It’s Thursday, so I’m Crafting my Life! If you’d like to craft your life, too, and find a greater sense of purpose, subscribe to my mail list. You’ll be eligible for advance discount registration for the Crafting my Life Online Class, which is happening NOW. Spend 12 weeks doing something for yourself!
Does Everyone Have a Calling?
Last June I gave a talk, examining whether or not everyone has a calling – or mission – in life. At the time, I said this:
I’m feeling some pressure now to figure out what my calling is. But the truth is that if I have a calling, I’m not sure I’ve found it yet.
I also said this:
Whether you feel that you have a specific task to fulfill in this life or not, and no matter your personal beliefs, by pursuing justice, love and compassion, both for yourself and the world at large, you can find purpose and meaning. And out of that sense of purpose you may just find your passion – and dare I say it? – your calling. Maybe not all at once in a blinding flash of insight, but gradually, and without even noticing.
As I go look back on what I’ve done and where I’ve been, a pattern of strengths and weaknesses, passions and life lessons, relationships and opportunities, starts to emerge. It doesn’t necessarily provide that blinding flash of insight, but it can show me purpose and meaning that I didn’t know was there as I lived it.
Uncovering my Mission
This weekend, I had a moment of realization about what my mission in life really is. I do lots of things that I enjoy, but I’ve always separated them in my mind. Crafting my Life, with its online class an playbook, is in one slot. VancouverMom.ca, where I’m connecting local moms to their city and the great things it contains, is in another slot. Strocel.com, where I share my musings and build community, is in another still. There are slots for my volunteer work, my book dream, and the time I spend doing nothing in particular.
When I take all of those separate things out of their slots and line them up, though, a pattern starts to emerge. And what I see is that I have a strong desire to help other moms live happier, more fulfilled lives. That’s what I’m pretty much always doing. More than that, it’s what resonates with me most deeply. It’s my soul work. Whether I make money at it or not, whether anyone else knows what I’m doing or not, I feel like if I can make just one mom’s life a little bit easier because I was there at the right moment, I’ve fulfilled my mission.
I spent years searching for my mission in life, and not finding it. I suspect that I was looking in the wrong place all along. I was waiting for a big, blinding flash of insight, that would cause the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. I thought it would be something entirely new, that I just somehow hadn’t considered before, but that suddenly seemed so perfectly right. But maybe that’s not how it works at all.
Start with What You Know … and be Ready to Adapt
Maybe, when you’re searching for your mission in life, you need to start with what you know. Consider all the things you do, and why you do them. Think about the dreams you have – the ones that make you tingle a little – and then ask yourself why you feel that way about them. What is the underlying motivation that you already have? What can that tell you about what you’re meant to do? I think there are more answers there than in sitting around, waiting for inspiration to hit like a bolt from the blue.
For 2012 I chose the word clarity. My recent epiphany about my mission has gotten me off to a great start. I feel like I have a better understanding of what I need to do, and how I need to do it. When projects come my way, I can consider how they fit into my mission, and make better decisions. Of course, not everything that I do will involve making mom’s lives happier and more fulfilled. Sometimes you just have to scrub a toilet. But I feel like knowing what my mission is helps me live with greater clarity.
I’m not sure if my mission will always be the same. Maybe not. Maybe that’s another misconception about missions. We don’t all have just one that lasts forever. The challenge, therefore, isn’t to figure out that single thing you were meant to do in life. It’s to uncover what’s driving you, and what resonates with you, right now. Then set about doing it. When you’re finished, then you can move on to the next thing, and the one after that, knowing you fulfilled your mission.
I wonder what you think. Do you think that everyone has a mission in life, whether they know it or not? Do you feel like you know what your mission is? And do you think that someone’s mission can change as they change? I’d love to hear your thoughts!