BY REBECCA COOPER
We all come to a point in life when we start questioning if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. That may come in your 20s, but it usually comes in your 40s or later. The shorter our lives become, the more we want to make our days and years count. So, how do you know if you’ve found your ‘calling’ in life? I’m so glad you asked…
Just to make sure we’re on the same page, the definition of ‘calling’ is: a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.’ Sometimes a calling can be a drastic career change, but can mean returning to a hobby or a pastime that helped you during stressful times in your past. Then there are times when you know what your calling is, but you have a defeating conversation in your head of, ‘What will people think if I do that?’ or ‘I don’t have time to do that!’ or ‘It’s not practical at this point in my life to make this change.’ Whether you know or are still searching for your calling, or what you want to be when you grow up, there are a few steps that you can take to figure out your next step in life.
Steps to Finding Your Calling in Life
What Did You Love As a Child?
Many times our calling comes to us early in childhood. For me, from the first grade, I loved writing and sharing stories with others. But as I grew up, although I never lost that love and returned to it when I turned 40, I let the practical side of me take over instead of pursuing my passion. I didn’t realize that I could be practical with a ‘grown-up’ job and still write.
What Do You Love to Do Now?
Make a list of 25 things you love. For example, exercising, baking, gardening, etc. may bring you enjoyment, but those things could also be your calling. Look at your list and make a plan to do two of those things next week. While they may not be your calling, therapists say that when you do something that brings you a high level of joy, you are more open to listening to your intuition or gut on making life decisions.
Whittle Away the Distraction in Your Life
We live in a world full of distractions that don’t serve us well. From too much TV, to way too much time devoted to social media, or attention to the electronic devices that fill our waking moments. Things can also be distractions like stuff, clothes, things that you don’t use, but you don’t want to let go of. Clearing things and activities that don’t bring you joy out of your life frees up space in your mind and life so you can follow that which serves you. I once read that, ‘Saying no to what you don’t want or need means saying yes to your calling.’
Commit to Baby Steps
My move back to my love of writing came after being downsized from my job and having free time on my hands. I had little confidence in my ability, but I found an online program that would allow me to write and be ‘graded’ by published authors. I had decided that if a real author said I should try my hand at something else, I would move on. But the opposite happened and I got great accolades and moved on from there to write for a local publication and then to writing now for Forsyth Woman. I took baby steps back to my love of writing. I didn’t set out to write the next self-help book or a novel. I took deliberate, but small steps which made all the difference.
Keep Following Where You Think Your Calling Is Going
I recently read that seeking one’s calling is ‘a continuous process of shedding what we don’t need so we can get closer to the person we were born to be.’ If it takes a month to find your passion and calling, take that time to get to know yourself, or if it takes years, it will be time well spent. And don’t tell yourself ‘I’m too old for a change.’ Happiness and joy have no time limit as long as we are alive. Set time aside to listen to the voice within you because our deepest regrets almost always come from those chances we don’t take.