What is Your True Calling?
The other day I heard an interview with Stephen Cope, author of The Great Work of Your Life. He was discussing the process of finding one’s true calling. As someone who has dedicated the last 14 years of my life to exploring my true calling, I found this topic interesting.
I left a well paid career in search of some part of myself I had no idea where or how to find. I was drawn to the idea of committing my life to work that would put me in service of others and the greater good. When I told my brother I was leaving my job and enrolling in school to do something, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was he said, “People go to college so that they can make the kind of money you make. Why would you waste your time?” Good point! For me it wasn’t about money, it was about finding my Purpose. I will tell you it wasn’t easy.
His words stayed with me all these years as I watched my bank account dwindle. I didn’t have a specific direction. I only knew I was interested in people: what makes them tick and how can I help them as a whole. I felt my way through the 10 years I was in school. I conducted hundreds of informational interviews. I interned. I researched. I spent all my time focused on finding what it was I was meant to do.
During that time, I practiced yoga and I wrote about my quest. People seemed to be very interested in my process. I was approached by people with questions on how I figured out what it was I wanted to do and the logistics around getting there. I came across many people who, like me, felt there was something deeper they were called to do, but not sure what it was or how to find it. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone spent their days engaged in work that inspires them? I can. I really want to live in that world. For some of us that may have to do with work, but for others it may not fit into the structure of a job.
Purpose can evolve. What our purpose is during one phase of our life may not be the same for another. Perhaps you worked a job you loved and are newly retired and searching for what this chapter holds for you. Or maybe you raised a family and are at a point where you can finally focus on yourself (or vice versa). Life is dynamic and full of transitions. We need to give ourselves permission to shift and evolve with it.
Ironically, while I was spending all of this energy searching outward for what it was I wanted to do, it was what I was doing on a daily basis that became the THING for me. I believe that we know (and have always known) what it is we are meant to do. When we look at our life it tells us, but we block it with excuses, insecurities and stories about why it can’t be that. This can be a frustrating; especially when we are searching so hard to find it. When we are too close blind-spots get formed making them even more elusive. Instead of looking outward for what our purpose is, we must look at the way we are already living and how that connects to things we have always been interested in. Be patient, it takes time to sift through all the mental roadblocks and detours we created along the way.
Are you living your purpose? Here are some ideas on ways to explore it if you are interested.
Below are questions Stephen Cope asks, which are designed to start the process of uncovering your purpose work. Spend some time with these questions. Use a journal to explore what they mean to you. Let the answers flow out of you in streams of consciousness. Commit to writing a minimum of 3 pages each time you explore one of them. Quick answers aren’t enough. The more you write, the more you will identify your blind spots and uncover what’s waiting for you. Come back to them multiple times as your answers may change. I hope these questions will help get you started in exploring what your unique gifts are so you can bring them out and into this world. We need you.
- What’s in your life right now that is lighting you up?
- Currently, what do you feel is your deepest duty?
- What is it that, if you do not do it in this life you will feel a profound sense of self-betrayal?
- What are the challenges that are showing up in your life right now and do you think they have to do with your purpose?
- What are you being ruled by right now?
- Give five words you know about your calling, for sure.
- What are the actions taken that support what you want to enhance?
- What are the things that work against your calling/purpose and what do you want to snip away at piece by piece?
Blind-spots are slippery and not always easy to find on your own, as always I am here to assist you if you need it.
Interested in exploring more? Check out:
- Interview: Finding Your True Calling, Stephen Cope
- Book: The Alchemist, Paulo Cohelo
- Book: One Person/Multiple Careers, Marci Alboher
- Book: The Great Work of Your Life, Stephen Cope