“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.
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?
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:
“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.
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.