Finding your calling is all the rage these days. It’s sexy to find your calling. Everyone’s doing it, it seems. Finding your calling is the new black.
But if you’re one of the many who haven’t yet found it, the process of seeking it can make you feel psycho, like you’ve got a giant “L” plastered to your forehead and the Universe has shunned you, just like the mean kids did back in 7th grade.
I remember the feeling well. Back in 2007, after quitting my stable job in medicine – which I once believed was my calling – I found myself floundering, thrashing around like a fish in a washing machine, feeling completely ungrounded, confused, and lost, not to mention toxically anxious. After twelve years and $200,000 worth of painful medical education, along with eight years of practice experience, I found myself unemployed and seemingly unqualified to do anything else. Plus, my husband didn’t have a job. Oh – and we had a newborn. And a mortgage. And graduate school debt.
The three years that followed became a desperate search for what would come next. Trust me. It wasn’t pretty. I wound up writing a memoir that every publisher on the planet rejected. I made art nobody bought because the economy tanked. I had to sell my house and liquidate my retirement account. And when that money ran out, I had to borrow money and start loading up my credit cards. After two desperate years, I finally took another job in medicine, this time at an integrative medicine practice – only it still wasn’t the right job, and I wound up quitting, at a financial loss.
I had many dark nights of the soul…
Becoming A Butterfly
Finding your calling resembles being a caterpillar who climbs into the cocoon. Caterpillars don’t just enter the chrysalis and sprout wings, you know. Before they become butterflies, they essentially become bug soup, dissolving completely before being reborn as something new and beautiful.
That was me in 2008 – bug soup. Cellular sewage. Spiritual pond water.
Then something happens – something you can’t rush – and one day, you emerge, reborn, owning and claiming your calling. What happens in the interim may seem unpredictable – more like magic than science – but it’s not. It’s a totally predictable life cycle like the one I described here in The Life Cycle of a Visionary.
In the process of experiencing this for myself and guiding my mentoring clients through similar journeys, I’ve realized that there’s a whole mythology around what it means to find your calling, and most of it is total hogwash. So let me bust a few myths for you, just in case you’re feeling like bug soup these days.
7 Myths About Finding Your Calling
Myth #1 Callings come with business plans.
This is horse manure. I could never have written a business plan for the way in which I’m called to serve on this planet. All you can do is follow the hot tracks one step at a time, each time getting closer and closer, honing in on your purpose until everything in your being says “YES!” (usually followed closely by “Hell no!” But don’t worry. That phase is temporary.)
Myth #2 You only get one calling.
Nope. Sometimes callings show up with expiration dates. You do what you’re here to do. You complete it. And then you’re called to do something else.
Myth #3 Only chosen people have callings.
If you think callings are a luxury reserved for Divinely-chosen extraordinary people, you’re totally off base. Well… sort of. The reality is that every single one of us is a Divinely-chosen extraordinary person with a calling just waiting to be fulfilled. Own it. Claim yours. The planet needs you desperately.