below, which offers questions designed to spark your imagination and get to new ideas you will need for your own career development.  

3 P’s of Possibilities:

1.      Passions

     What do you love to make?

     What do you love to buy?

     What do you love to do?

     What moves you to tears?

     What ignites your curiosity?

2.      Problems

What are the problems that intrigue you? (use to list to inspire your own ideas)



     Social Issues







     Your own area of interest

3.      People

     Who do you love?

     Who do you admire?

     Who do you like hanging out with?

     Who do you envy and why?

     Who do you want to help?

     Who is easy for you to serve?

     Who do you think you understand best?

Take your time to explore and answer all the questions above thoroughly, keeping in mind those areas of ideas that most excite you. Some of you that are better working in a group, may want to do this exercise with colleagues or friends. Once you have made a concerted effort and explored these ideas deeply, make a list of your top 10 ideas and then choose one or more to investigate that best align with your talents, goals and interests. From there you can create an action plan to put your passions into practice in a practical way such as using them for a school project, a product development process at work and taking actions to start a business plan.

Thank you for your great question and I hope this gives you permission to begin the process of digging deep and getting to your purpose. Let me know what you thought and if have a specific question I can answer in this series.  My approach to career development is from the inside out; dreams find their freedom and people find their dream jobs.

You can find more inspiration here in this wonderful TED talk:

Laurel Donnellan

CEO and Founder, Bright Livelihoods

Laurel has 30 years of experience as a leader, educator and coach and has degrees from Cornell and Columbia and consistently provides effective career education, organizational consulting and executive coaching programs To learn more about the Bright Livelihoods community, go to To schedule a private half-hour coaching session, e-mail us at


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