How to Find Your Calling

In this little visualization exercise, you’ll explore an idealistic hypothetical situation, which will free your mind from the grinds of daily life and the reality of having to earn a living, to explore what you really want to spend your life doing. It will get you started down the path of finding and pursuing your calling.

There is really no need to think too hard.

Visualize your self in this hypothetical situation.

So — you just won your lottery. You turned in your resignation, and went on your shopping spree. No more employment to tolerate, and there isn’t anything you want that you don’t have.

What will you do with the rest of your life?

Now, before you jump to the most indulgent conclusion (golf?), consider this one hitch.

Whatever you do will have to meet a world’s need.

By “world,” I mean humanity.

No, you don’t need to save the world. It doesn’t have to be a big need. But do carefully consider, how the humanity (or a tiny portion of it) will benefit from what you’re doing.

Because your calling lies where your needs and the world’s needs meet.

Say, your passion is golf. You’re terrible at it, but you love golfing. You wake up early on the day when you get to go. You’re tempted to skip breakfast, because you can’t wait to get there and start.

But since you’re really terrible at it, you can’t envision yourself to play professionally — playing so that others can watch and be entertained and inspired by the spectacles of the sport. So you dig deeper. How can I use my love of golf to meet the needs of others?

What do you love about golfing? You realize that you’re fascinated with the golfing gear. You know the history, major and exotic makers of fine golfing equipment, and you love testing out new tools. This discovery leads you to realize that you’d love to be a golf equipment reviewer. Manufacturers will send you their best stuff, and you take them out and play a round of golf — and write reviews about it.

Or perhaps your passion is in painting. You’ve always been artistic, from childhood. You went to art school, but after graduation, didn’t know what to do. You’ve been painting, and sold a few from displaying it in a local coffeehouse. Now that you don’t need to paint to make a profit, you can finally paint till your heart’s content.

But painting for painting’s sake doesn’t inspire you — painting’s point is to be seen, to be shared, right? Besides, the rule is to meet other people’s needs. So you explore further. What do you love about painting? What are the needs of painters or painting-lovers? Perhaps you want to teach a community class on art appreciation. Perhaps you want to form a co-op for painters, so you can rent studios together and get supplies more cheaply.

I hope you see how this little visualization/simulation gets your creativity going nicely. You start with your passion, and try to meet a world’s needs through it. Simple, but a very powerful exercise for finding your calling — and what specific forms it may take.

I want to re-emphasize that you must not think about it in terms of having to make it an income-producing activity. You will have to, down the road, when you pursue it. But not at this stage. At this stage, what you will need to know is this: if you meet a world’s need, and meet it well, then the world will in return meet yours. What you need to focus on is meeting a world’s need through your own passion. Start there, and enjoy and explore that green pasture for as long as you want.

Find a little quiet time, grab a notepad, and write down your explorations inside your passion. Really imagine doing what you love day in and day out. Write down an “imaginary” diary — chronicle what you do each day when you’re no longer bound to having to earn your living.

You may be surprised where it takes you — and how happy you become.

Perhaps more so than you thought possible.

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This article was featured in The Thirteenth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life.

This entry was posted in Career and Your Calling, Happiness, Know Yourself and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to Find Your Calling

  1. It’s good to see another blogger writing about calling by meeting the world’s needs. I’m sure you’ve seen the Frederich Buechner quote. “Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” I think our deep gladness or fulfillment is a higher actualization than our personal needs. Otherwise I agree with you.

    • Ari Koinuma says:

      Hi Tom,

      Welcome to OBV! I just re-read this article — it’s one of my early ones, so it’s still sketchy and not as well-formed. But like you said, my intention is in the right place — that place where deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.

      Have you written on this subject? If so, please let me know. I want to explore this issue more, but I still haven’t formulated my thoughts very well.

      Thanks!

      ari

      • Hi Ari,

        Many of my posts at Delightful Work talk about how to find that sweet spot that overlaps the world’s great need and your deep gladness. It’s not enough to simply find work that you love to do. There needs to be obvious value in that work for the world to support us. I’m inviting you to pay a visit an let me know which post you find most useful. This is one of the most popular,
        http://www.delightfulwork.com/2008/02/27/seize-your-greatness/

        • Ari Koinuma says:

          Tom,

          Thanks for the link! I’ll be by to explore your sight. My focus has always been on how to pursue my calling, instead of finding it, as I found my pretty early on. So sometimes I have a hard time relating to people who have no clue — and there are many. 🙁 I’d like to help them out, and it sounds like that is your passion. I’m sure I’ll find lots of great nuggets to use on the subject.

          I’ll be by soon. 😉

          ari

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