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An Unexpected And Effective Way To Find Your True Calling

An Unexpected And Effective Way To Find Your True Calling

“What is your true calling?” “What is your purpose?” “What were you meant to do in this life?”

However you wish to phrase it, these questions are all one in the same. For many of you, a disproportionate and unnecessary amount of time is spent trying to figure out the answer. You dwell, you think and you over analyze. On top of that, you fight yourself when really the answer to this question is deceptively simple.

On this journey, you’ve no doubt encountered several suggestions, ways, techniques – or whatever you want to call them – to discover this answer. You’ve scoured Google and been bombarded with post after post about the number of ways and the things you should do to discover the answer to this, from:

1. Writing down your dreams.
2. Delving back into what you did as a child.
3. Picturing your ideal life.
4. Considering what makes you come alive.
5. Been told to notice what makes you feel good.
6. Getting rid of distractions so that the answer can come to the forth etc etc etc.

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Not only this, but you’ve read self-help books. You’ve spoken to life coaches. You’ve spent a lot of money on this journey. While contemplating these questions is important, it can lead to analysis paralysis. It can be crippling. You end up on a massive roller coaster ride with no end in sight. This may lead you to follow the wrong path on your quest to find that one defining thing, or as some like to call it, your one true calling.

The reality is, some of you do not have one true calling. This is highlighted by Emilie Wapnick, through her website Puttylike, “Home for Multipotentialites”. In short Multipotentialites or polymaths are people with many interests and passions. They move between interests. They often have multiple jobs, professions, and careers over the course of their life or at the same time.

Much time then can be spent in search of that elusive answer. But this needn’t be the case:

“…the search for our purpose isn’t some impossible philosophical exercise. Nor is it something that you need to spend your whole life searching for and struggling to determine. Because you already know the answer, and you’ve actually known it your entire life. It’s right in front of your nose. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s within your nose, through your lungs and at the core of your central nervous system.” – Sean Kelly, Entrepreneur Contributor.

The answer is Energy. Huh? Yes. Energy.

Everyone has it, but it’s unique to you. You are born with it and cannot create this energy as it’s a part of who you are. You have always had it within you. When you are fighting this energy, life is difficult. When you are going with its flow, life is easy and you are fulfilling your unique purpose. You have “found” your true calling.

This may all seem rather vague and intangible at this point but bear with me here. This energy is hidden from plain sight because you have become domesticated and institutionalized. You chase the wrong things, you try and conform and you go against the energy as a result. You fight it.

“But how can I recognize whether I am fighting it or not?” You may be asking.

Sean Kelley suggests asking yourselves the following questions:

1. How painful are my days?
2. How hard and taxing is my work?

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If the answers to these two questions are in the medium to high scale, then you’re not fulfilling your purpose, because you’re going against the natural flow of your energy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if life seems natural, effortless, easy, then you’re going with the flow, you’re fulfilling your unique purpose.

You see, there are certain activities in life that know matter how much time and effort you put into them, they give you energy. You will expend a lot of energy, but the energy you create as a result far outweighs that which you put in.

Then there are activities that drain your energy. This is because these activities are not leveraging your core strengths or your unique abilities that form part of your energy, something that you were born with. Something that is part of who you are.

What are your core strengths?

Your core strengths are things that come so naturally to you, so natural in fact, that you take them for granted. However, when you’re engaging in activities that leverage these, this may seem immensely impressive to outsiders. In the words of Sean Kelley:

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“As human beings, it’s so easy for us to ignore our strengths because we don’t see them as strengths.Our strengths can feel deceptively insignificant, like everyone in the world possesses them.But they don’t. In fact, your most effortless activities will be the most impressive to others. And this has always been the universe’s plan. “

Simply put, when the work (or activities) you do resonate with your core strengths and energy you’re fulfilling your purpose.

I am going to do something which I was against at the beginning, listing things that help you find your purpose, but I do feel that a basic blueprint is necessary to help you find your true calling.

Blueprint for finding your true calling

1. Write down activities that leverage your unique strengths

Identify all those activities where you feel like you’re in a state of flow, where work is easy and identify your core strengths in the process. A great way to do this is to ask friends what they think. Tell them you’re doing an exercise and would like them to list all those things you are naturally good at. What impresses them? Be wary of asking family as they might be biased.

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2. Write down activities that don’t leverage your unique strengths

This requires you, to be honest with yourself. List weaknesses. List everything that falls outside the spectrum of your unique abilities.

3. Don’t fight it, obey your energy

Once you have the above figured out, then consider how you can start focusing on doing more of the activities that leverage your core strengths. This will not be easy at first; it involves breaking out of a cycle that you’ve known for a long time. It involves changing your life around. Be persistent and more importantly be patient. In the end, once you’re going with the flow, doing work that leverages your unique abilities, life will feel effortless and perhaps you will have found your purpose or true calling.

More by this author

Nick Darlington

Nick is a Multipotentialite, an entrepreneur, a blogger and a traveler.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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