I am fortunate to spend time with a lot of Smart Women. A topic that comes up on a regular basis is this idea of a job vs. a “calling.” What’s the difference? How do you know what a “calling” is? Jobs are something that we do in our lives to keep ourselves and our families together. A “calling” is when our true purpose, our life’s work, is discovered.
I think most women would prefer a “calling” rather than a job. Why? Because jobs are too small for us. We are destined to do something more meaningful with our lives, our gifts. So why do we resist? Well, jobs are critical. We do need to “earn a living.” And “earning a living” gets in the way of the exploration to look for and reveal our “calling.”
We hesitate to answer the call from our authentic self, especially as we move into midlife. We become torn by the realities of being mothers and daughters—of taking care of our children and possibly our aging parents. We also become susceptible to accepting comfort and predictability. Predictability is typically the choice we make because, well, it’s predictable. We have a guarantee. Making a new or different choice creates an unknown, a mystery of sorts. Many women will ask the question, “Is it possible that I do not have a calling”? The truth is, we are all chosen. We all get the call. The challenge is making a decision to embrace your “calling” once you make this marvelous discovery.
Sometimes the call comes in and we are so busy navigating our lives—our jobs, families, community involvement—that we miss the call. Or we delete it by accident, not realizing how important it is. I want to share something with you: In my work, I find women who feel they are wasting time, as they have not found their call yet, and they become frustrated. They do not feel that they are offering their unique gifts to the world. Let me assure you that everything you have done in your life up until now has been a part of your “calling.” You have not lost or wasted any time. All of the life lessons, skills, talent, and gifts that you possess (and you have many!) will be with you always.
The key is to create the time and space in your life to discover your “calling”—your gifts to the world. Time is the elusive lover—one that we never seem to have enough of and yet, time is the tool that you must have in your backpack on your journey to the discovery of your authentic self—your “calling.” You must be courageous and make a firm commitment to time and space where you can explore what might be next for you.
In my Women’s Success Circles, time and space are created so that exploration and discovery of your “call” can happen. It’s a place where “callings” can be heard in a safe environment. It’s a place where you can dream about what’s possible for you and construct a plan to make it happen. I remember a time in my life when I felt empty. I kept searching for something to fill me up. I had lost my energy and passion for my work. It was not until I created the time and safe space in my life that I began to discover what was truly next for me. Being courageous enough to do this has made all the difference. I invite you to be courageous as well. I’m going to leave you today with a favorite quote from one of my great mentors, Buddha:
“Your work is to discover your work and then will all your heart to give yourself to it.”
© 2008 Joy Chudacoff
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