Many people spend their life seeking their life purpose; trying to find their calling. I say, “Know your gifts and give what you can.” But there’s more.
Wouldn’t you know it? As soon as I made the grand statement in the blog/article Discover Your Strengths that identifying your strengths is an “easy and meaningful way to feel on purpose” it happened! In an issue of O magazine, Oprah Winfrey published a feature called, ‘Everyone Has a Calling’. It leads with “There’s the thing you do for a living—And then there’s the thing you were born to do.” I read with eager curiosity the thoughts of O’s esteemed writers. I agreed with their ideas on how you might find your calling or life purpose. Below I summary those ideas and add some of my own reflections.
In that article by Martha Beck called ‘The Right Track’, she recommends ceasing to think about your career path in a rational manner. Then I smiled when I noticed she provided four logical steps to discover your emotional hot spots or passions. Here they are:
Step 1: Discover your hot tracks.
Beck encourages us to list every activity that absorbs us, that grabs our attention. That certainly sounds similar to my exercise on identifying your strengths!
Step 2: Predict the next track.
Look around your workplace and home for opportunities that foster a happy state of absorption. I recommend that you find places and ways to demonstrate your strengths.
Step 3: Return to the last hot track and repeat step 2.
Beck recommends if one hot spot does not fit, look at a new or different one. I recommend re-looking at your strengths list.
Step 4: Follow your tracks wherever they lead.
Yes, absolutely go where there are opportunities to use your strengths, to be in the zone and have time pass doing what you love.
On the next page, following Beck’s article, was a quiz by Valorie Burton called, ‘What’s Holding You Back?’ In it, Burton identifies three major fears.
- Fear of Failure. Burton suggests setting small and attainable goals. I add, feel the fear and take the next step. It’s called acting courageously.
- Fear of Success. Burton recommends accepting responsibility for your accomplishments by writing a list of the skills and qualities you used to succeed. This is a great way for you to reinforce how your strengths support you.
- Fear of Disapproval. I particularly liked Burton’s comment, “To move forward in your life, you need to start valuing your own approval more than others.”
I add one more barrier to living your purpose, being unconscious or unaware of your gifts, your strengths.
How to Become Aware of Your Strengths
Many of us have not yet identified what our gifts or strengths are. That is exactly why University of Pennsylvania professor, Martin Seligman’s 240 question VIA Survey of Character Strengths inventory is so powerful. Consider taking it at Seligman’s Questionnaire Centre.
If, after you explore these ideas, you remain bewildered about your calling, do not despair. Give searching a rest. In the article, ‘If All Else Fails’, the author of Eat, Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert recommends, “If you’ve lost your life’s true passion, don’t sweat it. Back off for a while.” However, I recommend you do not stay idle for long. Try something different. Your calling or life purpose will call you!
Remember when I am asked, “How do you live on purpose?” I answer, “Know your gifts and give what you can!”
Let me know what you think about these ideas to find your calling, your passion, your purpose, and of course using your strengths. OK?
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.