A few weeks back I shared a little bit of my story in How to Find Yourself in Europe (or Anywhere). You see, I went to Europe to try to discover my best life purpose (another term I use for this is my calling). Although a grew a lot in character, I didn’t really find myself in the way I expected I would. In retrospect, though, it seems I discovered a lot more about my calling than I realized at the time.
Although my story might resonate with you (read it here), I really only shared it because I thought it might help you find your own calling. I believe it is possible that by following these semi-unconventional steps you can find yourself too–regardless of where you are located around the globe!
Finding Yourself in the Semi-Unconventional Way
Why do I think these are semi-unconventional? Although I am sure some are similar to ones you’ve heard before, they aren’t our typical American clichés.
It is possible you might just not agree with them simply because they weren’t blasted on every wall hanging you’ve read since you were five, like “believe in yourself,” “be true to yourself,” “hope,” “happiness,” “faith,” “dream,” or “family.”
The American Clichés Aren’t Enough
Although many of these things are good, I don’t think they fully satisfy or direct us well.
For example, if you are going to have faith, what are you going to have faith in? God? Yourself? Your family’s religion?
If you are going to be true to yourself, what version of you are you going to be true to?
If you are going to pursue happiness, where will you put your boundaries? Will you take happiness at the expense of others?
How will you ignite your dreams without exploration?
Not all of us came from a loving family or have a family. Is there a way we can bring the positives of family–or an accepting community–to others?
Besides family, most of American clichés are very self-focused. But will we be satisfied with a purpose that doesn’t include serving others?
You see, although these words might include good elements, they aren’t really enough to give us purpose and meaning in life. And the definitely fall short of a way to really discover your calling.
Ten Steps To Find Yourself Anywhere
Although those American clichés aren’t enough, there are some distinguishing characteristics of my time in Europe that I believe transcend the when and where, and are applicable to anyone looking for their calling. Here they are:
- Dedicate a season to find your calling–even if you don’t feel like you’re finding it as you go
- Look for guides or a mentor who can see what you can’t see in yourself
- Allow yourself to be broken in your human brevity and frailty, so you can look for more life than just what comes from you
- Give yourself new experiences, noticing where you come alive
- Go out of your comfort zone to take an honest look at who you’re when you feel unpleasant
- Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to be brave
- Decide what matters most to you–what is most essential–in both good and bad times
- Wrestle with what you believe–and who you believe in
- Confront your wounds and seek their healing
- Identity is given, so decide who you will receive it from
Applying These Ten Steps To Find Yourself
What do you think? Which ones do you agree with? Which ones do you have the hardest time with?
Or a more important question, have you even sought out your calling? You might read this and have an opinion, but have you taken six months to work through each of these questions to discover who you are and why you are?
If you have, are you missing any of these points?
Is Six Months Enough?
Although I guarantee that if you apply these liberally for six months or so, you will change and you will have greater clarity on which direction you are going in.
And like I did, you might still feel far away from discovering your calling by the end of that time. Even so, if you look back on what you chronicled over those six months you might realize you discovered a lot more than you probably thought you did.
But six months isn’t enough.
It takes your lifetime to discover your calling.
Aligning With Your Calling Isn’t a One Time Deal
You see, I have done all of these, but I still have to keep doing them.
I still struggle with where I will choose to take my identity from.
I still hate taking an honest look at myself to see where I need to improve.
Although I knew what I should focus on, I am just finally grasping the vitality of essentialism in practice, and so I say “no” twenty times more than I used to as well.
And, sometimes I still act as though I am the ultimate source of life, until I realize I am as dry as desert and falling apart (which is also part of why I have willingly chosen faith in a God who is big enough and good enough and I go to that source instead–but even that came with lots of research and an internal fight to work through what I believe and why).
I often try new things, to get closer to what I am good at and hone in on what I like.
Purpose isn’t entirely static. It changes in seasons. Or more accurately, we change over time and practicing our calling–our best role–can morph, while simultaneously becoming clearer over time as we intentionally pursue it.
That is what I have to remember when I am doing my personal Life Mapping; it is what I stress with my clients–it isn’t a one-time thing! It is a map to be referred to often, a direction we are intentionally heading in, an ever-changing document, and we constantly have to re-route and re-calibrate to align ourselves with our best way to be world changers.
Ready to Seek Your Calling?
I hope that my personal story from my semester in Europe, this post, and these Ten Steps to Find Yourself ignites within you a desire to discover more of who you are and the role you were meant to live.
I believe you are worth not settling for second best. You are worth taking the time to really enjoy living with focus and purpose.
You don’t not need a trip to Europe to find yourself. You simply need the intention.
If you would like to move past being overwhelmed, find where to start, and discover your purpose so you can start being who you were meant to be and doing what you were born to do to change the world, check out this workbook to begin life mapping: