How to Find Your Calling: 7 Ways to Shift from Thinking to Practice
How do you discover or trust your calling? How do you live the life you most desire? Maybe the real question is: What’s keeping you from everything you’re meant to be?
You may have noticed that we are living in inspired times. The job market and economy are changing; It no longer works to rely as heavily on external security. Still, there is a path of deep security. It’s your calling or passion. You were born to excel in your gifts. It’s exhausting to deny your inborn desires, your love, and your quest for true expression. When you have a peacock inside you, you won’t be able to feed with the finches for long.
From years of helping others dare to live their dreams, I can tell you, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to find your calling or live it. Your brain will never know. But your instincts know nothing else.
And here’s the rub for of us over-achieving type A’s: It’s not about doing. It’s about undoing all the beliefs that stand in your way. You already possess a destiny that’s better than anything you will read in a textbook. You already have the hard-wiring to flourish. Yet, like most of us who have been conditioned to pursue success in conventional – often unfulfilling – ways, you have misguided beliefs that dilute your magic.
Believe me, I know. I never believed I could make a living as a writer. So, I went to law school instead, graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, and practiced law at a big firm. Finally, pain forced me to leave everything I knew—and dare to face the dream I felt in my bones. I’ve now written best-selling books on living your calling and become a national career/success coach.
In my coaching, I don’t help you change your career. I help change your thinking so that you experience more possibilities in all of life. Here’s 7 quick shifts of thinking to try on:
1. Clarity is A Rarity
You do not have to know what your calling is before you start taking steps toward it. Follow what you want right now, even if it’s a nap, or a date with a paintbrush or frisbee. This is a path of learning to trust yourself, follow what gleams, and ignore your assumptions and judgments. Action provides information and changes how you feel.
On an inspired path, where you start out is not where you end up.
2. “There’s No Way This Could Make Money”
Think again precious! The wealthiest people in the world did not cower in careers or expressions they “tolerated” or disliked. They pursued a wild hair, a hunger, or a mysterious demand from within. Steve Jobs didn’t do what made “common sense.” He followed the uncommon path of following his spark.
Inspiration increases your energy, stamina, and genius. It makes you someone who interesting people want to know and connect with.
Joy changes your brain chemistry. Excitement and creativity open you to other income-earning potential and experiences of abundance. You may even fall in love with your day job, while you build a dream empire in the evenings.
3. You Don’t Have to Choose One Thing. Just Choose One For the Moment.
Take a deep breath, you who love French cooking, and the study of micro-financing, and writing fantasy mysteries. Okay, so you’re varied. You don’t need to weave everything together into some grand master plan.
Pay attention to what you want to do in this moment, not what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Follow the passion that has heat right now, and it will lead you to your connection with yourself, which leads you to everything. You may also discover the wonder of “multiple income streams,” making money from different interests that, alone, don’t make much money— but together they add up.
4. There’s A Glut of What I Want to Strut
Do you ever secretly wonder, really, who needs my parrot-shaped lemongrass-infused decorator soaps? Who needs another bad childhood-turned-great lesson-memoir?
Well, lucky you, the world is starving for talent and love. Besides, you have an assignment. Your gifts are not for you. You’re here to uplift others and there are many in need. You will have your people. Some are waiting for your gifts right now. You are the conduit, not the head of the selection committee.
5. You Can’t Fail When You’ve Already Won
I so feared giving up a “validated” career as an attorney to pursue the shimmer of a writing life. I feared being a cliché or a joke. But I finally realized that as much as I feared failure, I feared regret more. I had to see where my writing could go. Giving myself this chance was the ultimate win. In my book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! I define “unstoppable” as never stopping yourself in this lifetime. After coaching business leaders, career-transition-ers, and artists, I have learned that they never “fail,” unless they quit honoring what they truly want.
Give yourself every chance in life. And redefine success—to knowing that you are doing the right thing with your time on earth.
6. You Don’t Need a Map. You Need a Fire
You don’t need a calculated strategy as much as you need to trust your heart and heat. You won’t map the territory of wonder with your linear brain. You can’t plan an inspired life. I spent 12 years writing my first book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love. Following instinct, I self-published it. A VP of Random House discovered it, thought it was “the best book she’d read on finding your calling,” and it was soon published by my dream publisher, Tarcher/Penguin.
If I’d stuck to following conventional strategy, doing it ‘the right way,’ I would have lost enthusiasm. I would have spent my time trying to jump through hoops instead of following joy. Joy is more reliable than a plan.
7. You Are Worth a Lifetime of Radical Joy
It’s not “selfish” to pursue fun. It’s healthy to desire an extraordinary life. It’s a moral imperative to honor the direction of your soul.
Just because you’re having a ball, doesn’t mean you’re not accomplishing something. Don’t play small. The world needs what you have to give. And on top of that, there are those (perhaps your children?) who need your example of joy.
Grab this life. You ache for your grace for a reason.