by Angela Loëb
I’ve been skimming through a book called Callings: Finding and following an authentic Life by Gregg Levoy. It’s about vocational callings. The dictionary definition says that a vocation is “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.” Being “called,” as Levoy puts it, is to be summoned away from your daily grind into “a new level of awareness.”
The work that I do with people in exploring and finding their own vocational callings is actually centered on remembrance. Remembering forgotten dreams, remembering inborn gifts taken for granted.
Levoy seems to agree as he uses the following brief anecdote by Howard Ikemoto to illustrate the point:
“When my daughter was seven years old,” says artist Howard Ikemoto, “she asked me what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college, that my job was o teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?’”
Of course, it’s one thing to hear a calling. It’s quite another to act on a calling. Levoy mentions that too: “Unfortunately, we often simply tune out the longings we feel, rather than confront and act on them. Perhaps we do not really forget our calls but we fear what they might demand of us in pursuing them. Anticipating the conniptions of change blocks us from acknowledging that we do know, and always have known, what our calls are.”
This reminds me of the Joseph Campbell’s famous words of wisdom: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
I had to do what Campbell advised when I made my transition into becoming a full time career development professional in ’08. Back then I realized that I had to let go of my original plan. You see, I thought I was going to be a recruiter for at least 3 more years. Man, was I wrong!
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit afraid while also feeling the excitement of moving forward with my dream. I was concerned about changing, yes, but I was also fearful about falling flat on my face. But here’s the thing. Something almost magical happens when you become crystal clear and focused on what you want.
In my case, I knew I wanted to become a speaker and writer, and I knew I wanted to leverage my knowledge from so many years spent in the field of career services. Doing full time career development work as a coach and consultant was the next logical step. As soon as I gained clarity about what I wanted, put a plan into motion to move closer toward my goal and started talking about it to other people, my life shifted big time. It’s as though the Universe seemed to say, “Why wait? Let’s get on with it now!” And, bam! – here I am doing what I intended.
To act on true callings requires courage and faith in yourself. Courage, because, in spite of the fear, you’re going to act anyway. Faith, because you realize that you have carried yourself this far (which at one time was a new direction for you, by the way) and that you can carry yourself into the new direction just as capably.
And, actually, I’ll go so far as to assure you that acting on a true calling will prove that you are more than merely “capable.” Acting on a true calling will make you wildly successful in manifesting your intention… because acting on a true calling allows you to align yourself better for the next leg of your journey – it allows you to bring who you are to what you do. Infusing who you are into what you do is to ignite and then harness the topmost form of creative energy there is and will inevitably bring forth the abundance you are meant to possess.
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© 2011, Angela Loëb