Welcome to Book Lessons
- Awareness: Before you can tell your life what you want to do with it, you must listen to what it wants to do with you.
- Apprenticeship: Every story of success is a story of community. Although mentors are hard to come by, accidental apprenticeships are everywhere. Your life is preparing you for what’s to come.
- Practice: Real practice hurts. It takes not only time but intentional effort. But some things do come naturally. Be open to learning new skills, and watch for sparks of inspiration to guide you.
- Discovery: Don’t take the leap; build a bridge. You never “just know’ what you’re supposed to do with your life. Discovery happens in stages.
- Profession: Failure is your best friend. Don’t push through obstacles; pivot around them. Let every mistake and rejection teach you something. Before a season of season of success, there often comes a season of failure.
- Mastery: A calling is not just one thing. It’s a few things, a portfolio that isn’t just your job but the life you live.
- Legacy: Your calling is not just what you do; it’s the person you become—and the legacy you leave.
Seven Signs You’ve Found Your Calling
- It’s familiar. You find your calling not just by looking forward to what you will do but also by looking back at what you’ve done.
- It’s something other people see in you. Sometimes our vocations are most obvious to those who know us best.
- It’s challenging. It must be difficult enough that not anyone can do it.
- It requires faith. It cannot be something so obvious that you can easily explain it. It must be mysterious.
- It take time. You have to fail your way in the right direction before you find it.
- It’s more than just one thing. And it integrates well with the rest of your life, not competing with but complementing your top priorities.
- It’s bigger than you. The task must be so large that without a team of people, you cannot complete it on your own.
Seven exercise that will help you get moving in the right direction.
Exercise 1: create a “listen to your life” timeline. Draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper and use it to plot out the significant event in your life. Look for trends, patterns, and significant moments. Have you always played basketball? As a child, were you fascinated with technology? Was there something unique about you that baffled even your parents? Write it all down, then spend at least thirty minutes reflecting on what all this might mean. Practice this every day until your calling comes into focus. At the same time, reach out to a handful of friends or family members and ask them to describe something that you do better than anyone they know. Sometimes we tend to overlook our greatest assets. Use the timeline and the wisdom of loved ones to help you see a direction you might be missing.
Exercise 2: Design your own apprenticeship. Don’t go in search of a mentor; instead, identify the mentors that are already around you. Who could you ask to meet for coffee or lunch? Make a list of these people and reach out to them. Prepare ahead of time, ask questions, and take notes. Afterword, follow up with a thank-you note, sharing specifically what you learned and how you’d like to do it again. Start meeting regularly with those who reciprocate and let the relationship progress organically.
Exercise 3: Practice in the margins. Instead of preparing to take some giant leap, start working on your calling today. Don’t overcommit. Begin with thirty minutes a day and increase the frequency from there. Make a list of activities you can do to the point of exhaustion and start pushing yourself in them, spending more time on the areas where you have the greatest passion and skill. Pay attention to how you grow or don’t grow, and see what that tells you about your calling.
Exercise 4: Look for pivot points. Go back to the line you drew in Exercise 1 and mark your greatest moment of failure. When did you try something and it didn’t work? Were you rejected by someone or fired from a job? What did you do afterward? Identify the times when you faced an obstacle that forced you in a different direction. What did that tell you about yourself? Now make a list of upcoming pivot points, changes you need to make to create room for your calling. Do you need to quit your job? Move to a new city? Stop writing marketing copy so you can work on that novel? You don’t have to know how to make the change; just make the list. Clarity will come with action.
Exercise 5: Identify discovery moments. Was there a time when something was unclear to you but obvious to someone else? Write about this or share it with a friend. What do others see in you that you don’t see in yourself? As an extended exercise, try e-mailing five people who know you well and ask them to describe you. You might be surprised to see what you learn about yourself.
Exercise 6: Plan your portfolio. Instead of planning out your ideal week, focus instead on the next year. You have 365 days. How many do you need to support yourself working? How many days do you now have left to do study work, homework, and gift work? Go through the calendar and start marking dates that you could spend on those activities. If you have a family or significant other, go through this exercise with them. You don’t have to set anything in stone yet; it’s just a way to get a global view of your year and how you can intentionally move in the direction of your life’s work.
Exercise 7: We saw how a calling is not just about you. It’s something you share with others. Being by making a list of people you could ask to become a part of your team. These can be people hire for your business or organization, or it can be more informal like a monthly conference call or regular e-mail update, sharing how you’re moving toward your calling. Also, identify as many as three people you want to personally invest in. Don’t think of this as a formal mentorship; just start showing up in a few people’s lives in hopes of helping them grow.
This Article is taken from The Art of Work.
Written by Arshad. A
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