I can count them on one hand. In more than 3 decades in the helping professions, it has been rare to meet someone in the field who did not feel some sense of calling to a vocation of service.
What I have noticed over the years is there seems to be a common theme when helping professionals are asked what brought them to this field in the first place. Most say that they know they can help others – that they want to help others. Many express the desire to contribute to growth and healing in the world – especially, with those people who may share similar stories to their own.
The vast majority of people I have met have been told by the people in their lives that they have a natural ability for compassion and connection with others. These people often find that they are a source of support – a shoulder to lean on – within their personal relationships.
When did you first receive the call? What did it sound like? What did you hear? What did you feel?
The Original Call ~ The Infinite Call
What strikes me as curious is the fact that the call does not come only once in a lifetime. We are called to many things at different times in our lives. Even a life long career in service to others can involve more than one “call.” In fact, we are infinitely called again and again.
Receiving the Call is a holistic experience. We may believe that it occurs as a series of thoughts and ideas that spark our imagination and ultimately lead to a logical decision to pursue the helping career path. I say it goes far beyond that.
Being of service to others is at its core a spiritual process as well as an emotional one. While our knowledge and expertise is important, it pales in comparison to our capacity for connection and our ability to be present emotionally with others and ourselves. At least, that is how I see it.
So, it stands to reason, that receiving the Call will be most potently experienced in the same way. It may not make any sense logically and it won’t matter. Because your heart and soul knows.
If you can tune into that original experience and recall what that felt like for you, you develop the ability to be attuned to all the Calls that follow. So powerful.
A Job ~ A Career ~ A Calling
I read an article a few years ago by Matt Mullenweg in which he highlighted the various perspectives we can adopt when it comes to our work. Here is a quick summary:
When we perceive our work as a job, we are fueled by the basic need for survival. We work to earn money and support what we need and want in life. It has limited motivational value and if given the opportunity, we would likely jump ship as fast as we can!
In career mode, our main motivation involves moving up the ladder. We are seeking ways to improve our status within the field and specifically, our organization. Our drive comes from the place within us that wants to succeed in ways that are tangible in our own lives and obvious to others.
When our work is our calling, we will find ourselves doing it with little regard to the monetary rewards or the social recognition. There is another level of joy and fulfillment, less obvious in the physical world; however, more real to us than anything we can see.
Most of us will navigate in and out of these various phases – especially, if we have been in the field for a long time or intend to be. And that is perfectly okay! There will be times when we find ourselves mostly motivated by the pay cheque. Perhaps, our attention is drawn to other aspects of our lives – family, children, and our personal health.
At other times, we will notice a desire to contribute and expand ourselves through striving for new opportunities in the field – new positions – further education – greater responsibility.
During those times throughout your vocational life when you feel financially stable and socially recognized, however, still feel that something is missing ~ opening yourself to The Call is the answer. Receiving the next Call will be the path to a restored sense of fulfillment and joy – to a true sense of contribution. It will be the direct path back to your Original Call.
Receiving the Infinite Call
This is the key. Open yourself to The Call every day as often as you remember to do so.
Ask ~ What am I called upon to do today? How can I be of greatest service? What am I learning? Try doing this each morning as you step into your day – you are setting the stage.
Ask Again ~ What am I called to do in this situation? What is the most loving response? How can I be more present? What is good for my own heart? Whenever you are aware of it, seek inside for the answers to these questions – you are making a commitment to engagement.
The Call is the most powerful intrinsic motivator you will ever receive. This is true for all of us regardless of the vocations we have chosen.