One will tick all the right boxes and hopefully create some successes, while the other will fuel your passion, inspire your heart and ultimately gift you with inner peace amongst the constant chaos of life.
It seems like an obvious choice, right?
Well sadly it isn’t. Far more people spend their precious time on earth chasing recognition and material success through their work, then those who feed their soul by owning their truth and living out their calling.
So are you in a career or a calling?
Both refer to your professional path or work but a career is external, it is what you do for a living. A calling is your ‘come from’ place, the inner intention you hold for your work and the way in which you show up to it.
A career uses your expertise, skills and experience to meet the world where it is. Your power to influence and shape your path is external based on your education, social status and the right professional opportunities (along with the right contacts).
Careers are largely self-determined, chosen from a limited number of professional paths based on cultural & societal values, status and educational competency and often have little to do with who you are as a person or your inherent gifts.
Along the career path there are always invisible ceilings because your potential to succeed is at the mercy of outside forces such as the market, timing and how well you compete against others. A career is often another place where playing small is the norm.
With a calling, you use your unique gifts to contribute in a meaningful way and meet the world at its best. It is when your work is an expression of your essence and speaks volumes about what you value in life. Power is sourced internally and is unlimited, accessed through your intuition from a higher wisdom.
A calling is not self-determined rather it is received. It is the map for how your unique combination of strengths, values and virtues will best create, serve and contribute to this world. A career is seemingly in your control, a calling is something you surrender into.
Along the path of a calling meeting a ceiling is a signal that you are ready to evolve and expand your offering. This could be inside a business or within your own creative project or enterprise. Your strengths guide your path so you have full power to shape your direction and growth on your own terms at your own pace.
So are you in a career or a calling or somewhere in between?
Start with these three essential questions.
1. Do you love what you do?
2. Are you fully expressed through your work?
3. Does your work serve the best version of humanity?
If you answered YES to all three, then I offer you the deepest of acknowledgements for your courage and commitment. You have done both. You have found your calling and are living it out. So stop here this article is not for you.
If, like me, you answered YES to 1 or 2, you have owned your calling but are not yet fully expressed through it. You love what you do but there is room to grow by being more powerful and present to your work and taking action to expand your offering.
For the majority, however, whether we work for someone else or are doing our own thing, none of the above apply. Take yourself for example. You may be highly skilled, even an expert who generates great results but deep down you know work is not feeding your own expansion. You are outwardly successful and inwardly despondent.
That is why these questions are so important. They highlight the core requirements of a calling and why so few of us have chosen this path.
The first being PASSION, which is really love in motion. It is from passion that we are fueled to create and contribute to life and it is our creations and contributions that fuel our passion. So it is easy to see that without passion for your work or at least a love for aspects of what you do, it is impossible to stay energised by it.
Passion is often the first thing to be suppressed in a career path. It is a natural consequence of answering to the world outside rather than listening to your own creativity. We thrive when experience our own power in action, so work only feeds your soul when you are having a deeply passionate ‘love affair’ with it .
The second refers to benefit, what do you gain by answering the call. Why bother using your precious time and energy to serve the world, when you could be out there accumulating wealth and enjoying a great lifestyle. Isn’t working hard to take care of your needs, desires, family and enjoy some free time enough?
Sounds feasible on paper but in practice the evidence doesn’t support it. You only have to look at current statistics on work related depression and the overall state of the world to know that constant progress and material comfort doesn’t fulfill. External successes temporarily satisfy the craving but sooner or later the need for more resurfaces.
This why your own expansion & self expression is as essential to success as your outcomes.
Being expressed through work is taking your uniqueness (the combination of your gifts & archetypes) and expressing it through everything you do. This generates sustainable fulfillment. The more expressed you are, the greater alignment you experience and with this comes greater personal power, abundance and ease.
A calling is a purposeful livelihood that expresses your talents, offers expansion and brings out your best self.
The third is important because it remains a hidden requirement. Your work only provides a lifetime of fulfilment when it serves the best version of humanity. This does not mean you work for a charity or as an activist saving the world. It means there is a core foundation of integrity in what you create, provide or contribute towards. That everyone benefits, not just a few and the expense of the less fortunate or well-placed.
So why is this third component so important? Because the collective human soul depends on integrity for its well-being. Our integrity is our truth. It is what keeps us on the right path and helps us to view the bigger picture of humanity as well as our own part within it. Without integrity we become a servant to the craving for more at the expense of our own well-being.
The invitation of a calling is to stay true to yourself through your work. It allows you to honour this truth by using your gifts to expand the best in our world. There is no greater life than that, to be in complete alignment with the person you were born to be.
But the best part about a calling is that it makes work a powerful source of passion, inspiration, play and best of all creative expansion.