Finding Your Calling

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I read a quote that said the two most important days in a life is when you are born and when you find your calling. Personally, I am searching for what finding your calling actually means. There are activities that I love to do for work and outside of work, but how do I know if one is my calling? What does it feel like to find your calling? 

Is a calling the thing you love to do away from your work? Is your calling an activity you did not love in the beginning and then found a passion for over time with hard work? Is a calling something that we always love whenever we engage in the activity no matter if the work is hard or easy? Is a calling an activity we gravitate to whenever we have the opportunity?

I read and listened to interviews with people who say they love a certain type of work or activity and will do it for the rest of their lives. What do they love about it? Is this the secret ingredient to make something a calling? Do they love the money it provides? Do they love the work so much it is something they would do for free?

Having many questions and few answers I decided to search Google. I read several articles about “finding your calling.” The articles featured lists of steps to take in the search for your calling. The advice included, changing routine, living in the moment, hanging out with people you like, fixing problems, looking to your dreams, expressing yourself creatively each day, doing what you enjoyed as a child, performing activities that make you feel good, and looking for reoccurring patterns of engagement in activities.

Much of the above seems like good advice, but the three ideas that made the most sense came from Parker Palmer and Jeff Goins. Author, Activist, and Educator Parker Palmer said this about our calling. “Our highest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of what others think we ought to be.”

I think too often we are looking for permission. We find something we love, are passionate about, and share it with others looking for a seal of approval. Others tell us our inkling is not practical or possible and we let our idea and dream melt away. I think our calling is doing the activity we feel strongly about trying. Does this guarantee we will be successful at finding our true calling? Life is filled with possibilities. I believe the more ideas we come up and attempt the better chance we have at hitting the target. 

The last two ideas came from Writer and Entrepreneur Jeff Goins. He said about our calling, “Finding your purpose is more of a path than a plan.” Therefore, having an idea about what might be your calling starts a path of discovery, a path of more education, work, trial and error to see how your possible calling fits into your life. Jeff Goins also says that our process of “Discovery happens in stages, clarity comes with action.” “The most important thing is to take the next step.” Finding our calling is a process of searching and discovery, a process that takes time, a process that takes work, a process that requires patience and practice. I always thought people came across their calling magically. People often say I just knew this is what I wanted to do.

I never felt that way. I started my work life with many different jobs and then one day started working with children at a park. That opportunity led to another and another opportunity until I arrived at my current position. Does this mean the work I am doing right now is my calling? I am not sure? Maybe I will never be sure. Maybe the truth is I am going along my journey and one day my true calling will hit me like a bolt of lightning and then I will discover I was on the journey of discovering my calling the entire time.

What is your calling? How did you discover your calling? Are you still in search of your calling?