When what drives you at work changes, do you grieve it?‘ An interesting question that I was asked recently. My answer: I think it depends on how the ‘thing that drives you’ leaves your life.

If it was forced upon you by circumstances, then yes, it will need to be grieved. I used to be immersed in the world of Argentine Tango. When I was advised to stop due to physical injuries, I definitely grieved the loss of something that was an integral and important part of my life yet I wasn’t ready to leave. 

But sometimes our driving passion for something comes to a natural end. Perhaps we have delved into it deeply to the point that it no longer challenges us. Maybe it no longer meets with our ethical standpoints. Possibly we have proved ourselves through it, and it is no longer needed in that same way. 

There will be a period in which we realise our driving force is spent, but has not been replaced. The task will be to recognise that we have moved on, and to look out for what really matters to us now. 

When I was in industry, I thrived on the thrill of excelling in my role. But after a while this palled – I was helping the company make money, but to what end? Standard mid-life crisis stuff! But I took account of the new sense of discomfort and over the next couple of years searched for something that did matter to me. Stress and burnout had been a feature in my business life. So it felt entirely fitting that I trained as a psychotherapist. No need to grieve here.