Your True Calling is Right in Front of You
Are you feeling stuck or unsure of what to do next with your life? Odds are your true calling is right in front of you but you miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place. All you need to do to “see” it clearly is change your perspective.
This was certainly true for “Maria,” a woman in her late 40s who took one of my first creativity workshops. Frankly, Maria scared the bejesus out of me. She stood about six feet tall, had fiery red hair, and seemed to be very angry about something. I noticed right away that she carried a gun to class. Needless to say, I did not want to piss this woman off.
Maria’s True Calling
It turns out Maria was a police detective who wanted to retire early and travel the world. She thought it would be a good idea to write travel brochures to support herself. The only problem was that Maria had no interest in learning how to write them. In fact, she didn’t like writing at all. So, every week she would come to class carrying that gun, feeling frustrated about her life, and I’d be sweating bullets.
Even though she said she wanted to retire, I could tell Maria really liked being a police detective because she came alive whenever she spoke about it in class. It occurred to me that she was already being true to herself; maybe she just didn’t like living in Northern California anymore. Perhaps she was stuck because she thought she had to stop being a police detective to see the world. I suggested to Maria that she try to combine her two interests rather than choose between them. She cocked an eyebrow (not her gun, thank God), and said she’d think about it.
The following week my intuition screamed at me to tell Maria to vacuum her living room rug when she got home. I often get strange “hits” like this about workshop participants that later prove to be right on target. Maria said she’d give it a go. The following week she put her townhouse up for sale. Apparently while hoovering her carpet, Maria found an unpacked box under the couch and realized that she’d only meant to live there temporarily anyway. By putting her house up for sale she showed herself she was ready to answer the call to adventure. An opportunity was sure to come her way. I could tell she was getting close.
The last week our class met, Maria announced that she’d sold her house and put the bulk of her belongings in storage. She was now living in a small furnished apartment. I was impressed with her step-by-step changes and the faith that something would come together for her.
What happened next was remarkable. Six months after our class ended, Maria landed a job with the United Nations. She ended up going to Bosnia to train the local police to adopt human rights procedures. In the end, she didn’t need to choose between being a police officer and traveling—she could have it all.
What about you? Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be? Be sure to trust your instincts, just like Maria knew she had to travel. But don’t be too quick to mentally figure out how to heed your call right away. If the answer falls outside the range of what seems possible (in Maria’s case, working for the UN), the route you choose may actually hold you back from getting the best life you could have.
Slow down and trust the process. Don’t think about the end goal yet, just consider what the next step should be. Every step you take provides another piece of the puzzle, until the big picture eventually snaps into focus. What small step can you take today to follow your dreams?