How to find your calling

Bright red telephone call box on Victoria Embankment in the City of London. Blackfriars Bridge is in the background.

© Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Haven’t you heard this like a million times? Find your purpose and working won’t feel like work. Really? But will it feel like eating pizza? While to some degree you can make your work way more enjoyable, maybe you have no such thing as calling…

The most important thing

Before finding your calling, or your purpose, I believe trying out many things will tell you what you’re not built for. And by a process of elimination, you may eventually find things you are great at and actually love doing.

Sometimes we are good at things we don’t particularly enjoy. I was good taking exams. Did I want to do that for a living? Hell no. Just because you excel at something doesn’t mean this thing is for you. However, the skills you draw from this particular activity, you can re-use for something you love.

I think finding out what we don’t like is more important than finding one calling. What if you have more than one? One of my all time idols is Arnold Schwarzenegger. The guy doesn’t seem to have just one calling. He became the greatest bodybuilder of all time. I was a great actor, and he ended up in politics. And one of the first things he realised was that he wasn’t good at taking orders.

The complexity of you

Trying to find one purpose in your life, or one thing you’re great puts limits on yourself. You probably have more than one talent, which means you’ll probably have more than one mission. Let’s get back to Arnold…

Arnold discovered when he was in the army that he hated taking orders. He had a rebellious nature and couldn’t really control it. If something mattered to him, he was ready to go down for it if he had to. To make his first bodybuilding show, he escaped from his Austrian military camp and crossed the German border to go to Munich.

Naturally, when he came back, he went to jail. That’s when he discovered something crucial for his career. He had a talent few people really have, and he was able to use it. That talent had nothing to do with his great body. He could influence people. He told his superiors he won the show thanks to the great training they had subjected him to. They even built a special gym for him after that…

Now like Arnold, you may be good at several things, and you will find that there is more than one way to use your talents. If you’re limiting your talents to just one mission or calling, you will probably have a pretty limited life. Instead, you should think about all the ways you could use your talents.

Trust your instincts

When you try to be rational, you end up playing it small and not using your talents to the full. When it comes to making impactful decisions, your guts will generally tell you what you should do.

Finding your missions is not something that you can be too rational about. You want to make mistakes for that so if there is something that really feels true for you, don’t think twice about it.

You probably have a lot of things that make your heart beat faster. Follow those, explore and discover yourself by doing and experimenting. Spending hours trying to define one purpose is a giant waster of your time. How do I know? I’ve done it multiple times and I still haven’t found it out. I know what I shouldn’t do though…

If I had to say what my secret is for a meaningful life right now, it would be to find a zone, not a purpose or a calling. We each have a zone of genius that encompasses many qualities that we can make use of. To find that zone, you have to step into the unknown and do away with anything you don’t feel belongs to that zone.

And to challenge your mind with my FREE 7 Mind Shifts That Can Change Your Life, click here.