Deep down I knew that it couldn’t tell me, but I imagined that it might lead me in the right direction. Maybe if I fill out this career test… oh wait I have to register to see my results. Maybe if I read this story about this person who found their true calling… oh wait it’s an ad for purchasing their eBook. Maybe if I rephrase the question in the search box… I’ll dance around the issue all night.
Admittedly, searching for answers online is much simpler than soul-searching. Maybe that’s why you’re here reading what I have to say at all. Trust me, I’ve been there — so I understand if you’re just quickly skimming this article looking for an answer.
Quite simply, there are two worlds:
- What you do for a living, and
- What you were born to do.
I believe that in most cases, they’re radically different, and seemingly impossible to connect.
What you do for a living is the safe option. It’s comfortable, it’s what you know, it’s what you’ve done for years. Perhaps most significantly, it can’t be all that horrible, because you’re still doing it.
What you were born to do is the frightening option. It’s uncertain, it’s what you enjoy, but is there any money in it? What if it doesn’t work out? You’ll have traded in your safe career for a silly dream that never came to fruition, and then what? Come crawling back to reality, shamefully admitting that your entrepreneurial venture was a bust? No thanks — I’d hate to be a failure.
This uncertainty, this fear of the unknown scares us to the point of paralysis. We don’t take action because we don’t want to fail at what we love to do.
I’ve recently felt, though, that the alternative is much worse. Doing only what you have to do for a living, to make ends meet, day after day with no outlet for what you were born to do wears on you more and more as time passes. You become increasingly unhappy.
I recently read a book by Jim Manton called “The Secret of Transitions: How to Move Effortlessly to Higher Levels of Success.” In it Manton discusses how happiness requires purpose. I couldn’t agree more.
It’s a good book as far as self-help books go, and I want to share one paragraph in particular that really spoke to me. It’s on the subject of passion:
When I am _____, I feel most alive. Everything is acting in concert–mind, body, heart and spirit. I am here. I can feel my heart beat. I can feel the sensation of energy flowing into my core as I draw in a breath. I see, hear and feel. I notice that my only emotion is one of gratitude. I love being alive.
I left out what Manton’s passion is in the quote above, because I feel like it’s better to leave the empty space for you to fill in. What Manton wrote, or what I might write, or what anyone else might use to fill in that blank space is unimportant. I want you to focus instead on the feeling that he describes.
What makes you feel most alive? What’s something you do that makes you feel like everything is right in the world?
Say it out loud. Say it louder. Say it again and again with pride. If you’re smiling, you’re on the right track. If you can’t stop smiling, you’ve hit your target. And if you’re crying, you’ve found your true calling.
Whether you’ve already found what it is that you were born to do, or if you’re just starting to take steps towards embracing your true calling, I’m thankful that you’re here. Writing is my true calling, and without readers like you I’d feel like there was nothing worth writing about. Thank you for helping to fulfill my life’s purpose — now tell me about yours!
(If you want to read more about Manton’s Transitions, see the Book Review I wrote for The Daily Leap)
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