True Calling Tip: What Makes You Unique?
To answer your calling, honor what makes you different from others. Yes, it can be scary to express your true self, but it’s the best way to create a successful meaningful life, and it’s easier to do than you think.
A few years ago a friend and I went to the Mojave Desert. We were astonished to find all these wild-looking Joshua trees around us. Their branches were bent in a million different directions. After inspecting several of them closely, my traveling companion and I came to the conclusion that no two were alike. I could have sworn they were dancing in celebration of this fact. It was as if each tree’s outstretched arms were swaying to the beat of a different drummer. The image of those trees has never left me.
Now whenever I teach my creativity workshops I always tell my students that they are as unique as those Joshua trees. Each of us has special talents, skills, interests, and passions that set us apart from everyone else. By respecting our own distinct way of doing things, we can find real contentment. The whole point of the hero’s journey is to develop the courage to create lives that fit who we truly are, not just follow the crowd. If each of us made this choice, we’d be like those Joshua trees in the Mojave desert; different from one another and yet all belonging happily together.
But only a few people in my classes seem to get what I’m talking about at first. Most of them look at each other and then back at me, shrugging their shoulders. “Maybe you’re special, but me—I’m just like everybody else,” someone sitting near the front of the room usually asserts. I survey the many heads nodding in agreement, and I know my work is cut out for me.
News flash: There’s no one else like you. You don’t have to try to be different; you already are. The trick to answering your calling is to own what makes you unique.
In 1977, an interviewer from Rolling Stone Magazine asked Ray Charles, “Did you sit down one day and think, “I’m going to invent soul music by mixing gospel and blues?” He answered, “It was not a conscious thing to sit down and mix nothin.’ It was a conscious thing to sit down and be myself. See, before I tried 1,000% to sound like Nat ‘King’ Cole. I could get hired, but nobody knew what my name was. So one day I decided to be myself. And, naturally, I grew up in the church. Naturally, I grew up with the blues. So, naturally, the flavors came together, ’cause that’s what I grew up with.”
Like Ray, just by virtue of being your true self, you are an original. Your distinct physiological makeup, diverse life experiences, and natural talents add up to make you different from everyone else. When you are true to yourself, your life naturally takes on its own flavor, its own slant.
By embracing your individuality—even the mundane stuff—you will find your authentic path in life. I know a lot about psychology; sing and play the guitar; adore cats; and come from a long line of healers. That’s a relatively unusual combination. What about you? What makes you unique? Make a list and get a glimpse of the true you.