3 weeks ago, I asked these questions in my newsletter and blog post: Why are you here? What is it that gives your life meaning? What generates your sense of purpose? What voice nags at you to contribute to humanity or to the world? These are essential questions here at the two-year mark of this pandemic…this season of ambiguous loss. But as you pause and re-think deeply about your calling, please be careful to avoid certain myths that might hinder your evolution of purpose. (Here’s a link to the whole article.)
I suggested that there are five myths you might believe about your calling:
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.
So, what about myth three? When I discover my calling, I will have arrived.
Nope. Callings evolve.
Life continues to happen. New experiences, new relationships, newly acquired skills and emerging passions can reshape and refine your purpose. In time, as your purpose is honed, it will begin to feel like a destiny, the final expression of your calling.
Is there anything we need to do to allow for this calling evolution to happen?
Pay attention to how your life is unfolding. Live an examined life.
Are your passions shifting? Have you experienced something or gone through a season that gives you new insight into a need in the world around you? Have you acquired a new skill that enables you to contribute to others in new ways? Are people seeking you out for advice or help in ways they haven’t before? There are calling clues imbedded all around you. Pay attention!
Are you facing a transition? Many times these life passages have signposts that point to a refinement of your calling. All transitions have this effect, but retirement almost always holds the opportunity to “land the plane” into a long-developed destiny.
Destiny is your calling on steroids. Destiny is the final expression of your calling.
Example: Me. In my 20s I would have told you that my calling was to shepherd or care for people. Pretty broad and a little vague. As I moved through my 30s and into my 40s, it became clear that my calling was being refined to be more about leadership development. I geared much of my speaking, team oversight and people connections around developing new and effective leaders. It was in my 50s that a destiny began to emerge that came to full fruition when I launched Destinyworks. I created a process to help guide individuals, teams and organizations into one unique aspect of leadership development, the discovery of meaning and yes, calling.
So, celebrate if you have a sense of calling! But keep an open mind, with an eye to the future. Be ready for your purpose to narrow, your impact to broaden and your legacy to grow.
Pay attention! You are likely just getting started!