This week, we will continue to explore callings. Being called to coach and serve the excellence in others is just one type of calling. There are so many ways we can be called to something! I’ve found that callings are like lanterns that light the path to a pretty profound life when we follow them.
Today, I’m sharing my personal reflections on callings to give you some food for thought on what is calling you and how to trust what calls.
Last month, my husband and I went to Pennsylvania to spend some time with family. One day during the trip, we felt called to explore the surrounding forest. The picture below is of an amazing mushroom patch we found by daring to go off the beaten path. What can you discover by following what calls to you today?
A Life Reflection on Callings
by: Laurel Elders
A beloved mentor of mine, Sandy Hogan, who passed away a few years prior, used to say, "When your calling calls, don't hang up." I reflected on her wisdom the other day and realized what she meant.
When I started out as a new mom in my 20s, I knew I needed a career. I felt called to help people eliminate turmoil and create a life they woke up feeling remarkable about. But my logical side kicked in and said I should pursue a degree, like business or management, that had a good ROI.
I enrolled in a degree path in Organizational Psychology as a compromise. Halfway through my degree, I happened across a "Coaching Certification." I joined the program, thinking I was learning counseling skills, and fell head over heels in love with coaching from day one. This was it. I had found what was calling. I knew it in my heart - at a soul level. I changed my career path then and there.
What I learned along the journey, as I followed what was calling, turned out to be rather healing to my entire life.
I began learning about the heart, the head, and the human spirit in my integrational coaching studies and mentorship with Sandy.
I realized I felt called to help others because I had struggled emotionally for years. I lived with so much fear covering up my heart. It was draining and paralyzing. It was clear during those years that I had no idea how to steer through life well. I only knew that I wanted to be of service to others, but I had no clue yet how to be of service to myself.
The deeper I got into my studies and mentorship, the clearer the callings became. Dispelling the fears upon my heart, began giving my life a brand-new start.
I remember the day I decided to listen to my heart. The heart I knew was fear-laden, burdened, and backward (I based my life mainly on the past). I learned that fear is like sludge. Fear doesn't change our hearts, but it clouds wisdom and buries our potential from shining through.
If I was to succeed at following my calling, I had to decide to see what my heart had to say for once. I decided to be true to what was calling me. I decided to trust something I couldn't see or rationalize for once - a task utterly foreign to a natural-born skeptic who lived in her head. I decided to trust my heart.
Some people know their calling from the start. Jane Goodall, a renowned anthropologist, shared, "When I was ten years old, I had a dream. 'I will go to Africa, I will live with wild animals, and I will write books about them.' Everyone laughed at me." She went on, "But my mother, she said, "If you really want to do this, you are going to have to work awfully hard, but don't give up."
Jane had faith in her calling from the get-go. Amazing!
I've been a coach now since 2005 and learned so much about inner-workings. I've learned that not all callings are professional. An inner calling may be as simple as smiling at a stranger who appears to be struggling, giving a drive-by hug to a hurting friend, or volunteering at a charity bake sale. Or callings can be bigger-picture, like art, photography, writing, being a firefighter, or teaching.
I've come to believe that people don't follow inner-callings because they don't always make sense logically – It isn’t until after a leap of faith is taken that it all clicks. In my 45 years of life, I've learned that it doesn't matter how little or big a calling is. That calling serves us all. Callings reflect a bigger truth about our life back to us. Living in truth is a spiritual journey.
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By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty