The majority of people shy away from the BIG questions in life due to fear. Questions like: Who on this planet was I brought here to serve? What life do I actually want for myself? What is my true calling?
People avoid these questions because they’re intimidating and difficult to answer. But seeking the answers is the key to unlocking a more fulfilled and purposeful life.
I want you to stop for a minute and imagine a life where you could work everyday on something that you truly cared about. Imagine actually loving your work because you were meant to do it. And imagine getting paid for that which you loved.
Now I think that’s a life worth fighting for and reason enough to be asking these daunting questions. Don’t you?
Last spring I started to look into these questions myself. I went through a deep internal search to find my own calling. And, while it’s still a work in progress for me, I can assure you I am much closer now than I was six months ago.
Today, I want to share with you a brief brainstorming exercise that you can use to answer these questions for yourself. It’s a simple yet effective exercise I was introduced to by one of my readers, Owen Davis.
He sent me this article from The Muse, which interviews a long-standing career counselor Richard Leider, who gives us an easy equation to answer the question: What is My Calling?
Gifts + Passions + Values = Calling
- Gifts = what are your strengths?
- Passions = what do you really care about?
- Values = what lifestyle and environment best suits you?
Using this equation, I brainstormed lists of these three major categories. For each list I jotted down ANY thought that came to mind, no matter how ridiculous or obscure. I like to start with a wide lens and then narrow it afterwards.
In order to get your brain stirring before you set out to do this on your own, I’ve provided lists below of my initial brainstorm. What you’ll see is that many of the projects I’ve started to embark on have stemmed from the ideas in this very first exercise! (Please excuse the chicken scratch!)
First, here is the list I came up with for my “Gifts”:
Similarly, here is my list of “Passions”:
Finally, while I couldn’t find a written copy of my “Values,” I found a digital copy in my Evernote account:
After writing down these lists you want to analyze them and see where there is overlap and consistency. The ideas that compliment each other will be the ones you want to pursue!
The last picture I’ll share is a list I created once I combined Gifts and Passions (keeping my values in mind):
Also, the “coffee shop network” idea at the bottom of this page has been my other big project over the last six months. To come up with this idea, I combined my skill of connecting people with my passion for coffee shops.
Do you see how it works? What do you think? Can you emulate this exercise?
Now that I’ve revealed my entire brainstorm to you on these pages, I want to flip the exercise onto you. It is VERY simple and EXTREMELY effective.
People often ask, where do I start? How do I come up with an idea? Well! Here’s your answer! Why not put 10 minutes aside tonight to start to zone in on your calling?
By combining your skills with your passions and values you will be able to find what top podcaster John Lee Dumas calls your “Zone of Genius.” In this area you can be unstoppable, because you’ve combined what you’re best at with what you care most about.
So let’s go back to those big scary questions I asked at the beginning of this blog post:
Who on this planet were you brought here to serve? What life do you actually want for yourself? What is your true calling?
At first glance these questions can seem intimidating. But the reward for finding the answers is too great to ignore. A life of purpose and fulfillment is embedded within these answers. And now you have a simple equation to unlock them.
So the new question becomes, are you ready to take action?
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