“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.” (Parker J. Palmer)
When we take the time to quiet our mind, we can begin to discover and pursue what most people want and that is a career that we go to each day because we love the work we do, rather than going to work just to get a paycheck. We all need a paycheck, but when we get up in the morning, we should be doing work that we love instead of going to a “job.” A job that we are not satisfied in or rewarded by.
Few people are lucky enough to have had their career work and some passionate pursuit be one and the same. Somewhere along the way, you may have had a sense of what you really would love to do. Instead, you chose a career or job considerably different from what could have been a career with more meaning because you concluded it was an unattainable fantasy. The good news, it is never too late to discover and pursue your “true calling.”
If you have no idea what your true calling is, here are some questions you can contemplate – and when I say contemplate, I mean find a time and place that is quiet, where you can read the questions and listen to what you hear inside yourself. Get a notebook and write down whatever answer spontaneously comes to your mind.
- What is extremely important to me?
- What makes me happy?
- What made me happy in my childhood and my teen that I would like to do again?
- What made me happy in my career that I would like to continue doing?
- What would make me a happier person? (Having a lot more money or becoming famous can’t be one of them.)
- What talents or skills am I most proud of?
- What field of endeavor invariably challenges me in new and exciting ways?
- What makes me feel more creative?
- What special talent have I neglected while putting in long and hard hours in my career?
- What would I like to do that I have always want to do, but never got around to doing?
- How would I like to make the world a better place in my own way?
- What sort of legacy would I like to leave?
In their book, Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life’s Calling, authors Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro suggest that people ask themselves three important questions:
- What gifts do I naturally give to others?
- What gift do I most enjoy giving to others?
- What gift have I most often given to others?
Our rational mind has a habit of disguising the real you; your passions, what you are genetically encoded to do, and what will earn a living doing. Given enough time, you should find sufficient information about your needs and wants, which will help you discover at least one important mission, true calling, or passionate pursuit. In fact, most people will discover more than one.
“There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission – a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment, he finds his greatness. It is his finest hour.” (Winston Churchill)
Wishing you peace and wellbeing as you lean in, listen for, and discover…your mission, true calling, passionate pursuit.
PS: Remember to hold the ones you love just a little closer and tighter this week (without expectations).
This article was adapted from, Ernie J. Zelinski, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.
[image description: the first line says, Live your Legend. The second line says, Change the world by doing work you love)