When “Finding Your Calling,” Should You Have a Shopping List? Or a Butterfly Net?

hav“I’m desperate to find my calling,” said a man at a recent workshop.  Then he handed me a list of requirements, kind of like a scroll.

I only want to work 3 days a week.  I want to work in something creative and I will only work on a Mac.  I want to have variety in my assignments, beads, whistles and dancing girls, or else I’ll get bored.  I need to be able to travel.  I want to be able to take my Pit Bull to work with me.  I want to work within bicycle distance of my house.  I want to work for people born under the sign of Gemini.  I want these people to engage me, because I really don’t know what I want to do.  And I won’t work for less than $150,000.00 a year.  You get the idea.  The list went on.  I swear, it may have been a bit more specific.

I mentioned this phenomenon to a coaching friend of mine.  She raised an eyebrow then said, “I guess he didn’t read the part in This Time I Dance! Create the Work You Love where you talked about what you’d do for the work you love: ‘I would have crossed the desert in the summer time with only a Twinkie in my pocket, crooning with gratitude.’”

No, I said.  I’m not sure this gentleman would walk across plush wall-to-wall carpet in his living room for his calling– much less the Mohave.

This young man had a butterfly net the size of a polka dot for catching his dreams.
Where are you making your lists of demands upon the Universe?  Or upon the job market?  Those lists may be chewing up your flow.

Besides, I don’t want to know what you want to get from the situation.  I want to know what you want to give.

How do you want to share your love?  What do you want to express?  How would you like to alleviate pain or strain in the world?  This is the power that moves you– and moves mountains.

Of course you have needs.  Of course you have desires.  Of course you’ve watched The Secret and believe the “Law of Attraction” demands your clarity.  And yes, I do want you to have the exact life that matches your nature, no matter how idiosyncratic that might be.

But first I want you to start out with willingness, excitement, and gratitude.  I want you to want to do this.  I want you to be open, innocent, appreciative and hungry for every chance you get to taste your talent, and flex your muscles.  This is a privilege in life, not a concession.

Finding a calling isn’t finding a job that doesn’t strain you too much.  It’s about finding what bears down on you, what speaks to you, what haunts you, stirs you, keeps you up at night.  Sure, it may start off as a mere whisper or nudge.  But it’s a power, something you don’t want to live without, not something you could do—with enough incentives.

What would you do for free?  If you ask me, that’s what you should do for money.