Hank Bochenski proves that it’s never too late to walk away from a life you feel trapped by and do something you really love.

Hank spent 30 years in demanding senior positions at large high-tech companies. By the time he went home each day, he felt like the blood had been drained out of him.

Hank’s real passion was his collection of more than 1,000 movies. He had recently spent hours converting the collection from VHS to DVD, a process he enjoyed. One day his wife walked by as he worked on the project and said, “It’s too bad you can’t make money doing this.” Before the offhand remark, Hank hadn’t considered that he could do this full time.

He did some research and found a company called Home Video Studio Inc. Based in Indianapolis, Home Video Studio offers 21 services, including DVD transfers and duplications, home movie transfers, photo-video keepsakes, sports scholarship videos, and videotape repair.

With due diligence, Hank and his wife decided that this was the perfect opportunity. They got into the video duplication business. To top it off, Hank’s studio is in his own home. No more 90-minute daily commute each way.

What Happens in Mid-Life?

Mid-life is a time of challenges and crossroads. We re-evaluate relationships, become more concerned about our health, and worry more about financial security. The biggest challenges of mid-life often involve our careers. We ask whether our careers are providing the fulfillment we crave, or are exhausting us physically and emotionally. In mid-life, fulfillment and meaning can begin to compete with paychecks and perks. And the paychecks and perks usually win.

Finding Vocational Passion

Before you can take action, change the course of your life, and pursue your vocational passion, it’s critical to take inventory of your life. See what’s really important. You must begin by understanding what is missing. You need to have a dream and a plan for achieving it.

Start by making a list of the things that are missing in your life. Is it a passion from youth that you never found time to pursue? Is it music, a sport, writing, cooking, activism, entrepreneurship, working with kids? It should be something that you crave doing, and have enough passion to do it full time.

You need to understand not only where your passion is, but also where your strengths are. Make a list of the things you are passionate about. Then narrow the list to those items that present an opportunity to generate income. An interest in rock climbing suggests opening a store that sells climbing equipment. Perhaps past volunteer work with disabled kids leads to earning a certificate to teach.

Once you’ve narrowed your lists and have matched your aptitudes and interests, it’s time to take a look at your support network. Do you know people who care about what you are passionate about? If not, what organizations or social networks could you tap into? You must build a strong personal network to help you make your big vocational change.

Begin the Journey with a Lighter Backpack

Finally, you need to think about money. How does it come in and where does it go?

Treat your money with more respect. Making better choices about spending your money will make it easier to free yourself to change your life direction.

Examine ways to “lighten your backpack.” Do you really need 100 cable channels? How many shoes, credit cards, and watches does it take to make you happy? Would life be any more difficult if you drove a used Toyota instead of a new Lexus?

These are the kinds of questions that Hank Bochenski and his family asked as they made the tough but ultimately rewarding decision to “throw it all away” for a simpler yet more fulfilling life. Hank is much happier. He is having fun every day. And while his income may be more modest than before, his family lives comfortably. His pursuit of vocational passion has cost him little materially, yet the spiritual dividends are immense.

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