Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in life is discovering your life's calling. Many think that taking a few career assessments will be the panacea, ultimately proclaiming from the highest tower what we are supposed to do or become. Others spend more money than they should in attending every self-help seminar they can find, always seeking but never finding.
While you can glean much from career assessments and seminars, unfortunately, a "life's calling finder" does not exist. Finding our life's calling emerges from a variety of experiences, good and bad. What we take and learn from these experiences will truly expand and nourish our lives. Our life's calling doesn't necessarily come to us suddenly. Rather, it comes incrementally, and many common truths abound to help us find our life's calling.
Truth #1: Develop a vision in your life
We hear this all the time, but it is true. We must develop our path and then move along it, knowing and understanding that it might change. It is important to "see afar" as what you really can achieve.
Truth #2: Choose well and wisely by setting goals and keeping them
Once your vision is in place, you need to create goals and objectives that are measurable and ones you can achieve. Once that vision is in place, you are on your way to discovering your life's calling.
Truth #3: Understand that your ACT and SAT scores will only get you in the door —
While the ACT, SAT and good grades will help you enter life, it is your hard work and persistence that help you through the tough spots. These challenges in our lives will aid in discovering our life's calling only if we learn from them and apply that learning to enhancing our lives.
Truth #4: Perform service —
Serving others creates within us a sense of caring for others. College scholarship applications want to know what service you have done. Some ask what you learned from serving others. Serving others connects us with a portion of what our life's calling is all about: It's not just about us; it's truly about others.
Truth #5: Understand you are the product of the company you keep—
If you truly want to find your life's calling, associate with good people who possess the type of values you wish to have. You purposefully develop positive relationships with people to help each other grow and develop.
Truth #6: Get over yourself —
A young man once asked a former university president what he should do to be successful. His answer was succinct: "Get over yourself." Inward thinking about ourselves disallows us from caring about others. Often, our life's calling comes from reaching way beyond ourselves to help others. Literally, it widens our view of the whole picture of life.
Your school teachers were right: Homework is important. And this doesn't necessarily mean your tasks while going to school. Doing your homework both in class and out is essential and fundamental in understanding and ultimately knowing what your life's calling should be. We have to do hard things to accomplish the tasks before us. Doing homework helps us maneuver through the morass of the mundane and connect what we don't know to what we know. Doing homework helps us fit together all the pieces.
Truth #8: Understand that change is inevitable —
Sometimes our life's calling can change or expand. Understanding that mere fact will save you from a ton of headaches and heartbreaks. Change is not easy; nor is it meant to be. Rather, being the agents of change and helping others along the way will eventually clear our pathway to success.
Truth #9: Allow for personal and professional growth through lifelong learning —
Too often, in trying to find our life's calling, we fail to improve both our personal and professional selves. Improving both the personal and professional parts of our lives will help us find our life's calling while simultaneously balancing our lives.
Truth #10: Be a vigorous, positive participant in everything you do
Teachers will tell you that students who participate more, learn the most. Sometimes, it is just easier to sit back and let things happen. But being a vigorous participant in life and in your job will show your boss, colleagues, and others that you do want to accept more responsibility.
Truth #11: Don't make a fuss over small things
One of the challenges many people face is they see the minutia, focus only on that, and then fail to see the bigger picture. You must keep focused on your goals, the bigger picture. If you don't, you'll never discover your life's calling.
Truth #12: Seek leadership skills and be a leader in everything you do
Take note of good leaders: your bosses, co-workers, clergy, a mentor, or anyone you consider a good leader. You will discover that most, if not all, have determined what their life's calling is or are vigorously pursuing it.
Truth #13: Strive to do your best, your very best
We must remember that everyone is different, possess varying skill sets, and have a different life's calling. Bill Gates once said, "Don't compare yourself with anyone in this world...if you do so, you are insulting yourself."
Many times our lives do not end up as we started; nor do they pan out along the way. That is the beauty of finding our life's calling. It literally is a discovery process. Perhaps, gathering these truths through our life's experiences, adhering to them, adopting others and doing the best we can ultimately propel us along our life's path to discover our life's calling.
Darrel Hammon likes being outdoors, growing things and seeing things the way they could be. You can read more of his musings at darrelhammon.blogspot.com. He and his wife worked as welfare volunteers in the Caribbean.