"There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It's why you were born. And how you become most truly alive." ~Oprah Winfrey
There’s something you came here to do – a calling. You know this at a deep level, even if you have no clarity about what your specific calling might be.
Your most essential self, Soul, knows the reality of your calling without question. Because a calling is of Soul.
When speaking to a group I often ask, “Who here has a strong feeling there’s something you came here to do?” Without hesitation most the hands in the room shoot up – like a shout direct from Soul. Your calling is a truth. And it shines undiminished, even when your brain twists itself into a pretzel trying to decipher what the calling is and how to follow it in the world.
It’s normal to not know your specific calling for long periods of time. Your knowing of it unfolds as you grow. And, defined or not, you can’t help but bring it to everything you do.
Yet there are times when a thirst awakens to know your calling more fully. To embrace, claim, and be fired by it. This is often during times of big transition. Those times when things seem to be falling apart – yet some deep part of you already senses there’s something more TRUE ahead for you.
These are the times we go on a calling quest. And this is one journey the practical mind is ill-equipped to be in the drivers seat for (though it’s sure to chime in as a backseat driver.) For this quest, Soul is your trusted guide. Here are seven ways you can tune-in to Soul’s wise guidance for your calling quest:
1. DIVINE DISCONTENT
Yes. The restlessness, the loss of energy, the questioning of something that used to be satisfying... Discontent is a call to growth. Even before it’s time to leave a career or renew a relationship, Soul already senses the next, more true and alive, chapter that awaits you. Acknowledging your discontent can be scary – because you don’t want to rock the boat. Know that you can accept its truth without immediate change. Welcome it as your writing-on-the-wall, a road sign from Soul to prepare for change ahead.
2. BODY NO-INGS
If we miss the whisper of discontent, Soul sends another trusted messenger – your body. It’s natural to refuse growth’s call. Yet swimming up-stream and hanging in tough take their toll, and the mounting disharmony can show up in your body. For me, it was autoimmune thyroid disease. It might be your back, your digestion, your energy… In some way, your body is saying “NO!”
And “No” is a critical milepost on the way to a calling. Knowing what you don’t want is the first clarity to arrive. It’s a Soul wisdom you recognize in your gut. Something in you is being strengthened – taking a stand for your deeper needs, and declaring “No” to what no longer holds aliveness or serves your growth.
3. WAKE-UP CALLS
A young and athletic client of mine had a minor infection suddenly turn to emergency – being resuscitated when his heart stopped. Message received! And he bravely launched some long overdue changes. Sometimes a health breakdown isthe wake-up call – our body kicks us out of the old work or life. Soul’s alert has gone from flashing caution to a full STOP.
Wakeup calls take infinite forms. Life turns the page; the job goes away, a treasured dream dies… In some way, Soul gives you a firm push over the threshold you’re hesitating at. Dramatic or subtle, the message is clear; “Life is precious. Time for a change.” So you choose growth over regret.
4. FOLLOWING FIRE
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. ~ Rumi
The “fire” is about what lights-you-up. Pay attention to it, because it is ALIVENESS. Wherever your fire shows up resist judging its value, analyzing it, or jumping too quickly to how it can equal a job or an answer. Instead get intensely curious. Be a student of what-lights-you-up. And stay with the energy of it – like a hound on the trail of some amazing treat.
If the first three Soul languages are yellow and red traffic signals, this one is clearly a green light. Many of the techniques I’ve used over the years supporting people to find their career calling are simply ways to follow and feed this fire of aliveness. (Note: At first others may notice and value what-lights-you-up more easily than you, though you’re the final expert, because you’re so close to it – so invite trusted guides and travel companions onto your quest.)
5. DREAMS & DAYDREAMS
Soul speaks to you in your dreams. Begin a dream journal. Write your questions, record your dreams, and be ready for answers that will make you laugh out loud as their message hits you over the head.
Daydreams, allowing your heart to dream unfettered by the practical and harsh limits of “reality,” are another place to turn your ear. The love and energy contained in a joyful daydream always trace a golden thread back to your calling.
6. DIVINE SIGNS & SUPPORT
“What you seek is seeking you.” ~ Rumi
Your calling is a co-creation. The thing you came here to do is the very thing the Divine wants you to bring. So you’re supported, and don’t need to do this alone.
As you open yourself to support you’ll be given signs. You’ve seen this. The right book comes at just the right time. The right person and resource come. A song comes on the radio with words that speak directly to the question you were just posing. And each coincidence and sign adds to Soul’s bright trail of breadcrumbs.
7. INNER GUIDANCE
“We all have inner guidance. It’s the Divine speaking to us, to Soul, and it’s always present in our lives, with us at all times.”
~ Anne Archer Butcher, Inner Guidance Our Divine Birthright
This is the BIG gift – that loving guidance is always available. Direct access. It can take many forms; intuition, communication with inner guides, a quite voice that warns and offers wisdom, dreams (#5), and other avenues. You’ve had some experience of this. Listening is what’s key – something you can actively develop.
Spiritual practice is an ideal doorway to this kind of guidance. Prayer, meditation, contemplative exercises, walks in nature… whatever works to bring you into the moment and to open your heart. Because when the heart is open, the mind stills and fear recedes.
SOUL KNOWS THE PATH TO YOUR CALLING.
Your job is to listen. Open yourself and declare your readiness. Pay attention. And tend to those things that open your heart to receive its wisdom.
Let Soul light your calling quest. And be kind to yourself along the way. It’s about growth after all, and the learning as you go is one gift of the quest.
Rikk Hansen is a national leader in guiding career reinvention. As founder at CallingCoach.Academy he trains coaches in the art of guiding people to find their Soul’s Calling and express it with fulfilling work. And as founder at Brilliant NEXT he teaches Nature’s Reinvention MAP and supports women and men to find their career calling at any age. Connect with Rikk on Facebook.