For a long time, I believed that my “work” had to be an almost perfect manifestation of my callings and fully align with my life’s purpose and values. I went to a progressive and mission driven business school and had been trying really hard to have my professional work – my title, my day to day work, my employer and its mission statement align with my purpose. I even started believing that if this weren’t the case in its ENTIRETY then I was being “true to my fears” or I wasn’t trying hard enough or I had to keep seeking or that my path wasn’t correct.
Wrong, wrong, wrong…
Over the last one year, my thinking has expanded and I have come to believe that there is more than one way to live our calling and be true to our purpose. While there is something absolutely magical when your job, career and callings align perfectly, there is nothing inferior when they don’t. For so many of us this perfect alignment doesn’t happen overnight or in fact may that perfect alignment may not be the path we are meant to pursue. I have seen waaaaay too many people waiting to take that first step in the direction of their callings until the conditions are perfect. They wait until they can give their 100% to their vision only to live year after year devoid of the purpose, joy and light they are meant to share in the world.
For some a calling may ALWAYS complement a job or a career. Did you know that T.S. Eliot, the famous writer, poet & dramatist and Nobel Prize Laureate had a day job as a banker for many years to fund his dreams ??? For others, experiences at their job or a career may open their worlds to their calling and that path is beautiful too. Susan Cain, who has a TED talk with over 11M views on introversion worked for many years as a lawyer and his written extensively on how her previous journey helped her discover and live her purpose.
We often trick ourselves into thinking that the amount of time spent on our callings, their exclusivity & uniqueness and more importantly their replacement of our day jobs is what makes our callings credible and this is absolutely not true. The most important truth about our callings is to find them, nurture them and and start embodying them in our lives even if it starts with only 5 minutes a day…
If your heart’s deepest desire is to paint, it doesn’t matter if you do it for a living or a weeknight project. It doesn’t matter if you get paid or not, recognized or not. It doesn’t matter if you have consultant, teacher, driver, or hairdresser on your resume. What matters is you take out the time even if it is a few minutes to nourish your soul, express yourself and let your work be seen, even it is just by yourself.
And the most beautiful thing about taking that first step, creating space, time and resources for our callings is that these small steps will give us the information of whether we do want to make our callings our career or not. By starting with something we learn whether we want to charge for our art or not. We learn if we want to share our work with 10, 100, 1,000 or a million people some day. You will not know this until you start.
I had a friend who had a day job as an engineer and loved photography and had his work at various art galleries. I once asked him if he ever wanted to make photography his vocation and his response was a clear NO. He said that he didn’t want to monetize his work and learn about the business of photography. His hearts deepest desire was to focus solely on the art and this portfolio career of photography and engineering was an ideal manifestation of himself at this point in his life. How beautiful! His story always inspires me. Again, he wouldn’t have known this until he had tried creating & sharing his work with the world. If at any point he decides to change his mind and make photography his vocation he has a lot of data points to know what would work for him or not.
Things to remember!!
- Your calling doesn’t have to be your job or career and it is OKAY
- You DO have 10 minutes a day or a week to nurture your calling
- Small steps in the direction of your dreams lead to their full manifestation
For your journal –
- Is there something you have always wanted to do but were waiting when you had more time, money, or something else?
- Can you take out 5,10, 15 minutes a day, everyday to work in the direction of that desire?
- What do you need from your partner, friends, bank account, web designer, teacher, etc, etc to make this happen?
- What do you need from yourself to let your dreams see a little more light?
I will be writing a lot more about callings, purpose and dreams in the coming weeks? Let me know if there are questions or things that you struggle with on this topic!
For the next post, I’ll be writing about how to find that calling of yours or discover your life’s purpose…