8 Exercises To Unlock Your Calling

Physician and New York Times bestselling author By Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Physician and New York Times bestselling author
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.
8 Exercises To Unlock Your Calling

When I talk about finding and fulfilling your calling, it tends to trigger feelings of uneasiness among those who feel they have not yet unlocked their life purpose. But your calling doesn’t have to be grand. It’s enough to just serve love in the world — in big or small ways. Your love matters, and there are simple ways you can offer it every day.

But what if you feel out of touch with the unique ways you might offer your love in the world? What if you’re struggling with a crisis of imagination and you’re having trouble envisioning a calling that feels resonant with your soul?

Here are a few practical exercises to help you get on track.

Your love matters, and there are simple ways you can offer it every day.


1. Intuitively answer a series of questions.

Jot down the answers quickly, without editing yourself.

  • I feel inspired when …
  • My soul came here to …
  • I can help people who …
  • I lose track of time when I …
  • I feel alive when …
  • I was born at this time to …
  • I experience ease when I …
  • When I was a child, I loved to …
  • If I knew I could not fail, I would …
  • Even if I knew I might fail, it would still be worth doing …

2. Visualize your future self.

When I work one-on-one with my mentoring clients, I often lead them through a “Future Self Meditation,” so they can unlock the unconscious and tune into that which wants to be born through them. Download the free guided meditation I recorded in the Fulfill Your Calling Kit here to try it for yourself.

3. Identify how you have been to hell and back.

When Martha Beck, Amy Ahlers, and I taught the Find Your Calling teleclass program, we invited people to ask the question, “How have I been to hell and back, and how might I serve those who are still in hell?” Try journaling your answer to that question.

For example, maybe you’ve survived cancer and your calling revolves around helping people who are newly diagnosed. Maybe you survived sexual abuse, and you feel called to help others heal. Maybe, like me, you are a physician who experienced PTSD as part of your medical training, and now, having healed from the trauma, you are committed to serving physicians like I am in the Whole Health Medicine Institute. The ways in which we have been to hell and back are often guideposts pointing us toward how we might best serve love in the world.


4. Write your last lecture.

Imagine you are dying and standing at the lectern for your last lecture in front of thousands of people waiting to hear the wisdom you have attained in this life. What will you say? Why were you here? What did you contribute? How did you serve love in the world? What have you learned? What legacy do you wish to leave? How do you want people to be affected from your last moments onstage? Write the script for your speech.

5. Ask: How do you want to feel?

In The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte invites you to make a list of three to five words that describe not so much what you want to do but how you want to feel. Does your soul yearn to feel powerful? Connected? Influential? Fulfilled? Feminine? Generous? Don’t judge your feelings. Just give yourself permission to desire the feelings you desire.

Try reverse-engineering your core desired feelings. What big or small actions might help you feel this way? Your life purpose is likely connected to these core feelings and actions.


6. Pay attention to signs from the Universe.

Sometimes we are not guided where we want to go but where our love is needed. This guidance may come in obvious or subtle ways. Not sure how to tune into this kind of spiritual guidance? Here are 30 practical tips to help you.

7. Seek guidance from those who know you.

Ask these questions to the people who know you best so they can help you identify your gifts. Or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, ask these questions on Facebook!

What am I better at than most people?

What do you think lifts me up?

In what ways do you trust me to help you?

What do you think my calling might be?

Others often have a perspective we may not see ourselves, and they can help us home in on the ways in which our love and passion can have an impact on the world.


8. Surrender your calling to the Divine.

Think you have to figure out your calling cognitively? Think again. Try surrendering your desire to find and fulfill your calling to the Universe. Ask for clear guidance. Ask to be shown how your love will best serve the world. Be equally willing to be guided through closed doors as through synchronicity and flow. If you have an inkling that you might be meant to serve a particular calling, try this prayer: “If this is aligned with the highest good for all beings, help me. If not, stop me.”

Let go of attachment to outcomes and stay open to whatever guidance appears to lead you to your calling.

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