We graduate college entitled to a career getting paid for our passions. Reality requires a bit more humility than most of us are willing to offer.
Discovering our calling is an exercise in understanding where our skills and passions intersect with a significant need. Long-term success is found by first identifying a need and searching for the solution rather than crafting a solution and imposing it on others. No one likes to be told they have a problem.
In this episode of The Portfolio Life, author and speaker, Eric Bryant, and I talk about the relationship between community and calling, a counterintuitive approach to discover a dream, and the best way to create a better future.
Listen in as we dive into the dying art of apprenticeship, the blinding effect of self-obsession, and fostering the freedom to try.
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A calling is not a singular event
When we see someone on TV, pick up a New York Times best-seller, or hear the latest chart-topping song, it’s easy to think these successes happened overnight. Nothing is further from the truth. Achieving greatness is the result of tenacious focus and hard work over time.
The same rules apply to your calling. A true calling isn’t discovered in a single moment of inspiration, but rather is developed along the journey through grit, self-awareness, and humility. A sense of significant is the result of serving others with your craft, however that is manifested.
One thing Eric said during our conversation has stuck with me. He explained that pride is the enemy of purpose and will cloud the quest to find a calling. According to Eric, pride is manifested in two ways:
- We think too highly of ourselves
- We think too lowly of ourselves
The key concept in this hyperbole is we are thinking of ourselves in both cases. A calling is an exercise in learning from others and looking for signs in the world around us to provide direction and opportunities to serve within our natural bent.
Eric advises those chasing a dream to volunteer at an organization they want to align with and work themselves into a paying job. Historically, this was called an apprenticeship. People worked for free under the supervision of a master (or journeyman) until they gained the required skill and built a reputation worth paying for.
While not everyone has the freedom to risk so much, anyone can pursue their passion on the side and discover their calling in the process. A calling takes everything you’ve done up to a certain point and turns into preparation.
In this episode, Eric and I discuss:
- What it feels like to find your calling
- A key element to discovering your life’s work many overlook
- The historic practice to determine what you were made to do
- How community plays a significant role in providing clarity
- The relationship between self-obsession and self-awareness
- Why pride is hyperbolic when we think of ourselves
- What viewpoint makes everything look like failure
- A mindset shift we can practice to create more opportunities
- Three ways to fail to set yourself up for success
- Why understanding a need comes first
- How to build something new while staying faithful to the old
- The counterintuitive method to finding your dream
- Which great leaders were willing to work with people who might let them down
Quotes and Takeaways
- “Our callings aren’t simply answered, but developed through trial and error.”
- “Self-obsession does not lead to self-awareness.”
- “We come to some sense of calling through the context of community.”
- “Everything looks like failure in the middle.”
- “Too often we let circumstances dictate what decisions we make.”
- Serial starts can rob you of long-term success
- Volunteer where you want to work and hustle so hard they hire you.
- It’s okay to find an idea, chase it, and fail.
- “The reason we are born is to not give up.”
- “Fail early, fail often, and fail inexpensively.”
- If you want to get paid to do what you love you have to show the world that you’re worth it.
- Serve someone else’s dream until you find yours.
- Eric’s blog
- A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created to Be by Dr. Eric Michael Bryant
- The Art of Work
Are you living a fruitful life? Have you developed your calling? Share in the comments