Read this question and note how it makes you feel: If you had to do (HAD to do) one thing for the rest of your life—for no pay—what would it be? What you FEEL is a key to learning something about yourself.
Some of you had no problem answering this question. You’ve always known what you wanted to do and are either doing it or working your way towards it.
Some of you have never had a good enough question (like this one) to assist you to tune into what you really want to do, usually because others have readily offered their opinions and reasons as “wise” guidance.
Some of you were NOT inspired by this question—you had an opposite experience. Rather than stimulating you to really feel your way to your appropriate answer, it’s likely your mind started to consider what you’d have to give up (and how that would feel), in order to do just one thing.
A prevalent, imposed mainstream belief is that you HAVE to pick one thing and become expert at it—because you “should” have the desire to be a huge success; and you can achieve what’s expected of you by following this path.
If I asked for a show of hands to see how many of you were ever told (and witnessed), “Success is when you love your life; and only you can determine what that means for you,” there might be some hands that went up, but I doubt it would be the majority.
Often, people try to figure out what they will do, based on what they can earn from it. Let’s not attach judgment to that decision-making method, but let’s recognize that it’s faulty motivation for some of you. (And some of you hold the belief that no one would pay you to do what you really would love to do. Question: Is that 100-percent absolutely true? Question: What action would you take if you didn’t have that doubting belief?”)
I don’t readily recall his name, but I watched a PBS program segment about the guy who created that online security feature where you have to prove you’re a human, not another computer, by typing in one or two displayed misshapen words. That’s only one of his achievements; and he’s considered by many to be one of the geniuses of our age. When this guy graduated from university, Bill Gates approached him with an employment offer. The guy turned him down. He wanted to teach at the university he graduated from. He loves the extra requests-for-service he gets that allow him to apply his genius, but teaching and making it fun fulfills him. Some might say he’s a fool for turning Gates down, but he’s genuinely happy with his life. He IS paid well for his other efforts. By following his feelings (rather than what some might have expected him to do), he enjoys the best of both worlds.
For those of you who shivered or broke into a sweat trying to figure out what you’d give up, visit Barbara Sher’s website to learn about Scanners, if you haven’t already. You may have been or are frustrated by all the advice to pick one thing and do it. This kind of advice to a Scanner is like telling a brown-eyed person to make their eyes blue by using willpower. A Scanner forced to do only one thing is a frustrated, unhappy individual whose creativity stays dormant rather than is shared. A better question for Scanners might be: What two (or three) to five (or more) things would you do if you had to do them the rest of your life?
You may have held the belief that it should be simple to identify your true calling—and found it wasn’t or hasn’t been. Use the question. Eliminate any “voices” but your own. Put logic and “shoulds” aside. Whatever your initial thought about trusting what you feel is (because feelings get a bad rap), try this: “I’m putting aside all thoughts and logic for a moment. What do I really feel?” Let your inner voice, your inner Self who knows you better than anyone, speak to you. Its language is feelings. You have them for a reason.
Also, allow that your calling may “call” you for a finite period of time, then another one calls out to you—even in later years. Don’t argue with this, have a conversation with it.
If you’re not already doing what you really want to do, ask yourself the question. Your calling—or callings—are waiting for you.
You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer