EVERYONE has a passion, a vocation in life, and maybe in these turbulent times, you should step back and ask the question: What do I really want to do?

If you play to your strengths, you will discover opportunities and enjoy a career you love.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Identify your interest

Think of something that you always wanted to do.

I know a woman who had worked for some time in the hospitality industry. The lengthy hours and working weekends and public holidays became a burden for personal reasons, and she decided to leave it all behind.

Thinking carefully about what she would enjoy doing, makeup skills came to mind. So, she took a diploma in the art of makeup and is now a successful freelance makeup artist who is sought after by beauty salons.

She is even asked to give talks on her profession and they are very well-attended. This is an example on how stepping back and carefully identifying a passion can be put to lucrative use.

Positive mindset

Focusing with a positive mind is thinking of success: It is the power of self-belief.

In this sense, once you have identified your purpose, you will start to notice things you were not aware of before!

A positive mind will lead you where you can succeed.

Here is another example of a woman with a high-powered job who was retrenched at the age of 40. She took the time to identify her passion: helping people. This, however, was too general, so she narrowed it down to helping young expectant mothers.

So, she set up a company to do precisely that and her services are so customer-focused that referrals have made her business a success.

She now operates across the country and her business has even attracted the attention of major hotel chains needing baby-sitters.

Age is just a number

Some people think that above the age of 45, you are "past the sell-by date"! Not so.

An executive I know, who had spent the last 10 years of his corporate life in leadership development, gave up his highly paid job in the financial industry because his passion was to help people. He was 55 at the time - and keen to embark on a new career!

He became a internationally renowned coach and put his vast experience and knowledge of people to good use.

Age brings experience and knowledge, the application of which brings wisdom. Some mid-career executives have turned to helping others in hospitals or working in facilities for the disabled.

Transferable skills

It used to be that once you were settled into a certain industry, you were boxed in forever. But recent employment trends - the death of the iron rice bowl, for one - are persuading people to think of alternative careers. Today, the emphasis is on transferable skills.

There are so many examples of people making a switch: from law to teaching, from art to the media industry, from nursing to law mediation.

One person I know was an expert in the perfume industry. His skills were the knowledge of products, distribution and customers. So, he was recruited as a marketing manager in a financial institution.

Focus on where your skills can be applied and a new, broader horizon will open up to you.

Play to your strengths

Once you know your passion, you will soon be able to identify your strengths and minimise your weaknesses.

The most successful people have always played to their strengths. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University and created Microsoft. Where would he be had he not followed his passion and graduated?

It's not enough just to follow your instincts. Train yourself -get a degree, if possible, in your passion. Then, be recognised for what you are bringing to the table.

Age is of no importance, provided you play to your strengths. Opportunities are there to be grasped and skills can leap across boundaries. You may end up in a totally different occupation which is both enjoyable and lucrative - all because you followed your passion.