Several weeks ago, I began a short blog series exploring the myths that people believe about calling. I have coached hundreds of people over the last several years – NFL players, CEOs, retirees, fraternity guys, soccer moms, etc. and these five myths continue to pop up frequently in our conversations.
Myth one: My calling and career must be identical.
Myth two: My calling is ultimately about my fulfillment and happiness.
Myth three: When I discover my calling, I will have arrived.
Myth four: I’m too old to find my calling.
Myth five: My calling is all about me at my best.
I talked about myth #1 last week. Check it out here.
Here are just a few brief thoughts about myth #2…
So many people expect that meaning should be another perk of their job, along with salary and benefits. “If my job doesn’t provide for me a “why” to live for, well, then I must be in the wrong place.” This is to fundamentally misunderstand calling as a happiness and contentment booster.
Don’t get me wrong; when a person discovers their calling, they experience a tangible growth of personal satisfaction and a definite increase in well-being, but this is a by-product of investing their life for the benefit of others. It is gratifying to see a legacy forming behind you…a legacy of changed lives or a world in a better place because of you, but calling is not a badge of pride or self-importance.
I agree with David Brooks in his book The Second Mountain, who suggests that calling is “about contribution, not acquisition” and is about “shedding the ego, not building the ego.”
Calling is about the “other” or the needs of the world, not about my gratification. Calling is about care and investment, not about achievement. Calling is about passion, but the kind of passion that inflames the heart over the needs of others, not a passion to climb another rung on the ladder of importance.
A simple test to see if your calling is right-focused is to answer this question: Who benefits if I live out my calling? If it’s just you…let’s not call it a calling! Let’s call it a hobby.
As always, I’m available to help you, your team or your people come to grips with the truth about calling. Reach out to me and I’ll help guide you to a purpose that leaves a lasting legacy of changed lives…oh, and is incredibly fulfilling along the way!