Are you looking for that certain something that will give your life purpose? Do you feel like if you only found the right job or career or thing to study, that everything would fall into place?
I am approached by people all the time who want to find their calling in life. They feel like something is missing and are scared to try anything because what if they fail?
Here’s the one thing I’ve noticed about our thinking when it comes to ‘finding’ your calling.
Your calling is already inside you! You won’t find it out there in the world. You already are IT!
Let me explain: Most of us think about a ‘calling’ in terms of sci-fi novel and fantasy movies we’ve seen. Luke Skywalker discovering he is the son of a Jedi. Those movies are a metaphor for the process, but we often take them too literally. We think of ‘finding our calling’ as an escape from our lives. If I only discovered I was a princess, I wouldn’t have to deal with all this shit I’ve created. Your calling is not some external factor about yourself that you will discover at some point.
It is who you are.
Sometimes it isn’t dramatic or heroic. Sometimes it’s not about being famous. It’s about knowing yourself, and loving that self enough to honor your strengths and accept your weaknesses.
You might not be the seventh son of a seventh son destined to find the key to saving the universe in one dramatic battle. But here’s what you ARE:
You are an absolutely special unique person, and there is NO ONE ELSE like you on earth. NO ONE!
You bring something unique to the world that no one else can bring. Your only job in life is to realize that about yourself and honor it. There is no FINDING it. Only accepting it. It’s not out there somewhere. It’s been in you all along.
It’s that small quiet feeling of satisfaction when you know you’ve done something well. When you are moving within your zone of strength and confidence.
But what if I hate what I am?
Most of us buy into some kind of cultural baggage about what is considered a worthwhile life. Usually it involves something created by the dominant culture. We value fame, heroics, intellectualism, and this false notion of ‘contributing’. In the light of that we search endlessly for something outside ourselves that will give us a sense that we’ve made a difference. We forget all the small opportunities we have every day to make that difference.
We tell ourselves that we aren’t adequate or special enough. We down-play the amazing hidden work we do all the time that give us joy and fulfillment. Maybe you are called to be loud and public and speak to the masses. Awesome! But no less awesome is those of us who are called to be quiet, present, and caring to the few people we see daily. Those of us who are called to practice compassion and honesty, and make amazing, soul reviving dinners for our loved ones.
And here is the secret. Ready? When you accept who you truly are, and stop trying to force yourself to ‘find’ satisfaction on the outside, you become capable of seriously epic accomplishments.
We can’t see the whole picture, so who are we to say which work is important. You never know who’s life you have touched. You never know all the differences you make every day. To discount them because they aren’t the actions that get written up in the press is missing the point. For every Nobel prize winner, there were hundreds of mothers, fathers, lovers, best friends, trusted colleagues, worthy adversaries that all contributed.
So what then is the key to realizing your fullest potential?
Love. Self love.
Anytime we don’t accept with loving compassion the truth of what we want in the world, we are actively blocking ourselves from happiness.
What is the quickest way to uncover the calling inside you?
Where do you feel most alive? Where do you feel in a zone of confidence? Where do you forget yourself? Where do you give yourself over to your work? What makes your heart sing that song of contentment that so often feels like the loosening of a vice?
If you feel like you are putting yourself in a box, or cutting off a limb to do something, it’s not your calling. Plain and simple. And that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to take a lot of hard work to realize your dreams. But you know you are following a true calling because you don’t mind the hard work, in fact you relish it.
Where do you already find joy in your life? Where do you feel in the zone of confidence and where do you feel a sense of pride in your skills? Do the answers surprise you? Leave a comment below.Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place. Learn more about her work and classes at www.allisoncarr.net
Allison, this is a wonderful wee post, spoke to my heart! You’re right, too often we try to run away, use some excuse as why we’re NOT do the search where it’s supposed to happen: internally. Thank you for this post, it really means a lot to me today.
Thanks Andrea! I’m so glad it resonated with you.
Wise words, simply and eloquently shared.
Thank you, Allison!
Thank you Kristin!
Thank you for this timely post (although it took almost two years for me to find it :-). So it brings up a question (or three): What if what used to bring you the most joy, no longer does? Or, you keep trying and it just keeps not working? Or, the little joys are not big enough to displace the box I’ve put myself in? Ok, I don’t really expect you to answer all that. 🙂 Thanks for your words of inspiration.
Sounds like you are being called to connect to joy in a whole new way. Sometimes the best way to tap into new joy is to let yourself really dive deep into what it is you want, and sometimes the only way to find what you want is by letting yourself admit what you don’t want. Sounds like you’ve got step one covered, could something be holding you back from really dreaming and fantasizing about what you do want? Hard to answer without knowing more, but I’m glad the article resonated with you!