It seems so easy for some people: they go to school and know the focus to choose. Then, they graduate and know the exact path their career and life will take. They have found their life’s calling.
For many of us, though, that path has a lot more twists and turns. We try a lot of stuff and nothing feels quite right. We have trouble finding the right fit, and then we begin to wonder if that fit is even out there.
Seven signs you have found your true calling.
1. You would do it if no one paid you.
“A life calling is one that you would do if no one paid you. Even if you are called to be a financier, there was probably a time when you looked at stock market reports and studied finances and no one way paying you,” says Mary Joye, LMHC.
2. You have found a way to make a living at it.
Though you’d do it for free, in this society you can’t. “When you believe in yourself others will, too. We have mirror neurons. When others see your passion they will be glad to invest in you or employ you,” says Joye.
3. You put in way more than forty hours a week.
“When you lose track of the hours and work feels more like fulfillment you have found your calling,” says Joye.
4. Failure is fuel.
“Failure is a teacher. Failure is where you learn the lessons on what not to do,” says Joye.
5. You can’t NOT do it!
“If you are called to do something, you will do it. You won’t stop and you can’t give up,” says Joye. You may take a break but if that breaks your heart, get up and do it again.
6. Struggle is exercising the muscle of your calling.
“If you want to be a guitar player, your fingertips may have to bleed while you are practicing. The calluses come and the pain was worth the struggle,” says Joye. A tenacious need to practice is evidence that you’ve found your true calling.
7. A pervasive sense of peace when doing what you do.
“Under all that you do, confidence and a sense of internal knowing…no matter what anyone says… is the core of a calling,” says Joye. You won’t ask anyone’s opinion but your own. If someone gives you an opinion, it won’t matter unless it is positive. “You can’t be deterred by others. It is when peace comes, no matter what it looks like to anyone, choose the path of peace. It is not the path of least resistance. It is persistence!” says Joye.
“It’s much easier to know if something is your calling because if it is, you will feel passionate about it,” says Benson Simmonds, an energy healer practicing an ancient form of energy healing similar to Reiki.
When doing it, time will fly by and you won’t even realize it. It will give you a deep sense of contribution and connection. It will, simply, bring you joy.
Finding your life’s calling is so much more difficult for most people.
“Where I start with my clients is by asking them what are 3-5 things you loved doing when you were a kid, 5, 6 or 7 years old, or what you loved to do in 2nd or 3rd grade?” says Simmonds.
Some kids loved art, some loved reading, writing, etc. “For many of us, what we loved to do as a child is directly related to discovering our calling,” says Simmonds.
If you loved to draw or paint, your calling may be directly or indirectly related to that. It may be that you’re meant to be an artist, graphic designer, web designer, or fashion designer. “I’ve had clients that were always making clothes who rediscovered their passion to be a clothing designer. Or someone who loved writing and had long left it behind,” says Simmonds.
If your true calling is not directly related to what you loved to do as a child, the next step is to honor yourself.
Start doing at least a few of the things you did love as a child.
Why? Because it will bring back the joy of your soul!
“By starting to write or play soccer or be out in nature or ride a horse or play with animals, or draw, or journal, or doing a myriad of things you loved as a kid, it will begin to fire up your imagination and you will reconnect with your true passion,” says Simmonds. It will eventually lead you to your true calling.
Try to figure out what inspires you.
For most of us, there is a core challenge that we’ve had to overcome. ”Whatever you have had to overcome is there so that you can then inspire others to do the same,” says Simmonds.
For example, for someone who has struggled to accept and love themselves, their calling may be to inspire this in others.
“Once you discover your personal ‘to inspire’ statement, then it will open you up to finding something that allows you to inspire others through doing what you love,” says Simmonds.
Allow yourself to ask “if I had all the money in the world, what would my dream day look like? How would I want to contribute to the world? What would I love doing?”
Make a vision board.
If finding creative focus and deciding the path is feeling difficult, creating a vision board may help. “Carve out a few hours of uninterrupted time for yourself. You will need scissors, glue, 5-7 magazines, a poster board, and some time alone. Using visual imagery can help you go beyond words, your own or others’. Flip through the magazines,” says Christine Scott-Hudson MA MFT ATR, licensed psychotherapist, and owner of Create Your Life Studio in Santa Barbara, California.
On the first go through, simply tear out any images that you have a very strong emotional reaction to, whether these be positive or negative associations.
On the second go through, do the same, but with magazine phrases and words. “Only choose phrases and words with strong positive or strong negative associations,” says Scott-Hudson.
Don’t think too hard or get caught up in reading long paragraphs, you are basically intuitively choosing the things that come right off the page and grab your attention in some way.
Next, make a large collage on a piece of poster board. “Do this in a faster pace than you might choose naturally. It will help you bypass your censor,” says Scott-Hudson. Try to just get into the flow of creating and not over thinking your choices or placement.
Thirdly, give a title to your collage. “Choosing the very first thing that comes to mind is usually a pretty good bet that it came from the subconscious,” says Scott-Hudson. Don’t over analyze it.
Lastly, write in a journal for twenty minutes about the process of creating your vision board. What feelings did it invoke in you? Which images and words are most evocative for you? How does the vision board make you feel? What messages does it hold for you?
“A story will emerge about what you would like more of, and what you need less of in your life,” says Scott-Hudson.
Allow this story to inform what you would like to create, and you will have found your life’s calling.