You don’t “just know” what your calling is.You must listen for clues along the
way, discovering what your life can tell
you. Awareness comes with practice.
At some point you probably entertained the thought that you were going to do something significant during your career as a therapist. You went to college, got good grades, beat the odds and were accepted into therapy school. You survived, graduated and then launched your career with your first therapy job.
Then somewhere along the line the real world set in and you gave up on your dream.
Everywhere you went, therapists were making excuses for not doing something extraordinary. Some said they were too busy while others shrugged their shoulders with indifference saying they would figure it out when they grew up.
Simple comments like these are hardly insignificant. They grow on you and, like a disease, rob you of your strength. At moments like these, if we don’t dig deep down to our core values, we run the risk of abandoning our dreams.
Discovering your calling can be a struggle and somewhat mysterious.
I call the strong pull or desire to launch out into something purposeful a calling. It is personal. It is about the unique impact you are meant to make in the world through your experience and personality. Discovering your calling happens over time as you walk along the way.
It isn’t a fixed destination.
It’s a process in which you are engaged, but it is also something that happens to you. Sometimes it seems it is an internal process that you work through.
And at other times it seems to be something outside of you.
In The Art of Work, Jeff Goins shares valuable information on finding your life’s work and abandoning the status quo. Goins explains that a truly fulfilled life is a rare thing and yet, anyone can attain it. It’s available to anyone willing to truly seek it, to endure the difficult and muddled process.
Think back on your life and look for the common themes that run through all the memories. We are so much more than individual events that take place over time, each season in our lives is woven together to create the entirety of what makes us, well, us.
Identifying the overarching theme of your life
is the first step to truly identifying your calling in life.
Find some time to escape the noise and the distractions to reflect on these questions. Jot down your answers in the journal you started at the beginning of the year. (Smile)
What have you learned from all your life experiences?
Who were the teachers, mentors, role models that influenced the trajectory of your life?
Who is influencing your life right now?
It’s equally as important to spend some time reflecting on times in your life where you went against the theme or the calling on your life.
These are valuable lessons and you can likely recall the way you felt when you realized the choice you made didn’t resonate with your mission. I’m guessing your plans didn’t pan out the way you had hoped and though the end result may have been ok, it didn’t live up to your expectations. Take some time to identify these forks in the road and reflect on what you learned.
It’s a great honor to do a job well and get paid for it. But just because you can do it doesn’t mean it’s a calling. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you think about your career for this year.
7 Questions to Help You Discover Your Calling
What do you love to do?
When do you feel God’s pleasure?
Where are you the most proud of your work?
What do you friends say you are good at?
What would you do if money was no object?
What do you dream about?
What do you love learning about?
“Your calling is not always easy. It will take work. Practice can teach you what you are and are not meant to do.”
–Jeff Goins, The Art of Work
Now that you’ve had a chance to reflect on these questions and the life experiences that have formed both you and your calling, think about some small steps that you can take towards the calling you have identified. You may need to find some resources to help you acquire a new skill or learn more about a certain area of interest. Perhaps there are others who appear to have a similar calling and are carrying out their mission beautifully, seek them out, pick their brains, and learn everything you can from them.