Ask the Coach: I’m Not Passionate About My Job But It Pays Well—What Should I Do?

UPDATED: June 7, 2023
PUBLISHED: September 10, 2021
Ask the Coach: I'm Not Passionate About My Job But It Pays Well—What Should I Do?

I am in a lucrative career, but it’s just a job to me. I don’t feel passionate about it, but I have a hard time letting go and pursuing a real passion because it pays the bills well.

Any advice?

The first thing we have to do is take you through a process of self-discovery. You have to understand the reality of where you are and how you got there before you are able to move forward. Skipping this step means you might never find the right path to follow.

Let’s start by looking at the relationship between purpose, growth and success. They are intertwined. Most people wander aimlessly through life without understanding their purpose. Start by asking yourself these questions: Do you know why you get up in the morning? Do you know why you are here? What’s your purpose?

Purpose fuels growth. Growth means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? It’s hard to say your current environment supports your personal and professional growth if you can’t define what growth means.

Success is ultimately everyone’s desire. We all want to be more successful, but how do you define success? The dictionary definition is, “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” Many people don’t have a specific aim or purpose. Without knowing your specific aim or purpose, how do you know if you’re winning? It’s like you’re playing a game without keeping score. Without clarity here, we typically find ourselves with a lack of passion and enthusiasm and then wonder why we get frustrated. Success is rarely found in the absence of growth.

We most effectively make major decisions by being asked and by answering powerful questions. So, let me ask you: What happened to your passion? Everyone loses their passion at some point. We get comfortable, we take our foot off the gas a little, and then we wonder why our momentum slows down.

What did you once love about what you do? Note the past tense. You got into your current career for a reason. Let’s go back to the “honeymoon phase.” What drew you to this track? When did the gap start to form between what you are doing and what you are passionate about doing? What caused that gap? More times than not, the gap starts and grows when there’s a lack of congruency between your values and the role you’re playing. That can happen for a couple of reasons. Maybe you changed, maybe the organization or industry changed, maybe all of the above.

Once we gain clarity there, we must inspect that gap. Doing so will tell me a lot about what has changed. You might not even know consciously. That’s why you need a coach to ask tough questions and challenge you on the answers.

The next powerful questions are, can you regain that passion? Can we realign your values and the role you’re playing? If the answers are no, then it might be time to make a change.

Most people don’t take the next step because they are afraid. Fear holds most of us back from some of the best things life could have in store for us. For most people, the next opportunity is never “just right” or enticing enough to overcome their fear of change.

As humans, we are more hardwired to avoid pain than to pursue pleasure. This is why some people are still complaining now about the same things they were complaining about five years ago. They think the pain of changing will be worse than the pain of remaining right where they are, void of passion and uninspired.

Some people are chronic complainers who never take action to do anything. It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because they don’t know where to start. It starts, as I said, with understanding how purpose, growth and success are intertwined.

It’s not easy. I’ve been coaching for 11 years, and I still need and have my own coach. My coach tells me things I don’t want to hear, just like I tell my clients things they don’t want to hear. I make my clients mad sometimes—some would say often—but they stick with me because of the results. That’s important. Hire a coach who will challenge you, not coddle you.

Having the courage to take the next step is a battle of the mind. This is where the real challenge starts. You have to deal with the fact that you’ll have to go through uncomfortable times on the journey of growth. You have to leave your safe, passionless norm.

In this case, the pain comes from the uncertainty of moving on, from change, from trying something new. Is your current job causing enough pain that you are ready to take the next step? Only when you can answer “yes” to that question will you be ready to make a move.

SUCCESS Coaching certifies industry-leading mentors to create transformative growth in entrepreneurs and professionals. To inquire about becoming certified, visit

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This article originally appeared in the September/October 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
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Ben Fairfield is the Managing Director of SUCCESS Coaching & a SUCCESS Certified Coach.