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8 Signs You’ve Discovered Your Calling

8 Signs You’ve Discovered Your Calling

Take a moment and take a deep breath, turn off the distractions and prepare yourself with a sense of excitement and positive expectancy because this is going to be an epic post taking you to the energetic fabric of who you are and why you have been called to Earth at this time.

Every human being experiences the Calling. Every moment is a calling, and as Oprah says, “If you’re here breathing, you have a contribution to make.” No matter what background, age, color, creed, religion or gender, we have all been called to Earth at this time for the authentic expression of who we are and the gifts we are here to give.

The Calling is sometimes thought to be associated with a career. Other times it’s thought to be associated with an adventure. Not to be mistaken with wanting and searching for the next thing (which is the game of the Mind), the Calling is a infinite wisdom that’s always there and never ends. At the core of it, the Calling is a knowing of what is true to us to feel and do, and it’s associated with every aspect of our life. Everything from the people we meet to the travels we embark on to the mentors that guide us to our natural gifts to the dreams we have, the miracles we experience and the contributions we make.

So, how do you know if you’ve discovered your calling? It took flight for me in the form of downloads every night from 9 months of vivid, lucid dreams. For others the heroic journey began with an unexpected person coming into their lives. For Harry Potter it showed up with his house flooded with tons of letters delivered by wise owls from Hogwarts. If you feel like you’re living your calling and if you feel like you’ve been struggling to find it (which is another game of the Mind), these 8 signs will serve you in knowing that you’re living your life congruently with the Calling.

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1. You have had an irrational urge involving a quest

Joseph Campbell describes the first phase of The Hero’s Journey as the Call To Adventure. It’s a setting where the hero (you) is living in an ordinary world, monotonously going about life in the same way, and often times wishing for more. At some point for us in discovering our calling comes the urge to venture out into the unknown world… in some sort of quest. For me throughout the 9 months of vivid, lucid dreams, I had the urge to leave the traditional academic world for a one-way ticket journey around the world focused on mentoring, adventure, extraordinary experiences, self-education, mastery and having soulful connections with the people I’d meet. For Peak Performance Strategist Tony Robbins, this came as an unexpected gift one of the worst experiences of his life where his father walked out on his family after feeling worthless because a man delivered a Thanksgiving basket for them. From that day to now, Tony Robbins has created a foundation that feeds millions of people every year during Thanksgiving with basket brigades.

2. It hurts you not to act on this irrational urge

Generally after hearing the call to adventure, many of us refuse the call. “Oh, I can’t do that. That’s crazy. That’s wishful thinking. Someday.” Those are all excuses to keep our sense of constancy in living an ordinary life as opposed to embracing uncertainty to live an extraordinary life. To not live purposefully, authentically, and heed the Calling is painful… and the only way we are able to survive with the pain is to numb it and distract ourselves — through alcohol and drugs, excessive television use, smartphone addictions, monotonous lifestyles, problems and limiting stories, and surrounding ourselves with others committed to mediocrity. There’s nothing wrong with anything mentioned above, and if we’re honest with ourselves… it hurts us at our souls to play small in this gift of life.

After having my first dozen vivid, lucid dreaming experiences, part of me got very excited to begin pursuing the messages of the Calling; another part of me ignored the call and wanted to continue in the traditional academic system that I felt was eating away at my soul… out of the fear of not being accepted by loved ones and others if I left this expected path they wanted to see me pursue. That winter of college, I went to Argentina and had a phenomenal month with my cousin. I shared with her many of my stories and dreams of exploring the world with this hunger for personal development. She was enthusiastic with what I shared and encouraged me to go through with it. I said I was going to leave college to pursue my passion, and when I returned I refused the call. What happened next was I got sick with salmonella for almost three weeks, and then a more intense case of strep throat for nearly another two weeks. Missing many of my classes, I went to the doctor’s office on campus and asked for advice. He recommended I take a medical leave of absence. The light of passion flickered in my eyes. I took him up on his offer and within minutes of leaving his office, all of my strep throat symptoms disappeared and I was enlivened with a new sense of passion, energy, vibrancy, inspiration, joy and being empowered.

3. You find yourself more embracing of uncertainty with open arms

The Calling does not follow logic nor rational thought, however it makes perfect sense. When engaged with the Calling, we become more trusting in the unknown; we trust in our experiences, in the timing of things, and in the people we meet as if everything is to shape us and guide our soul to who we are meant to become and what we are meant to contribute. In the beginning of The Matrix, Neo is at his work when he receives a call from Morpheus, a person who he has yet to meet and who asks for his trust and guidance away from the agents. Neo participates with embracing the uncertainty of where he’s going as Morpheus gives him step by step directions.

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Another case is with Oprah’s story about surrendering to God in receiving The Color Purple. She wanted the part so much, knowing she had been called for it spiritually, and as she tried to control her outcomes she was rejected… until she surrendered.

Kris Carr is another phenomenal example of embracing uncertainty. She was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer that was deemed untreatable, and she went on to create the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer. She still has the cancer, it’s still untreatable, and she continues to live an extraordinary life filled with passion, joy, fun and inspiration, and has gone on to be a voice for health, wellness and living an amazing life regardless of circumstance.

4. You have mentors that guide, teach and support you for your journey

When Tony Robbins was starting out in the personal development industry, Jim Rohn was his mentor. For Oprah Winfrey it was Maya Angelou. For Mark Zuckerberg, it was Steve Jobs. Richard Branson accredits David Beevers and Sir Freddie Laker as significant mentors in his life.

In today’s day and age, our mentors are not limited to only showing up in person. We can find the book that inspires us, YouTube channels and online blogs that teach us just what we need to know for where we are and where we’re heading. For me it was a few books, including The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, and The Education Of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg. I actually drew a water color painting of myself reading two books, one with an orange cover and the other with a blue; this was weeks before I even knew about both of Tim’s books, and I was shocked at the coincidence of discovering them after creating the water color painting.

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The key is that you will find the right people at the right time to support you on your journey, and they will find you as well (as you’ll support them on their journey) with grace when you’re living with the Calling.

5. You have heightened sensitivity, intuition and awareness

Intuition is what helps us understand something immediately with the Mind’s reasoning. You’ll just have clearer insights, a strong sense of knowing of what is true and where to go. We are all intuitive at our Soul, and the Calling is an urgent invitation to live our Soul’s journey. As we embrace the Calling, intuition along with heightened sensitivity and awareness becomes more accessible as tools to guide us to fulfill our Calling.

Sometimes this comes with a gut feeling like you’ve known someone all your life, and maybe you have only met them once. This has happened to me a number of times and I’ve taken it as a great sign to be more curious and see the wisdom we can share with each other… and it’s been an extraordinary experience every time. Sometimes you might notice your heightened sensitivity when you’re in a coffee shop full of noise, and in the midst of all the activity you notice a conversation relevant to what you’re doing right now in your life.

Steve Jobs accredits his intuition as more powerful than his intellect in creating the extraordinary technology he has in the world. He’s famously known for having said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” Now you don’t need to go to India, nor take psychedelics to experience intuition. We all have it. All you need to do is call for it, ask for what’s real, and pay attention. Heightened sensitivity, intuition and awareness are all gifts for you to experience to hear the Calling and live your legend.

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6. You notice that time seems to fade away

When you’ve discovered your calling, you’ll notice that time fades away in the mystery, joy, excitement, wonder, awe, passion and thrill of being alive. On my journey around the world, I constantly forgot about time. Sometimes I felt like things were lasting for hours when it was just minutes, and vice versa. When Oprah spoke about surrendering to the higher organizing power and experiencing the ebb and flow of life, that is living in sync with the Calling in a sense of timelessness, and yet experiencing perfect timing… all the time.

7. You notice serendipity and synchronicity more clearly

Serendipity has been defined as good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries accidentally. Synchronicity is a concept defined by Carl Jung, which means that events are meaningful coincidences. In mathematics, when two angles are to fit perfectly together, it’s called a coincidence. In life, when things click together, it makes perfect sense. If you listened to Oprah’s story about surrendering from the link above, you’ll hear how she noticed the strong coincidence when she was praying to be in the movie The Color Purple and got a call from a casting agency for a movie called Moon Song (which later became The Color Purple). She was to act for a major role as Sofia, who is married to Harpo. She realized that Harpo is her name spelled backwards and was stunned at the coincidence of that.

When you’ve discovered your calling, these phenomena become more transparent in daily life. In fact, they become guiding messages to keep you on purpose.

8. Your life becomes centered on growth and contribution

The purpose of the Calling is to guide you on your personal Soul’s journey. It’s about evolution and contribution of the gifts you have to bring to humanity, and perhaps the greatest gift you can give is yourself. As you grow, evolve and change, humanity grows, evolves and changes… and it can happen at the level of your lineage, family, community, and at the level of the world based on the depth and width of your contributions.
I wish these 8 signs have given you the clarity you needed to know when you’ve been aligned with the Calling, and have inspired you to live congruent with the Calling, so that you can live and contribute soulfully.

Now, these are just 8 signs that you’ve discovered your calling. There are plenty more, and from reading this… have you been living your calling? If not, I invite you to now give up the Mind’s quest for constantly searching for the next best thing and claim the destiny that’s calling you right now. It’s simple, Oprah said it… just surrender to it.

Featured photo credit: Warner Bros Inc. via tiffanymetzger.files.wordpress.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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