Being Too Grown Up for a Calling

November 15, 2006

A while ago, I made a post on the importance of finding a calling. In the comments there, Dan commented on the difficulty of finding that calling, and threatened to post about it. And, he finally did. And, as usual for Dan’s posts, this one was full of some brilliant nuggets of information. From the post:

That is to say, if you just decide that you like one-legged wallabys, sitting and thinking about what professions deal with those big, hopping rats will only get you so far.

He then goes on to talk about the importance of trying on all sorts of different jobs (in all forms, one can assume, of wallaby-husbandry). There’s no question that, when trying to find your calling, the importance of having multiple jobs can’t be over-estimated – as someone who has yet to be in a single job title for more than 18 months at a time in my career, I wouldn’t have nearly as much information on what I do and don’t like without that.

But that’s not where you find your calling. The true nature of a calling is deep within us – I would argue that I knew my calling when I was 12 years old. And that most of us, as 12 year olds, probably had a far better idea of what our calling in life is than we do as adults. Because as adults, we often allow ourselves to be too practical to allow ourselves to most fully express why we’re here.

I was having this dicussion with a friend recently, who told me of a conversation with a friend of hers, who said:

[he told] me I just need to concentrate on my career and “running off and joining a circus”… is not the way to buy a home or save for my future.

That’s the way that most of us think as we get older. The truth of your calling is found in your unconscious mind, where your skills, temperment, and long-held dreams and desires come together in a pattern that is deeply yours. It’s located at the same level as what the GTDers call the “50,000 foot level”. And what some others call a “Life Vision”. It’s the answer to that question which is often the scariest of all to many grown-ups (though most kids would probably have a ready answer):

What am I here for? What is it that I should do that only I can really do?

I’ll post an exercise here in the next couple of days that will help anyone who wants to find out a bit more about their calling…

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One Response to “Being Too Grown Up for a Calling”

  1. Daniel R. Sweet on November 15th, 2006 8:54 am

    As always, I agree and disagree (I know – you care!)

    I think we’re divided on the whole definition of calling.

    The more metaphysical definition is that thing that pulls on you when you’re 12. It is what God has decided that you should do. The best advice I can give is to get to know God to find out what that calling is.

    The calling as I attack it is that which really resonates with your personality. But that includes everything that goes along with the job. The paperwork, the carpet style, the flourescent lights, the harpy boss, the gossipy co-workers, the uncomfortable chair – the whole deal.

    My experience has been that most people don’t really know “what they want to do with their lives”. I think that’s because of how we think about work.

    Hmmmm…that sounds like the beginning of a new post….


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