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Trying to find your calling? These 16 tips will get you started

June 15, 2022 - 14 min read

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What is a calling?

How to find your calling

How to find your calling in your career — or not

What to do when you’ve found your calling

How to find your calling as a senior

It’s never too late

“I don’t know how to find my calling.” From celebrities to your friends and family, anyone that wants to find their calling has to start by admitting that they don’t have the know-how. 

If you ask your community about their callings, some might enthusiastically say they’ve found theirs. Others might not be sure. “What’s my calling?” is the type of question that can make people evaluate where they are in life. 

Maybe you’re also asking, “What is a calling? How do I learn how to find my calling?”

Here’s the good news: finding your calling is not a race. Your best friend might have known that they wanted to be a writer since high school, but it isn’t always that simple. If you put in the effort, you’ll find your calling in your own time.

That’s why we’re here to offer a more thorough understanding of what your calling is, how to find your calling, and what to do once you’ve found it.

What is a calling?

Your life’s calling is what makes you feel that life is meaningful. It helps you live a purposeful life. Callings look different for everybody. Some people, for example, want to help others as part of their calling. They strive to positively impact other people’s lives. 

Others feel called to spend their lives on their passions, like dedicated athletes that spend hours and hours training. Being the best at their sport is a part of what makes their life meaningful.

Whatever your calling is, it uses your skills and talents and aligns with your values. Our callings help us express ourselves and give us a sense of purpose. They’re things that let you live authentically.

Finding your calling also makes it more likely that you'll do work that lets you enter a flow state. A flow state is where you focus so intently you barely notice the time passing — it makes work less effortful and it's good for our well-being, too. Instead of procrastinating or languishing, this intense focus helps you feel satisfaction and live in the present moment.

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How to find your calling

Your calling probably won’t fall into your lap. Luckily, we have plenty of ideas to help you find your calling.

Here are 16 tips to help you when you’re thinking, “I don’t know how to find my calling:” 

  1. Listen to your internal compass
  2. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone
  3. Pay attention to your body and how you feel when trying new things
  4. Try learning new things on your own
  5. Take note of your dreams and things that seem like coincidences
  6. Express yourself however feels right
  7. Reflect on the things you loved as a kid
  8. Prioritize wellness in your life
  9. Limit distractions 
  10. Unplug from social media
  11. Journal to record your thoughts and notice patterns
  12. Spend time outdoors
  13. Follow your values
  14. Think about your transferrable skills
  15. Be patient and understand it’s a journey
  16. Listen to the thoughts or advice of others if they see your calling before you do

Find someone who will support you every step of the way. At BetterUp, we can help you create an action plan to find and pursue your calling.

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How to find your calling in your career — or not

Work can be just that: work. But for some people, their career is their calling. You might find your calling by taking career aptitude tests or job searches.

In some careers, people can integrate their calling into their work. They can do it full-time and feel a sense of purpose within their jobs, like becoming a teacher about a subject you’re passionate about. It’s easy to know how to find your calling if you’re in love with your job.

However, your career and calling don’t always line up. You might have a fulfilling career in software development but find your calling might be volunteering in your community to directly impact your neighbor’s lives. 

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And, although there’s a way to marry your career and your calling, it isn’t necessary. For some, it isn’t a good idea. Our work values influence our career paths and they could differ from our personal values or life purpose. Trust your intuition if it’s telling you to keep your work and personal life separate.

Remember, if your current career doesn’t double as your calling, it doesn’t mean you aren’t doing enough to find what drives you. You might just need to look outside the office.

What to do when you’ve found your calling

All your effort towards finding your calling will pay off. The time and energy you’ve put in, not to mention the ups and downs, will all be worth it. 

But when you find your life calling, what do you do with it?

First, take a moment to breathe. Here are six things you can do once you’ve found your calling:

  1. Have courage: You’ve just discovered something that could shake up your life. Rather than feel intimidated, take this new piece of knowledge and be brave as you move forward.
  2. Listen to the advice of others — to a point: While some people might be thrilled for you, others might try to talk you out of your next steps. Be a good listener and hear their perspectives, but make the best moves for you.
  3. Stick to it: If you face hardship during your career transition, keep a growth mindset. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.
  4. Don’t feel rushed: Discovering your life’s calling today doesn’t mean you have to act on it tomorrow. Take your time developing the strength or resources you need to follow your dreams. If you need more education to switch industries, that might mean financially preparing to go back to school. That’s okay — your calling isn’t going anywhere.
  5. Be proud of yourself: Don’t forget about all the hard work you’ve put into this. Not everyone bothers learning how to find their true calling, so don’t hesitate to acknowledge your efforts.
  6. Let this guide you: If you already had a clear idea of your purpose, it’s probably dictated a lot of your life decisions. Knowing that you have a passion for fitness might mean that you have a fulfilling career as a personal trainer and friends who like climbing mountains.
    But discovering your calling later in life might mean that you don’t see it represented in your life — yet. Luckily, you have your whole life to meet like-minded people and explore interests related to your newfound life purpose.

woman-listening-to-colleague-how-to-find-my-calling

How to find your calling as a senior

At a certain age, some people don’t see the point of finding their true calling. Some even give up. But there’s no age when we should start or stop looking for our calling. 

Career changes are stressful at any age, but you might have a spouse or children relying on you. That means that your strategies might look a little different if you’re older, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work.

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Here are eight tips for seniors for how they can find their calling in life:

  1. Stay curious about life
  2. Continue to find ways to express your creativity
  3. Be open-minded and get outside of your comfort zone
  4. Look for ways to contribute to your community
  5. Try new things either by yourself or with others to support you
  6. Listen to podcasts, read books, or watch documentaries to keep learning
  7. Socialize with others and listen to their stories
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It’s never too late

You might not have known how to find your calling or why it matters before today. The important thing is that you take the first step — it’s never too late to start your journey towards your life calling. 

It could be a tricky road full of challenges and obstacles that make you think you should give up. Knowing more about who you are will help on this journey. Make sure that you practice self-compassion, and your sustained effort will bring you where you need to be. 

Sometimes we lose motivation and momentum, so we need someone to hold us accountable. BetterUp can provide the accountability you need to keep working at your goals and never lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve.

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Published June 15, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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