A little over one year ago I launched my business coaching and training practice. I felt that I was finally responding to a calling that had been tugging at me for years. Listening to my calling gave me new hope, new energy and a sense of finally doing what I had been put here to do. In his book entitled H3 Leadership, Brad Lomenick reminds us that “every leader, no matter how old or accomplished, should regularly reflect on his calling” (H3 Leadership, Pg 52). What are you doing to reflect on your calling?
In the article I wrote last year, I talked about the importance of listening to your heart, listening to your advisors, and then watching to see how the chips fell into place. Now, one year later, I’m still working out where all the pieces fit, but I feel like I’m closer to it than ever before.
Take a moment to ask yourself this
Understanding your calling is essentially knowing the answer to this important question. “What am I supposed to be doing?”.
Now, in full disclosure, I am a man of faith. And I believe God does help direct us toward where we are supposed to be. But for far too many, we disregard this voice in our lives and tend to focus on what our peer group tells us or what leads us to the greatest financial rewards.
Lomenick gives us a much better measure for finding our calling. He says that our calling “is the intersection where your greatest strengths and deepest passions come together”. This is what I call your “sweet spot”. He also said that “there is a marked difference between a calling and an assignment. And failing to recognize it is a one-way ticket to the frustration station”.
Calling vs. Assignment
How do you recognize the difference between your calling vs. your assignment? Fortunately, Lomenick also gives us some advice here. Consider these contrasts. Calling is what you are designed to do best while the assignment is where you live out your calling.. Our calling doesn’t change, but our assignments will over time. Our calling is the direction. An assignment is more like a destination.
When you consider the idea that an assignment is how you carry out your calling, it makes work make a lot more sense. We don’t always know why we take on the roles we do. But if the roles we take on help us fulfill our calling, then we are making strides in the direction of our calling.
Evaluate where you are
Periodically you should ask yourself if you are working in the direction of your calling. If you are, great. If not, perhaps it’s a time to reevaluate your current assignment.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Does my job give me energy every day or do I feel like I’m just enduring this?
- Is it a means to an end, or fulfilling a greater purpose?
- Do I look forward to Monday or the weekend?
- If I lost this assignment tomorrow, would I be disappointed?
That last one really resonates with me. In 2010 I received the “gift of a severance package”. Now, you would think that not knowing where my next paycheck was going to come from would be a source of great stress. But I have to tell you the truth. I slept like a baby that night. It was such a relief to take the decision out of my hands. I was freed from the shackles of a job that didn’t fulfill my purpose and certainly did not match my calling.
Have I Found My Calling?
Yes, and no. Yes, in that I believe helping others perform at their best is my calling. No, in the sense that I am constantly reevaluating how I can best accomplish this. And that’s okay. We need to constantly be looking at how we are fulfilling our calling. And when it’s not working as planned, step back and make a course correction.
Carly Fiorina said “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.” I feel confident in the gifts I have been given. I am still working on the second part of that equation. Will I ever get there? Probably not. But the journey is worth the effort. It is not about the destination, but about the people, places, and circumstances you encounter along the way.
Helping You Find Yours and Reflect On Your Calling
I hope you have found your calling and are living every day toward the greatest personal fulfillment imaginable. But if not, you should talk to someone that can help you. That may come in the form of a counselor, a career advisor or a coach. If you are interested in talking to me, I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.