3 Steps to Finding Your Calling In Life
Words / Anne Hartley
We spend a great deal of our lives stumbling around in the dark complaining, worrying, blaming or avoiding, then something happens that sheds a light and, if we are open and willing, we have an awakening.
Humanity doesn’t just have one calling; we have multiple callings, which we are called to act upon at different life stages.
Some people expect that when they discover their calling they will be happy, that everything in their lives will flow, but that isn’t necessarily so. Knowing your calling is one thing; acting on it is another. When you follow your calling you develop strengths that enable you to share your gifts with others. Along the way, there will be lessons to be learnt and fears that need to be faced as well as joy and fulfillment. A calling is always about growing to your full potential.
I once worked with a client who had recently retired and she was feeling lost. This feeling always precedes an awakening. She had a project she was working on that had the potential to make her a substantial amount of money. The problem was, it didn’t fulfill her and she didn’t really need the money.
As we talked, I became aware that up until this time most of my client’s happiness had been derived from her achievements, mostly work related. While achievement can be a way of following your heart, they are generally ego driven and there comes a time when, if you are to grow spiritually, you need to leave your ego behind.
We get signs to awaken all the time. These come in the form of problems, tragedy, personal crises. Often we miss these signs because we engage in habits that keep us stuck, like blaming, complaining and avoiding. Everything in life is guiding you to become the person you were born to be, if you’re willing to take up the challenge.
My own first awakening occurred when my son died at the age of five – I was 33. I knew there was nothing I could do to change what happened, so I made a commitment to make a difference with my life, to do what he would have done if he had lived, as well as what I was called to do. Never have I regretted that choice — it changed my life.
If you are searching for your calling but still don’t know what that is, consider what you might be resisting. We resist our calling when we are afraid. You may still be an ethical, nice person who on the outside seems OK but, if you are observant, you will notice little changes occurring within you. Maybe you don’t laugh as much, you may struggle with your moods or you may experience health, relationship, work or financial problems. Perhaps you have become more cynical or have lost your joy.
Finding your calling isn’t something that usually happens overnight: it’s a journey you can start at any time. Here are three steps to get you started:
Step 1: Look at the challenges you face, these are signs
By identifying your challenges, you can then choose values to live by that represent the ideal person you would like to be. A calling is never about getting or achieving — it is always about growing and giving. Fear is not an option.
Step 2: Be mindful
Mindfulness is a tool that supports us to manage stress. It can help us identify our needs, understand what makes us happy and recognise what takes us off track. On a typical day, take three minutes to walk around a room. Do this without any particular goal in mind. Just walk wherever attracts your attention.
When the three minutes is up, get a pad and pen and write down where your mind went for those three minutes. This exercise gives you an idea of where your attention is placed throughout the day and the many different things that distract you from being present.
Step 3: Look for positive ways to bring more joy into your daily life
The more joyful you are, the easier it becomes to recognise your individual calling. Actively seek ways each day to do something that brings joy. It doesn’t matter how simple it is; it’s all about how that action makes you feel. Then, one day, you’ll notice that you didn’t find your calling — your calling found you.