“I believe there's a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”

Oprah Winfrey

What is a calling and why should you pursue it?

A calling is about contribution and should be big enough to stir your soul, to stretch you and challenge you. I believe we all come to this earth with gifts and talents designed to help us grow as we serve others. I also believe that there are things that are unique to each of us and it is in pursuing and doing those things that we find and fulfill our "calling." I think how we act on and fulfill our calling can and does change over time, but I also think it's pretty likely that you will find threads of it throughout your life. I also don't think you will necessarily be paid to pursue your calling (although you might be) or have the ability to pursue it full-time (although you might have that happen too). I absolutely believe that no matter your stage in life, there ARE steps you can take to pursue that which makes your heart sing. Also, your calling does not have to be the Mother Teresa/Princess Diana/Ghandi/Martin Luther King, Jr. change-the-world on a big scale kind of calling. It can be, but it can also be one that changes the world on a small scale and that's important too.

For years, the biggest calling I pursued was find, adopt and raise kids who otherwise would have no family. Those years came to an end (well, the raising part never really ends.....) and then for several years, I focused on politics, but those years seem to have mostly come to an end as well. I've been trying to figure out "what's next" for a while  now. This blog is part of that for me.

How about you? Are you deep in the throes of raising your family? Are your kids now young adults and you've got more time on your hands? Do you have a full-time career, but you know it's not your "calling"? That's OK - sometimes it's the career that makes pursuing the calling possible. Are you really just feeling a pull, a longing, to do more? Say more? Be more? That's your calling, whispering in your ear and tugging at your heartstrings.

I'm also going to share a little secret - if you wait for the "perfect time" to start pursuing that which you feel called to do, you will never begin. You will never have enough free time, enough disposable income or be completely free of fear - so just get started!

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Attributed to Goethe

How do you discover your calling?

So how do you find out what your calling is?  You might already know or have an idea, but if not, here are some tips on uncovering your calling and finding what will help you live a bigger story.

  1. Prayer. God will show you if you ask Him.
  2. What do you love to do? What do you hate to do?
  3. What "work" do you do that doesn’t seem like work?
  4. What do you ALREADY do that you don't get paid for, but you love it?
  5. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
  6. What would you do if you had unlimited resources?
  7. What is your unique ability? In other words, what is the thing youI think is simple and easy to do, but those around you marvel at your ability to do it?
  8. Ask your friends and loved ones what your calling is - sometimes we are blind to our own strengths.
  9. Notice what captivates you - what type of books do you keep reading? What blogs do you follow? What excites you or even enrages you?
  10. Journal. Try writing out 50 responses to the question "What is my calling?" then don't pause, edit or stop until you get to 50.
  11. What gives you energy? What drains the life out of you?
  12. What do you want to change, shape, and leave better than you found it?
  13. What segment of the population are you drawn to help?
  14. What do you want to experience, witness, and learn?
  15. What makes your heart sing?
  16. What is on your bucket list? (Don't have one? Start there!)
  17. What is on your joy list? (You could start here too!)

If you can't figure out where to start, then I'll say again - just get started. Pick a path and head down it. You may discover something new to love or find that what you thought looked great just isn't for you. Once, (OK, more than once) I successfully pursued a path I thought was a great fit for me. It was not. In fact, it made me want to poke my eyes out with plastic spoons. But did I learn something? You bet! And I never have to wonder "what if" with that (those) again. 

I'd love to hear where your path is leading you.