I like the word “calling,” but I think it gives us a false idea about our life’s work. I prefer the word in its plural form — “callings.” I’ve been “called” or “prompted” by an inner voice many times in my life. These callings have taken several forms — the impulse to change jobs, to relocate to a different country or city, to begin or end a business relationship, to give up a full-time job in order to care for a relative, etc.
What seems common to each of these callings is a powerful inner knowing, an unshakable conviction it is the right thing to do, regardless of convention or the opinions of others. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a burning desire to pursue a new course in life even though everyone in your world seems dead-set against it.
It usually involves some sacrifice, I’ve found. But, as Campbell pointed out, it’s a necessary sacrifice. If you’ve had a sense of your call and you don’t follow it, if you decide to stay where you are because it’s safe and secure, then life simply dries up. And then you come to a place in middle life where you’re at the top of the ladder, but the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall……
……Our calling may have very little to do with how we earn a living, or what we do with ourselves all day. Friendship, the capacity to heal, a passion for nature, motherhood, a talent for story-telling — all these can be expressions of our calling in life. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t matter very much where the money comes from or how we spend most of our waking hours.
– Scott London