I thought I found my calling back when I was seven, when a chimney sweep found a nest of hairless, newborn baby squirrels whom I vowed to nurse back to health. Those squirrels were just the first of dozens of baby squirrels I raised over the next fifteen years, earning me the title of “The Squirrel Girl.” In the moment I saw them, I knew I was supposed to be a healer, and I figured that meant I had to be a doctor or a veterinarian.
Not until years later did I realize how broad the definition of healer really is. I didn’t know it at the time, but the truth is that healers aren’t limited to medical doctors and vets. I now know that they can be acupuncturists, nurse practitioners, herbalists, massage therapists, life coaches, psychologists, energy medicine practitioners, shamans, intuitives, and spiritual counselors, as well. They can also be lawyers, secretaries, schoolteachers, artists, writers, sex therapists, monks, and truck drivers who practice their profession with love, compassion, and a cracked wide-open heart, in service to Source.
In truth, anyone who lives their life in service to others is a healer—including YOU.
Those of you who know my story know the on-again-off-again love affair I have had with medicine, which I always assumed was my calling until I found myself in a medical practice that required me to sell out my integrity every day. I’ve been honing that calling ever since I left my clinical practice five years ago. It’s still evolving.
Callings are like that. You may think you’ve grasped yours, and then suddenly, you find it slipping through your fingers. Callings shift. They transmute. They shape shift. It can be damn confusing and crazy making!
On my own journey, time and time again, I have tried to turn my back on the white coat, assuming I had gotten my calling all wrong. Then each time, when I get really honest with myself, I realize that you can quit your job but you can’t quit your calling. It beckons like a siren song until you finally surrender to it. But it may not look the way you once thought it did. In my case, part of my calling still revolves around medicine, but it’s about transforming and revolutionizing consciousness about health care, rather than seeing patients in a hospital.
Perhaps your calling doesn’t quite look the way you thought too.
Did You Think You Found Your Calling—Only It Wasn’t Quite Right?
Perhaps you thought you had found your calling when you went to law school or nursing school or got your teaching certificate. But then you found yourself dreading going to work, not because you don’t love the essence of what you do but because, like medicine, the system is so freaking broken that you can’t do what you feel you’re here on this earth to do. You feel thwarted, and that leaves you feeling off purpose. If what you thought was your calling isn’t quite it, what is?
These are the questions that fuel dark nights of the soul and leave us jonesing for Valium.
When I’m working with my mentoring clients, I often find that people have a tendency to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If they’re unhappy in their jobs, they’re tempted to ditch the whole thing and start from scratch.
Sometimes, that’s the best thing you can do. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we’re just in the wrong field and need to take a radical leap of faith.
Finding the Thread
But more often than not, we were drawn to our career in the first place because of something that called to us. The trick is to the find the thread that drew you into that job in the first place and cling to that thread like a lifeline. That thread is what you must follow in order to track your purpose like you’re tracking rhinos on an African game preserve, as my shero Martha Beck does. In case you don’t know Martha, Martha Beck is an O Magazine columnist, the original life coach, and the author of Finding Your Own North Star and Finding Your Way In A Wild New World, as well as many other bestselling books like Expecting Adam. Back when I was confused about my life’s purpose four years ago, Finding Your Own North Star was a life preserver I was sure the Universe threw out just for drowning little ol’ me.
As Martha calls it, that thread you’ll find when you examine what drew you to your job in the first place is a “hot track” that will lead you to discover what you’re here on this earth to do and how you’re meant to serve the planet. But it’s not the only one. There are other hot tracks out there, just waiting to point you to your calling, like a compass points to the North Star.
What about you? Do you hear the whispers of a calling? Have you found it already? Is your calling screaming, but you’re hightailing it in the other direction? Tell us what’s calling you. We’re here to listen to the whispers of your heart.
Are You Confused about What’s Calling You? Then I Have Great News for You!
Martha Beck, Amy Ahlers, and I are leading a complimentary teleseminar about how to find your calling. Register for the FREE call here. We’ll be covering how to find the hot tracks to your life’s purpose, how to navigate the road map to your calling, and how to alleviate anxiety and feel peace about your process. We’ll also be challenging you to ask yourself the right questions that will keep you on purpose, while teaching you some tools to help you discover what you’re here on this planet to do. Not to mention that you’ll get to hear Martha’s perfect blend of smarty-pants genius, sage guru wisdom, and stand up comic sass!
*Photo by Mait Jüriado.
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