8 Myths About Finding Your Calling
Lissa Rankin, M.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of "Mind Over Medicine," "The Fear Cure," and "The Anatomy of a Calling." She is a physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and mystic. Lissa has starred in two National Public Television specials and also leads workshops, both online and at retreat centers like Esalen and Kripalu
More now than ever before, we are entering a time when people realize that it’s ultimately not fulfilling to just find a stable job, hunker down, serve a company that doesn’t feed their soul and delay gratification until they can retire.
Many people are finding that something even more important is beckoning them — a way to do soul-uplifting work that serves others and benefits our planet.
More than anyone I know, my beloved friend Scott Dinsmore believed in fulfilling such passions. In addition to starting Live Your Legend, he also gave a TEDx talk on how to find and do work you love that reached over 3 million people. Unfortunately, Scott passed away this September in a tragic climbing accident on Mt. Kilimanjaro, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of all who knew him. In light of his passing, we can’t help but ask ourselves if we are truly living our legends right now.
When I'd listen to Scott talk about “living your legend,” I’d always be attracted to the notion of a “calling.” A calling is a call from the soul that guides you to create a more beautiful world in your own exquisitely unique way. It's a deep yearning to serve a Divine purpose.
So what does it even mean to find and fulfill your calling? There seems to be misguided mythology around life's purpose, and a lot of it is total hogwash. Busting these eight myths about calling and purpose will help you discover what you're supposed to be doing on a higher level.
A calling is a call from the soul that guides you to create a more beautiful world.
Myth #1: Callings come with business plans.
I could never have written a business plan for the shocking and unexpected ways in which I’ve been called to serve on this planet, and most people I know who are living smack dab in the center of their purpose couldn’t either. All you can do is muster up the moxie to say “YES” when a breadcrumb shows up, even though you may have no idea where it's leading you.
Myth #2: You only get one calling.
Sometimes you’re called to one act of service, but that calling may have an expiration date. You do what need to do to complete it, and then you’re called to do something else. You may even be called to more than one act of service simultaneously. This doesn’t mean you’re flaky; It just means you’re multi-passionate and your services are needed in seemingly disparate arenas of your genius.
Myth #3: Only "chosen people" have callings.
Callings are not a luxury reserved for divinely-appointed extraordinary people. Every single one of us is called to play our instrument of divinity in the cosmic orchestra, in our own unique way.
Myth #4: Callings must come with paychecks.
Someone could be called upon to be a stay-at-home mom. Someone else might be called on to do volunteer food distribution work at a refugee camp in Africa. You don’t have to get paid for your calling, though people who fulfill their calling tend to find that money is a natural byproduct of contributing their gifts towards something that lights up their soul.
Some callings may seem humble, but they're equally significant to raising the vibration of the planet.
Myth #5: If you’re following your calling, life is easy all the time.
Finding and fulfilling your calling is a hero’s journey. You’re going to get the call and refuse to answer it for a while. Then when you’re finally brave enough to say yes, you’ll embark upon a bumpy road full of obstacles. You'll have your conviction and commitment tested, and meet both allies who lift you up and enemies who push you down. Finding and fulfilling your calling may not be easy, but it’s likely to be the most deeply nourishing, rewarding experience you’ll ever have in this human life.
Myth #6: Finding your calling means you have to quit your stable job.
Sometimes finding your calling requires you to take a leap of faith and quit the job that isn’t your calling. But callings aren’t all or nothing ordeals. There’s no reason you can’t pay the bills with a stable job that doesn’t necessarily light your fire while fulfilling your calling on the side. You may even be able to find a way to turn your current job into a calling.
Myth #7: You must have a breakdown to find your calling.
For many, myself included, a breakdown precedes a breakthrough. I had to go through what I came to call my “Perfect Storm” before I found my true calling as a writer and artist. But you don’t have to wait for things to fall apart in order to say yes to that which is calling you. People often ask me, “How do you know when it’s time to take a leap of faith?” I answer, “When the pain of staying put exceeds your fear of the unknown, you leap.”
Myth #8: Callings have to be grand.
You don’t have to get up on stage, write a book or start a nonprofit organization in order to find and fulfill a calling. Some callings may seem humble, but they're equally significant to raising the vibration of the planet. Your calling may ask you to quit your stable job to stay home and take care of your sick grandmother. You may be asked to raise conscious children. You might be the janitor who hugs everyone in the office and spreads a virus of love through a culture of greed. You might be the woman who walks the beach every night and picks up trash. Every small act of love for another human, animal, plant or aspect of nature contributes to the revolution of love that will help us heal globally.
If you need support on your hero’s journey, you can preorder my book, The Anatomy of a Calling. Just know that you are not alone as you venture into this scary territory of that which you are called to do. Blessings on your journey!