Sometimes You Have to Ditch Your Vision to Discover Your Calling

You manifested your vision, and now you’re living your deepest calling. Or, at least, that’s what you tell yourself. But you don’t sleep well. You feel sluggish, unsteady and slow in your body. It is almost impossible to eat. Worst, your intense work load is causing you to be distant from the people you love and preventing you from being present.

Yet, it is impossible to imagine leaving. This was your vision. How could this have lead you wrong? There could not be a more compelling calling than this.

This was how it played out for me in my own life many years ago when I pursued a dream to start a yoga studio. Only now that I have left the world of yoga to be a freelance writer and author, do I realize how my vision kept me from realizing my true calling.

Hearing a call

“There is no greater gift to give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.” – Oprah

You’ve got a great vision for yourself. It’s a vision that you have for the future. Is it really a vision to support your higher calling? Are you merely distracted by it and too busy to achieve something better? To find out, here are four questions:

1. The vision came from where?

A true calling is often so unusual and unique, it will make your ego—which is more comfortable with conformity and mix-and-match creations— quake in its boots. True callings originate far beyond an ego’s temporary hungers for validity and approval. If the vision originated to soothe your ego’s lack of confidence or as a way to gain desired acceptance, it’s likely not a true calling but a temporary vision. However, your vision might be real if it scares both you and your ego.

2. Who is this vision trying to please

A vision can be born out of other people’s opinions and expectations for us without us actually knowing it. Imagine you imagine yourself being a doctor. Your parents were physicians. You plan to go into theater or sports because that’s what the people around you enjoy. It’s possible that you might be an expert at something even though it is better for a hobby.

On the other side, a calling is untouchable and pure. It doesn’t try to please anyone but merely seeks expression. And that’s okay, because when you find your calling, it won’t matter to you what anyone thinks. Let me give you a hint. A strong calling often aligns with the needs of society rather than what it desires.

3. What distance can the vision be traced back?

Your calling is part of you; it’s an intrinsic part. Our early passions and loves can become lost as we get older, and we are more influenced by society. 

Then, moving through life, we might become infatuated with some new thing, and immediately determine that that’s our vision for the future. However, as with many fatal love relationships, an infatuation tends to cool and fade. 

A calling is different. You’ll know something is a true calling if it never goes away, no matter what we might cover it up with temporarily. As a child, think back to the most important things that you loved. Were you a natural peacemaker? Do you enjoy strategic or organizational games? Did you take diligent notes? You can find clues in your childhood passions and natural talents to help you determine what your real calling is.

4. Your vision asks for what kind of sacrifice/payment?

For both a short-term vision and for a greater calling to come to fruition, certain sacrifices will be required. What are they asking for? Do they want you to give up on people or activities that you enjoy? Do they take precedence over your personal needs, such as travel and leisure? Your vision might make it difficult to choose among the activities you enjoy and those you are passionate about.

True callings weave together all parts of themselves seamlessly into one cohesive sense of rightness. This simple wisdom is important: We can be swallowed whole by temporary visions. True callings can make us whole.

Your calling may give you a feeling of completeness and rightness, which can help to bring out the best in yourself. When in the throws of following a vision, it can be easy to assume you’ve found your calling. The most compelling vision may not be a true reflection of what we are called to do. Look closely at your vision and consider who you are pleasing. Also, think about how far it can be traced back. And what type of payments it requires. This will give you the insight you require and allow you to abandon your vision if you feel it is necessary.

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