by Tama Kieves
How do you find your calling or live the life you most desire?
I’ve spoken everywhere on this topic. I don’t hand out a black binder of bullet point answers, those 8 “easy” guaranteed-to-make-you-money-steps. I’m not big on power point presentations. I prefer lightning bolts. You’ve had enough of false guarantees and disappointing promises. I want to introduce you to the one promise that will never fail: your own.
You don’t need “the steps,” when you’re moved. I want you to experience your own certainty, a power that will storm through any limitation.
We are living in inspired times. The job market and economy has changed and it no longer works to rely as heavily on external security. Still, there is a path of deep security. It’s your calling. You were born to excel in your gifts. It’s not going to feel secure anymore to deny your inborn desires, love, and quest for true expression. If you have a peacock inside you, you won’t be able to feed with the finches for long.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to find your calling or live it. You brain will never know. But your instincts know nothing else.
It’s not about “knowing how” that matters. It’s about being willing to discover what you cannot imagine. You will always be safer following what you love– than denying it.
How do you find your calling? It’s not like looking for your keys. It’s not like checking a box off on an assessment test. And then here’s the rub for all of us over-achieving type A’s:
It’s not about doing.
It’s about undoing all the beliefs that stand in your way.
You already possess a destiny that’s better than anything you will read in a text book. You already have the hard-wiring to flourish. Yet, like most of us who have been conditioned to succeed in conventional, if not fulfilling ways, you have beliefs that block your raw potential and prowess.
Many of you know my story. I was an honors graduate from Harvard Law School, who practiced law until I walked out of everything to find my calling. I’ve now written best-selling books on the topic and have become a national career and success coach. And here’s what I focus on when I coach. I don’t help you change your career. I help you change your thinking. I shred assumptions. I bow to intuition and the direction of your Higher Self, the ever-present bread crumbs on your trail, and your courageous, life-altering baby steps. The rest is birth, destiny, and alchemy. It’s freaking cool and it serves our planet.
So I want to offer you these 7 shifts of thinking, because you may just be blocking yourself from the greatest life you’ve ever known. And I’d hate to have that happen on my watch.
1) Clarity is A Rarity
You do not have to know what your calling is before you start taking steps toward it. Follow what you want right now, even if it’s a nap, a date with your soccer ball, or a cranberry scone. This is a path of learning how to trust yourself, follow what gleams, and ignore your assumptions and judgments. Action provides information. I rarely know what I want to write before I start writing. But when I start writing– on the good days– and not all days are winners— the fog begins to lift, and I feel interest and pull in certain directions.
Application leads to inspiration. If you wait for clarity, you may be hanging out in your own driveway for a long time. Start meandering down the back country road of listening to your inner voice. Let the birch trees and blue jays offer you data that’s more vital to you than any pie chart. Moment by moment, you will find momentum.
2) There’s No Way this Could Make Money
Think again you precious, arrogant sweet pea! If you study the wealthiest people in the world, they did not limp and cower in careers they “tolerated” or despised. They pulled the trigger, pursued a wild hair, a hunger, a sparkle in the periphery, or a mysterious demand from within. Steve Jobs didn’t do what made “common sense.” He followed the uncommon path of listening to his instincts — and commandeered uncommon success.
Inspiration increases your energy, stamina and genius. It makes you someone who interesting people want to know. Dynamos slip you their business cards, addresses, and opportunities when before they avoided your tired face and stories. And one fragile, small desire can spontaneously erupt into twenty new desires or directions that lead to conviction, homecoming, opportunity, power and financial freedom. On an inspired path, where you start out, is not where you end up. So poke around. Do not clamp down on an idea as the ultimate end goal. If you Google the average salary of the activity of your entry point, the Universe will swat your wrist in the astral planes and send you back on the first bus to Square One. It’s not a pleasant bus ride.
Keep this in mind, too. Joy changes your brain chemistry and neuropathways. Excitement and creativity open you to other income earning potential and possibilities of abundance. You may even fall in love with your day job, while you nurture and build your dream empire on the side. It’s happened. I’ve seen it. It’s quite amusing.
3) You Don’t Need to Choose One Thing. Just Choose One Moment.—Ahhh.
Take a deep breath you who love water color painting, French cooking, helping foreigners and the study of nutrition, politics, car racing, micro-financing, and the mating habits of reptiles and raccoons. Okay, so you’re varied. You’re curious and layered. Don’t think you need to weave everything together into some grand master plan.
Follow the passion that has heat right now, and it will lead you to your instinctive center, the truth of all things. From the “truth of all things,” you will know, well, the truth of you. You’ll experience peace of mind, and then you’ll receive a next step.
You may also discover the wonder of “multiple income streams,” making money from different interests that in and of themselves don’t provide enough income, but together add up to pay for one fine and happy life. Or you may just meet the love of your life by taking a class in pottery. All you need to do, is pay attention to what you want to do in this moment, not what you want to do for the rest of your life and not everything you want to do in the whole of your lifetime.
4) There’s A Glut of What I Want to Strut
Do you ever secretly wonder, really, who needs my parrot-shaped lemongrass infused decorator soaps? My hip-hop yoga-dancing choreography or alternative conflict resolution seminars? Who needs another bad childhood-turned-great lesson-memoir or self-help book?
Well, lucky for you, the world is starving for talent, and your assignment on this earth. There are so many disconnected, unhappy people. Not everyone has received the help, joy, or answers they need. Your gifts are not for you. There is a sacred reservoir of original genius within you that is meant to help others. You will never even know how talented you are, until you start doing the work you are meant to do. You will have your people. There are those who are waiting for your gifts right now. If you are motivated by love, there will always be someone who needs your expression of the light. You are the conduit, not the head of the selection committee.
5) You Can’t Fail When You’ve Already Won
I so feared giving up a financially “sexy” career as an attorney to pursue the wonder and wanderlust of a writing life. I feared being a dismal failure. But I finally realized that as much as I feared failure, I feared regret more. I knew I had to give myself the chance to see where writing could go. In my book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! I define “unstoppable” as being willing to experience challenges, but to never stop yourself in this lifetime. In my coaching practice, coaching business leaders, career-transition-ers, and artists, the only ones who ever “failed,” were those who had stopped believing in the power of their desires.
This is a path of giving yourself a thousand chances. It’s an inspired journey of co-creating with the exact circumstances of your life. And I can’t wait for you to discover the real and unstoppable success of knowing within that you are doing the right thing with your time on earth.
6) You Don’t Need a Map. You Need a Fire
You don’t need a calculated strategy as much as you need to trust your Essential Self and heat. You won’t map the territory of wonder with your linear brain. You can’t plan an inspired life. I spent 12 years writing my first book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love, and, following instinct, self-published it. A VP of Random House discovered it, thought it was “the best book she’d read on finding your calling,” and got it published by my dream publisher, Tarcher/Penguin.
I could never have manufactured the timing and perfection of those events. Had I stuck to following conventional strategy, doing it ‘the right way,’ I would have lost enthusiasm. I would have been trying to jump through hoops instead of jumping into the game before me—reaching the people I was meant to reach. There is a plan for you. But you can’t plan it.
You Are Worth a Lifetime of Radical Joy
Wanting to feel great is not selfish, even if others are willing to suffer. Your desire for an extraordinary life is a healthy expression. It’s a moral imperative to honor the song of your soul.
I receive emails thanking me for the work that I love to do. Just because you’re having fun, doesn’t mean you’re not accomplishing something. What you might consider reckless joy, the universe considers service. Don’t play small. The world needs what you have to give. And on top of that, there are those (perhaps your children?) who need your example of joy.
Grab this life. You ache for your grace for a reason.
Tama Kieves, a leading career success coach who has been featured on Oprah radio, is the best-selling author of This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love and also Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!, No. 1 on Amazon.com for career guides. Her latest book is A Year Without Fear: 365 Days of Magnificence. www.TamaKieves.com