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5 Important Things Nobody Tells You About Finding Your Calling

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Self-development books and personal growth blogs will scream at you to find your calling. “Do what you love,” they say. “Do what you’re passionate about,” they shout. “Follow your purpose,” they write.

They tell you to do what you love and what brings you joy. They tell you to find work that brings you alive. They ask you to do work that doesn’t feel like work – jump out bed every day – love your Mondays.

Yet, much of this advice stems from unrealistic thinking without concrete steps to guide you. Quitting your job and following your passion is a one-way ticket back home to your parents’ penthouse suite – or the basement, whatever the case may be.

Here’s 5 things the bloggers, career coaches and experts don’t tell you:

1. You don’t have to quit your job to find your calling

You can discover your calling while you’re in a job. More than likely, you’ll run into your calling when you’re doing work for a paycheck. In your day-to-day work, different interests will pull at you. You’ll stumble upon creative challenges and discover work you’re passionate about.

Spend your time focused on your job and you’ll either stumble into your passion or take inspiration from something that will lead to your calling. If you discover your calling, you can work on it before work, during lunch and over the weekends.

“To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.” – Maya Lin

2. You find your calling by taking action

You can’t sit back and theorize about what your calling is in the world. You find your calling by doing something: taking classes, talking to mentors and trying out a variety of jobs.

If you think something is your calling, the only way to do it is to try it. Don’t hypothesize and theorize about whether you were meant to do it. Start doing it and see where it takes you.

 

3. Not knowing what you want in your calling is critical to finding your calling

When you try new things and hate them, you still win. If you have no idea what your calling is, write down a list of everything you’ve done that’s NOT your calling.

Knowing what your calling isn’t is just as helpful as knowing what your calling is. You can eliminate, narrow down and see what’s on the table. Move away from what isn’t your calling and you’ll find yourself nearing your calling every day.

 

4. Your life’s pains and trials carry the seeds of your calling

Think back to your life’s biggest pains and struggles. For me, that’s an easy one: my divorce. For you, it may be a breakup, a business failure or the passing of a loved one. A seed of your calling planted itself in each defeat you’ve encountered in your life.

During your most difficult hours, you had a glimpse into your soul and the deepest life questions. During this time, you likely discovered – or found inspiration to reflect on – your calling.

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” –  Lucius Annaeus Seneca

5. Your calling in life will require that you use your gifts

Do you know what your gift in life is? We each have a gift. You have one too, no matter what you think. You simply refuse to admit that your talent, ability or ease in doing something is a gift. Talking to people is a gift, helping people is a gift, your great smile is a gift.

Acknowledge your gift and know that your calling will require you to use your gift. If you can’t figure out your calling, figure out what your gift is. Then see how you could use your gift to make a bigger impact on the world.

Have you found out your calling? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Ram Vijay

    May 19, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Good article Vishnu. I always thought of leaving my job to start follow my calling. And still I am stumbling on whats my calling without taking action. Here on I will follow your advice to take action on my calling to narraw down whats fit for me

  2. Rayon Whittaker

    May 13, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Vishnu,

    Very good advice indeed. I did find that I loved helping people through having a 9-5, it was from there that I decided I wanted to do something greater.
    Now, the second point I would say is the most important and the realest, I had to take action and in taking action and analyzing whether or not the outcome rests positively with me then I know what the next phase of the process will/should be.

    Thanks much for the reminder.

    Rayon

    • Vishnu

      May 14, 2016 at 4:10 am

      Hey Rayon, thanks for the comment. You’re doing the most important part of it all in taking action. Most people stoop at this part so glad you’re on the next phase. Best wishes to you.

  3. Shawn

    May 13, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Hey Vishnu, this is truly an amazing article. Different from what other bloggers suggested. Good job.

    You are right about taking action to discover our action. We can’t predict the future and who knows where we might end up. So taking action is the only find to figure out our calling.

    • Vishnu

      May 14, 2016 at 4:29 am

      You got it Shawn. Action will help us get there and figure out what’s right and not right for us. I’m glad you liked the article and thank you for commenting.

  4. Tim Denning

    May 12, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Vishnu thank you for your advice. The first point resonated with me because I believe if you are working a job you need to spend every waking hour outside of work finding your calling. I think I have found mine but I’m not quite living it 100% just yet.

    • Vishnu

      May 14, 2016 at 4:30 am

      THanks Tim! Looks like you’re on the way there. Action is where most people stop so you’re ahead of the game.

  5. Andrea Hibbitt

    May 12, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I found this very useful. I believe I’ve found my calling so my goal is to do as you stated and “take action.”

    • Vishnu

      May 14, 2016 at 3:58 am

      Wonderful news. Knowing your calling is the hard part but glad you’ve done that. Now, it’s just how to turn the calling into a reality.

  6. Charlene Rhinehart

    May 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Great advice! “Your calling in life will require you to use your gifts”. Thanks for sharing!

    • Vishnu

      May 14, 2016 at 3:56 am

      Thanks for the feedback Charlene! And yes, we all have a gift : )

  7. Alberto R. Mayol

    May 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I love your words and they’re just what I need in this moment of my life. Thank you.

    • Vishnu

      May 14, 2016 at 3:55 am

      Thanks Alberto – glad it helped!

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

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Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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