#1.32 - Discover Your Calling


Kate: So let's get stuck now and really dig into this topic of discovering our calling. So a calling is one of those things that often gets kind of aligned with the idea of having a purpose or doing meaningful work – doing that thing that really draws you and pulls you in. And why I wanted to touch on this today is, I really like the idea of a calling as opposed to kind of talking about purpose. And the reason that I like that is because it's in the very word itself, calling. It's this idea that something is, you know, gently whispering or yelling out to you and saying, hey, come and take a look at me. I'm interesting, I'm charming. I love this idea of charm. I'm currently studying to be a meditation teacher in the Vedic philosophy. And something that that philosophy talks a lot about is following charm and following the things that have that natural quality to them that make us want to kind of dive in and see what they're about.

And really, this is why I love this idea of a calling. It's something that's kind of reaching out to you going, hey, come and have a look at me. I'm interesting. Something that really digs into your curiosity and kind of nuzzles into your brain so that you really want to go and explore it and see what it's all about. As opposed to that idea of while I must find my purpose – that kind of has these connotations of, well, there's this thing and I've got to go out and I've got to work out what it is. And when I get there that see it, I've, I've got it sorted – but I like this idea of a calling because it's something that's beckoning you and it's not to necessarily say that it's the be all and end all and you might kind of follow that calling and see where it takes you. And then something else might begin to call and you can follow that calling as well.

So with a calling, if you're thinking, well, how do I discover my calling? What I really suggest is to really start to pay attention to those little tugs, to those little voices. To those little pieces of charm that really attract you. Maybe you're in a meeting one day at work and someone talks about a topic or something and you go, ooh, that's really interesting. I wonder, I wonder what's that? That's about it. I'd love to find out more about that. Then begin to follow that thread, begin to see where it leads you. I think we can often think that when we're going to discover something like a calling, then it's going to be this big thing that wacks us over the head and that we're going to know straight away and it's going to be right in front of us.

But I think sometimes it can be more subtle than that. If you think about, if we're sticking to the metaphor, if you're thinking about someone calling out to you, if they're far away, that that voice might be really soft and it's going to take you kind of taking steps and walking towards it for that voice to become louder and few to really get clarity around what that voice is saying. So if you've got those little, those little tugs, those little threads go and start following them and see where they lead.

The other idea that I love around this idea of charm and calling is that you might not actually be following something for the reason that you think you might be following it. One of my meditation teachers describes this really well. He goes, well, you know, you might decide that you want to say go and learn a language or something like that and you know, you, you head along to this language class and you're really into the language class and then all of a sudden you're in that language class and you meet this amazing man or woman fall in love and you, you go off with this man or woman and then you, you keep trying to kind of pursue the language, but it's just not happening in the way it was before.

And it might be that the language course was the thing that was calling you, but it wasn't calling you actually for the language course. It was calling you to discover that person in that class. That's an interesting example, but you can see in other situations how you might be called towards something for one reason and find out that actually there's something else there that was actually more interesting and where that real voice was actually coming from.

An example of this for me at the moment was, um, originally I, when I started to learn meditation, I was called to learn meditation, just out of an interest in it. And I never really particularly thought about teaching. And it wasn't until I spent some time with my teacher one day and we were talking about how I could potentially share this meditation with other people. She said to me, Oh, 'have you ever considered teaching?' And it was like a little light bulb went off in my head and I was like, oh, actually, no. But, but yes, and all of a sudden this, uh, this new path began to unfold for me, uh, of becoming a meditation teacher.

And it wasn't necessarily because I sat down one day and went, right, I'm, I'm going to go and become a meditation teacher, but I followed this charm or this call towards meditation. And eventually it became something more than what I had originally expected from it. But you've also got to listen to those little voices when you're following a calling. You've got to listen to those moments when the light bulb goes off in your mind about something. Um, I think we do have the tendency sometimes to ignore those things when they seem like they're out of the ordinary for us.

I wasn't thinking at all about becoming a meditation teacher, but when the thing went off in my mind I listened to that. I listened to the fact that it had called me and I followed. So, yeah, I wonder, do you have any little things that have been calling to you? Have you had any moments where there's been a thread that you thought you might like to pull? Have you pulled the thread or have you kind of dismissed it and gone, 'you know, maybe that's not for me, that's not within the scope of what I'm doing at the moment.'

The other thing I'd like to talk about in terms of discovering a calling as I really don't think that there is a single calling for each of us. I think there's calling. Callings are things that can call to us from all over the place. They can be work related, they can be life related, they can be love related, they can be all kinds of things and there's not just one calling for all of us. There might be a big one, there might be a big thing that's really pulling you towards it. But there can also be lots of little callings as well. I think when we put pressure on any one thing to be our be all and end or we can get ourselves in a bit of a spot. You never know when at any one time in your life something might not be right anymore. So I think if we really put too much emphasis on the one thing and that's it then if something happens to that one thing, then it means that we find it a lot harder to reinvent and find something new.

Great examples of this is say an athlete who has really followed their athletic passions in their athletic calling with everything they have for their life and really kind of built up their identity or something around that. And then they get injured and they can no longer pursue that athletic calling. So what does that mean? If all their eggs have been in that athletic basket, if they haven't followed some of those other threads in their life in a certain area? But I think we should never do that at the exclusion of everything else. And particularly not at the exclusion of those other little charms that come our way.

It's like kind of Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her book Big Magic. It's like ideas that come in. If you don't kind of grab onto one of those ideas and take it forward. The idea is going to go and find someone else. Those little aspects of charm and calling. I think if you don't nurture those little charms, then, then they're going to fade away in some way. Great example of this from my own life is I used to do a lot of musical theatre and I used to love singing and being on stage and I've, I've let that calling go. That was definitely a calling of mine in the past. And just by not nurturing it, it's, it's kind of gotten really quiet and while every now and then it might pop back into my life in a little way. It's definitely not a as big a part of my life as it once used to be. And that's okay. But it's just an example of how these, these callings can, uh, can be more prominent. They can be nurtured and they can be grown and built or if we don't listen to them and we kind of let them fade away, they can become quiet and sometimes kind of drop out of our lives.

So if you want to discover your calling or a callings, follow your curiosity, follow charm, follow that little voice. And when you find a thread to follow, nurture it and really build on it and see where it leads you. And of course, don't be afraid to change direction if you find that that thread is actually leading you somewhere else.