Finding Your Passion and Inner Calling

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:

  1. Do I want to be more successful or make a significant contribution?
  2. Do I want more money?
  3. Do I value social recognition or inner fulfillment?
  4. 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.

  1. What kind of work would you be engaged in?
  2. What would like most about it?
  3. How is  your typical work day?
  4. What would you busy with outside of work?
  5. 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.

Popular search terms for this article:

finding your calling, inner calling, finding your passion, discovering your passion, finding passion in work, finding your inner passion, how to find your inner calling, finding passion, discover your passion, how to find your inner passion

Rajiv Vij is a life and executive coach and works with leaders in the business, public and social sector to help them discover and fulfill their potential. Prior to starting his coaching practice, her served as Managing Director, Asia for one of the leading global investment management firms. He also writes a blog on the journey of personal mastery and its impact on our lives and the world around us.


  1. Daquan Wright on the 12th September

    This is quite an interesting thought, as I struggled with it once but I’ve really found what I love.

    When I was in high school, I was unsure. I started working with HTML when I was about 15 and found it addictive, I loved to build things (whether it be a doghouse or a site). But I also took art classes and I really enjoyed the process of observing nature and putting it into my own perspective.

    When I was in college, I first majored in art. But then one of my family members questioned the marketability of such a major, so I switched to Computer Science. I’ve found the switch rewarding and now I’m on my path to get my dream degree and acquire the knowledge I need not to just be competent in my field, but in life in general. It’s entrenched in math and science, which I didn’t get a good foundation in when I was in high school. I now self-study math and find it rewarding, although tedious. But the understanding I acquire of the world around me is more than worth the patience and discipline I put forward to get that knowledge.

    But that’s a personal goal. My professional goal is to be a master ui designer/app developer. I found my calling by working with computers and creating a basic website, tweaking code and struggling to learn new concepts. Now I’m branding myself and plan to build my freelance business from the ground up. I also want to be a professional software engineer, because the tight deadlines and projects will force me to be more disciplined (but I also get to solve interesting problems).

    • Rajiv Vij on the 12th September

      Wow Daquan, that’s a great personal story. Congratulations on finding your calling and committing yourself to it. Thanks for sharing your purposeful goals!!

  2. noch - be me. be natural. on the 13th September

    and to stop focusing too much on achievements and goals, but rather on the journey and to enjoy those passions and interests and calling…. it’s not about “making it” all the time

    that’s my own little struggle now

    and my calling – i’m in the process of determining my passions and interests from the past… hmm… perhaps a banker turned author? 🙂

    thanks for the inspiration

    • Ian Bert Tusil on the 14th September

      sometimes, focusing too much in reaching your achievements and goals burns you out.

  3. Nicola Bryant on the 13th September

    Rajiv, I have been feeling this way for a long time.

    As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to help others and wanting to know their story and how I can make their life better. In high school, I wanted to be everyones friend no matter your race. I love people. I find them interesting. When I got to college I wanted to write, to be in broadcasting. Unfortunately the college I went to didn’t have broadcasting as a major so I went with my second plan, Accounting. Yes, a big change. I always love working with numbers and trying to figure out the answer to make sense. So, I persued my career in Accounting. I am doing pretty well with it but I feel like I am missing something from my life. I was in an abusive marriage and for a long time I thought I was doing something wrong and being ashame of it. But when I got the courage to leave, I knew it wasn’t me that had the problem and it was nothing to be ashamed. I went through therapy and I became stronger. My therapist has said I should share my story with other abused women and maybe it will give them the courage as well. I wasn’t comfortable with that because I feel no matter what you tell a person, it is their decision to leave. So what I decided to do was volunteer for the Shelter for Abuse Women and Children. I felt better doing that but I was still feeling like I needed to do more. Now, I want to tell my story and I want to help other families that are dealing with what I went through. So, I am writing again. Writing about teen dating and in an abusive relationship. Also a childrens book on what we use our hands for. My daughter’s school has invited my older daughter and I to talk to the 8th graders about dating and abuse. I am very excited about it and I know this is what I want to do. I want to tell my story and I pray that it will help someone.

    • Rajiv Vij on the 13th September

      Thanks for sharing your story Nicola…helping others through your writing…very touching!

    • Marie Demello on the 20th June

      Hi Nicola,
      My name is Marie I found this website through some research. I read your comment and found it intriguing for me. I recently found my passion which like you I had realized I liked doing this in high school but life happens differently and deterred my focus. I too want to help people but my intentions are to help children through psychology. I am sharing this with you because I want to ask for your help.

  4. Beth K on the 19th September

    Awesome post, thanks! I have been struggling to find my “passion” for a long time, partially because I’m too worried about what “others” think, and partially because there isn’t a specific job description for the kind of work I’m interested in, it is encompassed in several career fields. I’d be interested in seeing a blog post as sort of a follow up to this; different ways to turn your passion into a job (start your own business, how to research companies in your dream field, etc.).


  5. How To Focus on the 22nd September

    Also, try talking over these things with a close friend or family member. They can give you feedback and ask you questions that can further direct your action. Maybe you think that you would like to start a non-profit. They can give you more ideas and help you generate direction simply by asking you questions about what kind of people you want to work with, how you will advertise, etc.

  6. Dr Amit Nagpal on the 23rd October

    Nice post Rajiv. For those who have discovered their passion life is a reward, for those who are running the rat race, life is a punishment. Here is my story:-

  7. Abeesh Thomas on the 7th November

    Here is my blog about how I discovered my calling

  8. Shamim on the 22nd January

    I have been searching for my true calling for months, everyone in my family wants me to become a nurse because i will be able to find a job, and i really don’t like it. I am really torn on what career i should purse.

Add a Comment