7 Questions to Find Your True Calling

Posted by on October 30, 2013 in True Self | 12 comments

follow-your-heart2-1024x838The last few blogs have explored how we’ve been conditioned to be like everyone else and play roles that don’t necessarily suit us. Several of you have asked, “Well, how do I find my true calling then, Michelle?” The answer is simple. Figure out what makes your heart sing.

It’s difficult for many of us to believe we are uniquethat we have our own distinct paths in lifebecause we’re so used to thinking alike.  

The next seven blogs will ask thought-provoking questions that will help you discern your special qualities and discover your true purpose in life.  They are:

  1. What are you naturally good at?
  2. What makes you different from others?
  3. What did you love to do as a child?
  4. What fills you with passion and curiosity?
  5. What do your friends come to you for advice about?
  6. What makes time disappear for you?
  7. What would you do if money were no object?  

If you find an answer in common to these questions, you will be well on your way to finding your true calling.  Before we get into the nitty gritty details of each question, though, there are two things you need to be aware of: 

GoIntoTheArts1) Your true calling may not be the main way you earn money right away.  Think of it as a way to find meaning and passion in your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t make big bucks down the line, but for now you need to be patient with it and let it develop naturally. 

2) Your true calling may be made up of a combination of passions, skills, and interests… not just one “thang.” Look for the overlap. For example, I’m a singer/songwriter, speaker, and writer, but I use all my modes of expression to help people reach their true potential.  

By reading the next few stories and answering the questions at the end of each blog, you will gain the information you need to discover the true you.  One warning, though.  I’ve noticed that some people in my workshops get scared when they start to connect the dots and realize what makes them special.  Remember, following the hero’s path to your true self always takes courage.  

Heart Musical NotesThere must be a hitch, they insist.  “How will I be able to pay my bills if I follow my heart?” one person in my workshops always asks. “My husband will leave me if I do what I really want,” another insists. “I’m not like you, I don’t have any talents,” the woman with the Brooklyn accent sharply reminds me.  “I can’t just run off and do what I please, that’s being irresponsible,” another voice calls out from the back of the room.  The upshot of my participants’ comments is that being one’s true self will lead to disaster somehow.   

Well, I have found quite the opposite to be true.  Story after story in this next set of blogs will show you how these same doubtful workshop participants found their true callings by following their hearts.  Far from crashing and burning, they all thrived in their new lives.  Stay tuned and find out how you can do it, too.  

In the meantime, which questions above speak to you the most?  For me it was the first two. I was surprised to learn that music came naturally to me and not others while I was studying psychology in graduate school at Princeton. The timing seemed all wrong; I was about to become a professor. What about you?  What true path may you be ignoring right now that’s calling to you?

 

12 Comments

  1. “I’ve noticed that some people in my workshops get scared when they start to connect the dots and realize what makes them special. Remember, following the hero’s path to your true self always takes courage.”

    –Which is why it is called The Hero’s Journey. And it is important to remember that The Hero’s Journey is not a destination, it is a journey with triumph, success, and overcoming obstacles, and also failure, wounds, and sometimes tragedy

    “There must be a hitch, they insist. “How will I be able to pay my bills if I follow my heart?” one person in my workshops always asks. “My husband will leave me if I do what I really want,” another insists. “I’m not like you, I don’t have any talents,” the woman with the Brooklyn accent sharply reminds me. “I can’t just run off and do what I please, that’s being irresponsible,” another voice calls out from the back of the room.”

    –Upon closer listening, I almost always find these to be my parents or other early authority figures talking in my head, even people who meant well in saying them.

    • So right you are Bill. It is usually the voices of parents, teachers, older siblings, etc. that still play in our minds that hold us back. Going on the hero’s journey can be tough, but I’ve found the reward of creating an authentic meaningful life is so worth it.

  2. Hi Michelle!
    Great points! it is very interesting that your seminar attendees all thought that something bad would happen if they did what they want. Great that you are educating them!

    • I know! I’ve found that often my biggest role in inspiring people to change is to help them develop the courage to take one tiny step after another towards their dreams…

  3. I find it interesting reading your blog as a parent of an 11 year old. There are so many paths he could take. And so many ways I can encourage and discourage him. It is interesting learning about your own beliefs, values and patterns by observing how you are trying to influence your own child. Keep writing!

    • It’s interesting for me to know you’re reading these blogs from the perspective of a parent. I’ll keep that in mind, and also will devote a few to parenting in the future. Thanks!

  4. I wanted to add a comment thread that appeared on my Facebook page that may interest readers here, as it raises some interesting issues:

    Margaux Joy DeNador Great job on your blog Michelle. I am looking forward to the next 7. One point I feel is important is to realize what you feel called to do may not be the way you earn money – as you said it can be that way at first – but what you feel called to do feels wonderful to do just because you are being who you feel called to be. For me the big three are: Be a Mom, Be a Writer, Be a Singer. Being a Life Coach is what I do to help people love themselves, love what they do, and love the world they live in but it’s not what I would consider a calling. It’s something I did feel I needed to do but it is my way of being of service while I do all of the other things I feel called to do.

    Michelle Millis Chappel Beautiful!

    Rebecca Parks Even if you never make any money from your true calling, it’s still worth pursuing. And a day job, if well-chosen, can be rewarding in its own way.

    Michelle Millis Chappel True enough, it’s worth it no matter what… but you never know… it can bring money in eventually sometimes…

    Rebecca Parks It’s true that you never know, but I’ve seen people quit their dreams because they absorbed the message, intentional or not, that if they were meant to do it, or if they believed in themselves enough, or if they followed the right marketing formula, they would succeed. So they interpret a failure to make money as a failure to realize their potential, which is tragic.

    Margaux Joy DeNador Rebecca, I totally agree with what you’re saying. What Michelle says is true that sometimes you can make money from what you feel called to do but it’s important to do it even if you have to do something else to earn a living. Variety seems important to me. Some might be able to do all one thing but I like having a variety of things to do. One of the things I love about coaching is talking with my clients and hearing their progress each week. They are able to take time for what they love and begin to get paid for doing what they love.

    Michelle Millis Chappel I agree Rebecca, it is tragic… and Margaux good point. Lots of people in my workshops keep their day jobs and express their passions at nights and on the weekends. They answer their callings by doing what they love more deeply. For example, instead of just dreaming about acting, they take acting lessons, and then they act in a local play; that sort of thing. But I have also watched people pursue their passions FT and make it work. For example, one actor moved down to LA and is now in a TV show. It all depends on the particular person and the particular path. Future blogs will focus on prosperity consciousness, which is a separate issue. Following your call is not about making money per se, it’s about living authentically and creating a life that’s true to you!

    Rebecca Parks Yes, living authentically is what’s important. And whatever you achieve, full-time or not, should make you feel proud.

    Michelle Millis Chappel Absolutely! And finding support systems who GET this about you is important too.

  5. You really hit a lot of nails on the heard.

    One of my big “Aha” moments was the realization that we only have a short time on this earth. I mean, we all know that, but we don’t really think about it much. So one of the driving forces in my life now is imagining me on my deathbed and looking back on my life. I want to have as few regrets as possible. And living safe wasn’t enabling me to live a fuller life. I was raised to believe I wasn’t worth enough to try to allow myself to be happy and do things for myself. Those messages run deep and I sure don’t get it right all the time.But now I try to live by my own motto (I’m sure its not mine, but it rings true to me): The only failure in life is not trying.

    Keep up the inspirational work, Michelle. I know this resonates with so many people all over the world.

  6. You really hit a lot of nails on the heard.

    One of my big “Aha” moments was the realization that we only have a short time on this earth. I mean, we all know that, but we don’t really think about it much. So one of the driving forces in my life now is imagining me on my deathbed and looking back on my life. I want to have as few regrets as possible. And living safe wasn’t enabling me to live a fuller life. I was raised to believe I wasn’t worth enough to try to allow myself to be happy and do things for myself. Those messages run deep and I sure don’t get it right all the time.But now I try to live by my own motto (I’m sure its not mine, but it rings true to me): The only failure in life is not trying.

    Keep up the inspirational work, Michelle. I know this resonates with so many people all over the world.

    • Thank you John for being so real. I know exactly where you’re coming from. The number one regret of the dying is not following their dreams. Playing it safe is not answering our callings.

      That’s why I’m blogging my book now. I’d planned to start a year ago, but didn’t. What stopped me? Feeling like it wouldn’t be good enough (I had a similar upbringing as you), and feeling scared that if I expressed my true self I’d be rejected.

      Six months ago I lost my father. That woke me up, but I still didn’t write. Nine weeks ago my cat was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. I realized his time is running out… and my time is running out… so I started this blog the next day.

      I found the quote: “The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.” ― Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  7. I am trully happy to stumble upon your blog while.looking for a “life changing” quote! Talking to a friend just this morning I discussed my urge to find my calling, believing that I was put on earth for something much more imprtant! I have had my own share of ups and downs but the downs have pretty much been the dominant force recently and I am making the move to change that. I look forward to reading the next 7 blogs, I am sure I weren’t directed this way for no reason!

    • I am so glad you found my site too. I’m sure the timing is right for you to wake up to your true purpose. I have already put out a few follow-up blogs. The first one is called “True Calling Tip: What are You Naturally Good At?” Take a look and let me know what you think. You’re on your way. Best of luck to you!
      http://michellechappel.com/1755/true-calling-tip-naturally-good/

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