How do you know what your Calling is?


As much as I think living a creative, vibrant life requires exploring the day-to-day intention-based questions we need to ask ourselves, I also think sometimes we need to roll up our sleeves and explore some of those towering, intimidating, big-picture questions too. 

Big questions like: 

What is my Purpose here on this earth?

WHOA. As questions go, there probably aren’t many much bigger than that. 

But let’s back up for a moment. Where’s this all coming from? 

Well, last week I found myself deep down in a rabbit hole of the internet (but this time it was a good thing!) Elizabeth Gilbert, acclaimed author of Eat Pray Love and Committed, two of my very favorite books, posted on Facebook some videos from her recent appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. 

Now, I don’t watch Super Soul Sunday religiously, but I try to catch up on it when I can because I know I can count on thoughtful, inspiring interviews with soulful, spirit-filled guests. 

Anyway, among the (MANY) videos I come across (there were so many juicy ones!), I stumbled upon one clip titled: The Telltale Signs Your Purpose Is Calling.

I heard Liz- yeah, I’m gonna call her Liz… with all the videos I consumed the past few days, she feels more like a good girlfriend by now - I heard Liz talk about Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” and what it means to answer the Calling of your own life. That word - “capital-C” Calling - really sparked a curiosity in me. It felt so big and powerful (and confusing.)

More and more often these days I hear people talk about their Calling or their life's Purpose. There they are, all Enlightened and Awake, ascended to a higher plane of existence somehow because “they have found their Purpose.” I think we’ve all probably encountered those people or heard those stories and sat in silence thinking to ourselves “Well crap, I want a Calling. What the heck is MY Calling?”

Is our Calling something we’re just supposed to know?

Is there such a thing as one single purpose we were put on this earth for?

And if we don’t feel like we know what it is yet, how in the world are we supposed to figure it out? 

These were all the questions swimming around my head over the weekend. And, sorry to disappoint, but I don’t know if I’ve come up with an end-all, be-all answer on it just yet. However, I did come up with a new way to think about my own calling, one that I wanted to share with you this morning. 

Our Calling is what connects us to the greater good of humanity.

(I know, I know, another WHOA. That sounds pretty heavy, but bear with me here.)

Each of us is just one person - a self - with a unique set of gifts and talents and desires. But we’re also part of this bigger whole - the collective community of humanity.

I believe that our Calling is that instinctive voice inside that begs us to use our talents to make a positive impact on the group as a whole; It is the bridge between self and humanity. 

And so the way we talk about it sometimes feels like our Calling is a defined answer, something to "find" or suddenly "discover." But it might be more practical to think of it more like a moving target - like a daily quest for that place where your gifts intersect with the world’s needs. 

I'll be the first to admit it: I don't know what my Calling is yet. But I do know that when I was back working at my advertising agency job, crunching numbers and squelching my creativity, becoming a dimmer version of myself each day, there was a little voice inside me saying "you were meant for something other than this."

You may not know what your Purpose is yet, but it might be just as important to listen to the voice that says this is NOT your Calling.

So, don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to write down your Calling this week.

Instead, I want you to think about that diagram above (albeit poorly executed) and think about where your talents meet a need that humanity has. 

Have you heard that whisper saying "You were meant for more than this?" We may not ever be able to articulate what our Calling is or what our Purpose on this earth is, but at the very least we can try to live each day asking ourselves how we can connect the Self to the Whole. 

Just some deep and tangled ponderings for you today. Wishing you all happiness and presence this week.

ps. I'm almost finished building my super-affordable-but-also-super-awesome "30 Days to Better Hand-Lettering" course, so if you're interested in this $20 e-course (complete with a 30-day prompt list to practice your lettering skills) sign up here to join the list that will be notified first when it goes live!