It’s week nine of the getting to know yourself series and we’re deep into the fruits of knowing yourself, also known as owning-your-life territory. This week, our topic is callings.
The word ‘calling’ is most often used to describe a vocational calling in a divine sense. That’s not the only way to think of callings, however. My favorite definition is from women’s leadership and well-being expert Tara Mohr, who says a calling is “a longing to address a particular need or problem in the world.”
Callings can thus be big or small, lifelong or temporary, and you may have several over the course of your lifetime, even simultaneously. I’ll give you some personal examples:
For more than 20 years now, I’ve felt called to adopt from foster care. As I write that, it seems like a long time, but it wasn’t an acute desire for that entire time. It was something niggling at the back of my mind and growing over time, sparked when I watched a Wednesday’s Child segment as a teenager; and fostered in college when I dated someone who’d been adopted, in my 20s when I volunteered at events for foster children, and then when I became a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for foster youth in 2011. Adopting is obviously a big calling for me, and one that I’m simultaneously terrified of and excited to begin.
Among my more recent callings, I have felt compelled to share my personal development journey, which I now do here on this blog. And over the past two months, I was consumed with creating A Call to Beauty, a 12-week e-course that launches in September.
As you’ve read through the callings I’ve been experienced, you may have noticed some characteristics of callings. Again, I think Tara Mohr has the best handle on callings and so I’d like to share the following video she created, 7 Ways to Identify Your Calling:
To summarize, in the video Tara shares seven qualities she’s noticed about callings, including:
- You have a vision of what could be regarding a particular issue or need in the world.
- Or you have a pain or frustration around some aspect of the status quo.
- Your calling feels like you’ve been given an assignment, like it’s something you’re supposed to do.
- When you’re working on your calling, you feel a sense of ease and flow.
- You initially have a lot of resistance toward your calling, however.
- You don’t have everything you need to do the calling—yet. But the process of undertaking your calling allows you to gather the resources you’ll need.
- You are not yet the person you need to be to complete the calling. But, as Tara explains, our callings are designed to grow us and help us become the person we need to be.
In case you were wondering, the answer to why heeding your callings is important is right there in Tara’s 7th characteristic of a calling: They help us grow and become the person we need to be.
So, what is calling you right now? Where do you feel you’ve been given an assignment, or do you have a new vision for the future or a pain point about an existing situation?
Author Steven Pressfield shares, “Each of us needs to pursue our calling with gusto and to live in that zone of flow as often as possible. Get out of your head and forget everything, be in the present moment and play. If you want to do something, put your body where you want to be. Just do it.”