In my previous post, I had talked about the difference between pursuing a job, career or your calling and the impact pursuing your calling has on your level of happiness at work. In this post, we talk about finding your passion and inner calling.
Now, following your calling is understandably easier said than done. How do you even go about the crucial step of discovering your calling? If you are not one of the lucky few, who somehow landed themselves what they truly love, what can you consciously do about it?
Here are some steps that can support you in that discovery.
1. Set aside time for reflection
I believe each one of us is uniquely gifted and has a special purpose on earth. However, we get so caught up in the treadmill of our fast-paced lives that we fail to discover this purpose. Slowing down is essential for developing deeper clarity.
You need to create time and space to reflect on what is most important for you. Consider questions like:
- Do I want to be more successful or make a significant contribution?
- Do I want more money?
- Do I value social recognition or inner fulfillment?
- What role does family and community have for me? And so forth
Plan for those reflective moments, maybe for 10-15 minutes every day or at least every week.
2. Create a powerful vision
As is said, “If you can see it and believe in it, it will happen.”
We all have fleeting ideas, from time to time, of what we would like our life to be about. The idea of a vision is about putting it all together.
Write a note, describing in vivid detail, what you envision your ideal life to be – not just work life, but your entire life.
- What kind of work would you be engaged in?
- What would like most about it?
- How is your typical work day?
- What would you busy with outside of work?
- How would you feel then and so forth.
I would suggest writing this note in the present tense, as if you are already living this vision.
3. Discover what you really love doing
As you describe your vision, search within yourself what you would love to do if you had no constraints – financial, social or any other considerations. My personal experience of leaving a highly successful corporate career and following my calling, of helping others discover and fulfill their potential, is that if you are passionate about pursuing what you love, other things eventually follow.
Reflect on your life thus far, including your childhood, college days and initial years at work, and see if you can find some common threads that emerge around what you have most enjoyed being engaged in. Was it organizing events, performing, singing, acting, sports, physics, psychology, connecting with people, teaching or learning new things?
Sometimes, you find a couple of things that you really enjoy – you then need to explore how you can bring them together. For example, if you love public speaking and sports, is becoming a sports commentator an option for you? If you love writing and are passionate about cars, you could get involved in auto journalism.
4. Know what you are good at
Next is to articulate your strengths; know for yourself what you are good at. Is it organizing, marketing, acquiring new customers, design, analytical thinking, forging relationships, starting new projects, execution, strategizing, big picture ideas or communication?
Reflect on how these strengths can be applied to what you love doing. You can also articulate your pronounced areas of weakness and be mindful of attending to them while creating a vision of your new life.
5. Match your core values and needs
This is a crucial step. One of the significant underlying reasons we are unhappy at work is that we are either unable to live our core values or we are unable to meet our core needs.
Write down your five core values. Values are your personal beliefs, convictions and ethics that you would ideally like your life to be governed by. These are deep-seated principles that are really important to you.
Examples of values include excellence, integrity, authenticity, awareness, service, experience, create, discover, nurture, care, relate and empathize. When we can fully live our personal values in our life, we feel more fulfilled, happier and confident to deal with life’s challenges.
Likewise, articulate your five core needs. Needs are the specific personal requirements that you must get in order to feel complete and content.
Examples of personal needs could include – being remembered, respected, recognized, accepted, appreciated, loved, heard, perfect, liberated, responsible or to dominate, win, prove oneself, and connect.
The needs evolve over a lifetime but provide some of the deepest motivations for our actions. Like the values, when our needs are fully met, we feel happier, satisfied and are at our best.
Whatever vision of future profession or calling you gravitate towards, evaluate how your chosen core values and needs will be effectively fulfilled in that pursuit.
6. Gain clarity of purpose
While understanding your values and needs helps provide an insight into your intrinsic motivations, crystallizing the personal purpose gets you connected with your deepest inspiration. Clarity of purpose is the cornerstone for finding greater meaning in your work.
It is greatly useful to coherently articulate and actually write out a statement that describes the purpose of your professional life. If you are unable to perceive a consistent purpose of your existing professional life, you can write a statement to describe the purpose of your future professional life.
Ideally, this statement should be no longer than a sentence – that discipline will force you to sharpen the single-mindedness of your purpose.
7. Serve a social need
A true calling, besides fulfilling your purpose, invariably serves some contemporary social need as well. When we search deep within and connect with our true self, our inner voice invariably guides us towards a purpose that helps other people in some way too.
Examples of that connection between the purpose and satisfying a social need would include statements like:
- I want to invent apps that simplify people’s lives;
- I want to coach people to be the best they can be;
- I want to write to inspire others;
- I want to be a financial advisor to help families become financially independent;
- I want to create music to help people connect with their emotions;
- I want to teach to make a difference to the youth.
When you put it all together, such a calling is likely to bring forth those of your unique talents that you most delight in being engaged in – the ones that you were meant to bring to this planet and the ones that serve some meaningful purpose for the society.
When you discover your calling and commit to pursuing it, work and life become less of an effort and more of a journey of fulfillment!
Have you discovered your true passion and inner calling? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo by =Lonely.X.Poet= via Flickr.
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