clear blue sky

How can you tell if you’ve found your calling? As a doctor who was called to medicine at a young age but then wound up disillusioned by the system, questioning my calling, I’ve asked myself this question a lot. It’s been a long strange trip- first leaving medicine, then feeling called back, then leaving again only to find my role in healing our broken health care system as a writer, speaker, revolutionary, and teacher of physicians. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about how to know whether you’re on the right track.

1. You’ll realize you’ve been training for your calling since the moment you were born.

Even the gritty things, the disappointments, the regrets, and the screw ups, they were all prepping you for what you’re now being called to do. You’ll realize that the divorce, the bankruptcy, the death of your loved one, the failure, the rejection- it was just school, teaching you the lessons your soul needed to learn in order to be who you’re being called to be.

2. Mystical things will start happening.

You might be tempted to write them off as coincidences, only they’re too perfect, too exactly what you need in that particular moment, too much like miracles to call them accidents. The synchronicities will fill you with a sense of wonder, because they’re proof positive that you’re being guided, that you’re not in this alone, that Someone is moving mountains to ensure that your mission is a success.

3. When you get off course, you’ll get redirected.

Doors you longed to walk through will slam shut. If you take the wrong fork in the road, your path will be littered with barbed wire and mustard gas and dragons and sharp knives lining the path. You will get the hint that you’ve made a wrong turn, steering yourself off course from your date with destiny, when the journey becomes a relentless struggle.  The deal will fall through. The money will run out. The mentor who’s been providing the magical gifts won’t follow you onto the wrong path. People won’t sign up. You’ll be rerouted just as magically as you were steered to your calling in the first place.

4. You’ll be guided by ease, even in the face of obstacles.

When you find yourself struggling to get through an obstacle-ridden forest, it can be hard to tell- is your commitment just being tested, or have you veered off course?  Obstacles can be part of the growth process, the cultivation of your inner hero, a necessary part of your hero’s journey. But they can also be signs that you’ve made a wrong turn. How can you tell the difference? The guidepost you can trust is a sense of movement towards ease. If the challenges are mounting, things are getting worse, one hard struggle is piling upon the other, you’ve probably gotten seduced off course from your true calling, and the Universe is just waiting patiently, twiddling Divine thumbs because you have free will, but never giving up faith that you will find your way back to your calling, which will always lead you to your own holy grail. When you’re back on track, things start to flow again.

5. Magical mentors will appear just in the nick of time.

Just when you need it most, the right people will show up, with just the tools you’ll need to support you and your journey in an almost mystical way.

6. Your health is likely to improve.

A strange but welcome side effect of finding your calling is that your health is likely to improve. You may notice fewer cravings for unhealthy foods, you’ll have more energy for moving your body, aches and pains that used to plague you might disappear, you’ll feel less tired, and chronic illnesses you may be battling may start to get better.

Take Andy Mackie, for example. At 59 years old, Andy Mackie had undergone nine heart surgeries and was taking fifteen medications to try to keep him alive, but the medicines left him feeling horrible, so one day, he told his doctors he wanted to stop the drugs. They told him if he did, he would die within a year, so Andy decided if he was dying, he wanted to do something he’d always wanted to do. So he took the money he would have spent on his medications and used it to buy 300 harmonicas, and he gave them away to children, complete with harmonica lessons. The following month, he was still alive, so he bought another 300 harmonicas. Thirteen years and 20,000 harmonicas later, Andy Mackie finally passed away.

7. You may find that money flows in just as you’re ready to throw in the towel.

I’m not suggesting that you won’t wind up in debt or staring at an empty bank account when you used to have a full one or even bankrupt. But if you’re on the right path, you won’t wind up living under that freeway overpass near what used to be your house, and you may find that money appears almost magically once you’re really right in the dead center of your life’s purpose.

8. You may feel strangely peaceful, even when you have every reason to be anxious.

Everyone around you will likely think you’re crazy. A part of you will agree with them. But a wise inner knowing, that part of you I call your Inner Pilot Light (link), will be so comforted by the fact that you’re finally on the path to your purpose that you may feel unusually calm- until your rational mind kicks in.

Our souls long to express what we’re here on this earth to express, and when you finally fall into alignment with your calling, your soul does a little happy dance.  It may appear as if everything else in your life is falling apart, but you’ll have this sense of peace, a huge relief, that at least- finally- you know what you’re called to do.

9. The Universe will roll out the red carpet.

When what you’re being called to do is what is needed for the highest good of all beings, the Universe will bend over backwards to hand you whatever you need on a silver platter. No request is too small. A copywriter may volunteer to help you just when you were thinking you needed to write a sales page. Someone will donate a printer when it’s time print a flyer. You’ll feel so supported, so lucky, that you’ll know you’re on track, even if you’re not quite clear what you’re on track to do.

10. Your people will find you.

Few can fulfill a calling alone. Most of us need a tribe to lift us up as we do brave, scary, world-changing things. But don’t worry. When you’re really on purpose, your people will find you, if only you’re courageous enough to be vulnerable about what you’re being called to do.

Do Any Of These Sound Familiar?

Have you found your calling?  Or are you still looking for it? If you’ve found your calling, YEAH! The world needs you! Blessings to you on your hero’s journey.

If you haven’t, don’t worry. We won’t leave you hanging. Martha Beck, Amy Ahlers, and I recorded a free 90 minute teleclass to offer you tips on finding your calling. (You can listen to the recording here.) We’re also about to start a whole program Find Your Calling: Awaken Your Life Purpose, Clarify Your Vision, and Do Your Soul’s Work. Read more about the 7 week teleclass series and sign up here.

Trusting your journey, wherever you are,

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  1. Ande Lyons

    Goddess Lissa!

    I la la LOVE this post – you are spot on with every single point! I especially love the reminder in #3 – and it’s an important yet often difficult one for folks to remember. Stop banging your head, step back and find the open door, right?

    #5 is SO TRUE – love when that happens. I’ve been at #7 and #8 and find it’s harder on those watching than the one on the journey – LOL!

    Thank you for sharing your awe-mazing gifts with the world!

    With deep appreciation for YOU,


  2. musicupliftsmysoul .

    I love your description!!! However, I’m at a point of complete exhaustion after trying every path I’ve known for eight long years, I’m dispairing that I will ever find the Calling that is waiting for me to find it, or the Calling that is “calling me”. I would humbly ask if anyone who feels inclined, could hold a space for me to connect with my Calling – I’d love to be of benefit to the world, and those around me. With appreciation for your writings. Thank you! <3
    Lastly, when I read Lissa, (and others on a spiritual path), mention the word "shaman", something seems to resonate and excite me – but I don't know how to take this further.

      • musicupliftsmysoul .

        Thank you Lissa! for sharing and directing me to this great site. It’s of great interest to me – and my life story. I’ve often been told I’d be a good shamanic type healer, a ‘junior elder’, or whatever wording was used. I’ve been through enough in life, (suffering – wise), to have a good understanding of the suffering of others. Also, and especially, healing for myself, as outlined on the webpage, would be what I consider finally, to be ‘Grace’..
        In order to study the fascinating, and potentially soul quenching material, I will “need” to sort out battered finances – (which word other than “need”, could be used, that doesn’t imply a ‘lack’?) – and for the finances to align, should I take it further. Fact is, I pay ten times, in my currency, for a US dollar. (Equates to much the same in spending power too). But, I’m writing because I am now feeling desperate.

        Thanks again for the referral to this site, Lissa! 🙂

          • musicupliftsmysoul .

            <3 Thank you again, Lissa! I love Tosha Silver's Prayers of Surrender. Gave me shivers to read, and I will bookmark, and read again – often. I've been saying to myself lately, that "The Universe has got my back", thanks to your daily input, Messages from your Inner Pilot Flame. This helps me to reframe my thought processes, and to surrender. I admire your tremendous output!
            With much love <3

  3. Dr. Sweta - the self expressio

    This is amazing – so affirming!! Thank you Lissa I can relate to each and everyone 🙂 Will save this for the journey – awesome so as usual!

  4. The Dame

    Great to have a benchmark by which to measure if and when I am on the right path 🙂

  5. Hadeer Thamin Sinawe

    Dr. Rankin, you hit the nail on the coffin with this comprehensive, affirming list.

    I was kicked out of my home during my junior year of undergrad when my family found out I was gay. I missed med school application cycles and spiraled into a deep depression, struggled to graduate with the finances I had. I graduated from a top-tier university barely passing. After a few years, I completely lost track. I was living alone and partying and traveling a lot.

    Somehow, I knew I needed to get back to my calling. I became a transporter at a hospital when I found a connection who became my unlikely mentor. I ended up doing so much work that I became published in a medical journal! Wow!

    A bad relationship really set me in bad debt. Abuse took the form of ER visits (unpaid), promised repayment on a gift (racked up credit card debt), and stolen electricity under my name.

    How was I going to get through all this, all alone?

    I got to work. My friends stepped up and became my army. Friends became family. Right now, I am accepted into a medical program and I am working painstakingly to cut down the debts. I have a lot to stress over, as this controls my student loans I can take out without obtaining a cosigner. But somehow, I am not stressing out; I am just doing it.

    Your list is remarkable, as it really helps me understand fully that I was called to become a physician, and that nothing could stop me because there is a divine calling working in my favor.


    P.S. I am sitting in the NICU doing work for my night shift, and I feel like I’ve living the dream! The best is yet to come!

    • Lissa_Rankin

      Keep the faith, my dear. The calling is pure. Don’t ever let them break you!
      Much love

  6. Pete Youseff

    A year and a half ago this would’ve sounded like nonsense to me, but I can really see some of these things starting to take place in my life, especially number 7 believe it or not.

    I’m still not sure if I’m meant to be a police officer or not, but I won’t know until I try. And hey, if nothing else, I can at least say that I tried — which is something no one will ever be able to take from me.

    It’s been a slow but steady path since I flunked out of college and decided to pursue law enforcement, but 18-months later and 45 lbs lighter, I’m on my way.

    Thanks, doc.

  7. Reen

    This definitely has been happening to me recently after making a decision to follow my heart instead of following the path of others. After deciding not to attend university and to instead work on something independently that is true to my calling and finally accepting the hints that I have been so blatantly receiving by the universe as of late, I feel like a huge magnet and every single thing I have been worrying about or needed in order to progress has fallen into place with such ease that I can hardly believe it. And when I say exactly what I need, I mean EXACTLY what I need to the very detail.

    Everything from financial preparations to magic mentors to understanding people, to out of the blue ideas and more that I didn’t even know I needed until I had it.

    Be thankful for what you have. Trust yourself. Ask, believe and receive. Life is simpler than you think.

  8. Minki

    Three years of being stuck in a Job that was not
    working for me, a job I knew was a mistake from the start. I followed everyone’s
    advice that I must look for another job while I’m still employed. I had this
    feeling that another job is not going to be an answer but continued to send Job
    Applications everywhere with no luck. I had to be honest with myself because I was
    stuck in dead end job and knew I had to go but the question was Go Where and Do

    I’m happy to say I have found my calling, like the
    article reads. When you find your calling everything falls into place. I
    resigned from my Job at the beginning of the month to start my business. I’m at
    peace, happy, in good spirit you name it and I look forward to waking up every
    single morning and work towards my dream which is becoming a reality. It’s true
    that when the time comes for you to follow your path, the Universe will make
    you so uncomfortable that you’ll have no choice but to do it.

    To everyone still in limbo regarding their calling, you
    will find it, pay attention…:)

  9. Karen O'Sickey

    Dr. Rankin, your article resonates with me. I feel I have experience all in the past 3 or 4 years except for the red carpet. And different people keep telling me I am a great business woman and I can do great things…but I am afraid I don’t know what things those are.

  10. drela

    is this god calling you lisa simpson!


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