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Woody Dunkin

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How did you find you life's work and passion after age 40? Is it possible?

I'm trying to find my passion in a career. I took the path most traveled and I found myself lost, unfulfilled after 25 years of working for a paycheck. I never discovered what I truly enjoyed and ended up here. No more excuses, only left to take action :)


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    May 28 2012: Hi Woody,

    For me, necessity was the mother of invention.
    A bad project went seriously over budget and I was asked to resign.
    I just did nothing for a couple of months and then, after just letting it all go I stopped sending out resumes and allowed myself to enjoy being home with my family.
    Then my wife decided she was going to learn to play violin.
    I thought I would support her by learning a companion instrument so we could play together.
    I chose to learn the pennywhistle - I thought that would be easy for an old guy like me, After all, I had mastered guitar and a few other instruments as as young man.
    But then it started getting interesting, I could not find a pennywhistle in any of the major or minor music shops .. it was like they'd dissapeared from the culture.
    So I resolved to do something about that.
    I took my savings as capital investment, started a company and went about lifting the profile of the instrument in my culture through an online pennywhistle store. Moved out of the city to lower the costs and just leaned into it as hard as I could.
    All my corporate buddies were telling me I was crazy. And, yes, it was difficult. The funding was slowly sinking into the sunset, but I persevered.
    Along the way, I made a design for a pennywhistle and started to do my due dilligence for getting it made.
    By some crazy chance, I was introduced to one of the best woodwind makers in the world. He recognised my passion and helped me develop the design, plan the tooling, gain the skills and soon we had a working prototype that was worth introducing to the market.
    Since then, the retail side of the business has made way for manufacturing and the bottom line has stabilised with my order book full for the next 12 months.
    I can't say I've arrived at anything, because it keeps leading me through new things.
    In retrospect, I can say that I traded a position for a path.
    You cannot truly define your passion - you can only recognise it and commit to follow it wherever it leads
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      May 29 2012: For me it took education and curiousity.
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      May 29 2012: I appreciate your sharing your story. It takes courage.

      But believe me you, it helps a lot of people make sense of their lives. Your story is a learning worth a book for me. Thank you!!
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        May 29 2012: Hi Gaurav,

        Thank you for your kind words!

        I didn't have space to add, that:
        Passion is in our love for others. If it does not extend to others it is not a true passion.
        In my passion to add my value to culture, I found that culture - and that culture accepted me as a member with open arms.
        It was like landing on a new and wonderful planet that I did not know existed.
        If you can do it - it won't be easy, often not comfortable, but well worth it!
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          Jun 21 2012: That is a great story! Following your passion and doing what you wanted to do. Keep on inspiring others by sharing your experiences!
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      Jun 19 2012: I love your story. Very encouraging! Thank you for sharing.

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