We usually refer to “finding your calling” as getting in touch with your life purpose. But you may be called to do any number of things that may have nothing to do with your professional life. These types of callings tend to come up whenever you find yourself unable to make a decision.

Should you stay or should you go?

Should you follow your intuition or play it safe?

Should you take a leap of faith or stay on the cliff?

Decisions can be beastly, especially when the stakes are high. But you don’t have to make these decisions alone. I believe The Universe calls to us, guiding us to where we’re meant to be. In the beginning, this guidance will show up in subtle ways, like a thought or an idea that feels like a crazy idea. Then you might read something that feels like it was meant just for you, something that reinforces the crazy idea.  Then that perfect book- the one you were SO supposed to read right now- falls off the shelf in front of you. Then you have a dream full of instructions, or you see a vision of something, or you hear a voice telling you what you need to do.

How You Know When You’re Being Guided

You may not recognize the guidance at first. You might not even notice it, and if you do, you might write it off as mere coincidence.  But if you don’t pay attention to the first whisperings, then the signs from the Universe get more obvious. You may get physical symptoms because you’re not listening to the whispers. Things might start happening to rock you out of your comfort zone.

Things might even start to get really trippy.  You bump into the person you need to be talking with in the middle of Central Park when neither of you even live in New York City.  You’re talking on the telephone, confessing what you know you must do to a dear friend, and right when you share how scared you are, a walkie talkie voice interferes with the phone line and tells you you’re not alone. You find out that you and your mentor are being guided by a spirit guide who calls himself by the same name.

This is when you know you are being called. You’ve been given clear instructions. But you may not like the instructions you’re being given.

You Still Have Choice

Free will is a funny thing when it comes to spiritual guidance. I believe we are guided with “signs from the Universe,” and these signs are suggestions, recommendations even. But we don’t have to follow the guidance. We have free will, and we may either fail to observe the signs or ignore the signs.

I think we’re given a lot of leeway when we first become aware of something we’re being called to do. We’re given a sort of grace period, a Divine time out, during which we have the opportunity to make peace with what is being asked of us. The Universe gives us a break and understands why we’re not doing what we know we must.  So there are no immediate consequences to failing to heed the guidance. The Universe understand that we’re only human.

The Grace Period Ends

But then one day, the grace period is over, and what we’re being called to do becomes urgent.  The signs from the Universe start coming fast and furious. The Universe is not going to let you off the hook any longer.

At this point, you still have a choice. You have free will. But if you don’t act on what is being asked of you once your grace period is over, things will start being reorganized for you, and you may feel like you no longer have a choice. You’ll get fired from that job you’ve known you’re supposed to quit. The relationship you’ve been thinking about ending will end without your choice.  Your life will start reorganizing in order to make this thing that must happen inevitable, until you’re laughing or crying at how obvious it is that you’re NOT LISTENING to what you’re being guided to do.

When It’s Time To Surrender

That’s when you finally throw your hands up and say, “I give!” You surrender. You strap on your seatbelt because you know you’re about to go for the ride of your life, and it’s a ride you can’t control, so you might as well throw your hands up and yell, “WHEEEEEEEE!” You’ll feel the butterflies, the roller coaster feeling in your belly, and it will just be a sign that you’re on the right path, even though you don’t know where you’re going.

What If Your Calling Hasn’t Showed Up Yet?

Join me, Martha Beck, and Amy Ahlers for Find Your Calling, a free teleclass  designed specifically to help you hear your inner guidance, get in touch with your life purpose, and do your part to change the world. We remember how much angst this can inspire, and we all have so much compassion for you if you’re one of those who is still struggling to find your life’s purpose.

If you already know what’s calling you, and you’re still in your grace period, your job is to just make peace with the truth of what you know you must do. If your grace period is over, you might as well just do what you’re being guided to do. Just let go, darling… your resistance only makes it harder. Trust that the Universe would never guide you to make a choice that isn’t safe, and there is no reason for you to be afraid. And if you don’t yet know what’s calling you, join us for the free Find Your Calling teleclass.

Are You Being Guided?

Is there something you just know, but you’re too afraid to acknowledge it? Are you in denial about something you’re being called to do? Are you still trying to find your calling? Tell us your stories in the comments.

Letting go,

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  1. Carmi Bowles

    I have been seeking for my whole life. I have fallen off the path a number of times, but I am never allowed to stray to far without severe consequences. At the present I am totally broken. For 3 year on disability with chronic pain and limited mobility I look for the signs. I pray, I meditate, I go to psychotherapy and various physical and alternative therapies. I read all the books and watch all the shows looking for answers, I have found many, but still I feel lost and trapped. I have forgiven everyone including myself, I have surrendered to whatever the universe wants, but I don’t hear a calling. Sometimes I feel I am going mad, but then I am touch by the divine love and feel finally my miracle will come, but soon it passes and I feel lost again. Things generally have gotten better and I have learned so much about myself and changed so many unconscious behaviors I never realized I had. So many secrets and illusions of my life have been revealed. I hear the voice say be patient, soon it will be your time. But I want to live again and find my calling and purpose. I have been a RN for 30 years and helping other has been my life,but now others must take care of me. Seeking my path has become my obsession. I am waiting, I am trying to be patient, but how long must I wait. I don’t know what else I can do.

  2. Helen

    Still haven’t found my calling and don’t feel convinced that I even have one to find. I am trying to stay open and positive.

  3. Jennifer Lynne Flint

    I think that sometimes having a calling is not necessarily about finding a particular job or occupation (this is a largely Western idea anyway), but may be more about figuring out a way to LIVE that makes you truly happy and satisfied with your life on all fronts, at least as far as it happens to be within your ability to do so. It’s quite possible to accomplish this while having a perfectly ordinary job, or none at all.

    I suspect it’s all about living with gratitude, having good relationships, cultivating good health as much as you’re able, focusing on the development of your soul, and finding ways to help others and share what you’ve learned, even if it’s only in small ways. This to me is the framework of a successful life.

    What I’m wondering though (while I generally agree with everything you’ve said here), is if the Universe is going to boot you into what it wants you to do eventually (and I’ve noticed that it does tend to do that), then do we really have as much free will as we think we do? And what’s the point in watching out for guidance if the same outcome is going to occur anyway?

    I suppose that if we do pay attention to the guidance and act on it, the path tends to be smoother and positive outcomes greater, right? That would be my guess. But sometimes the Universe does seem pretty…uh…insistent. Maybe we set all that up before we come here, though, just to make sure we get where we’re intending to go. 🙂

  4. T.L. Parks

    I am amazed that sometimes the fear of success, of being beautiful can hold so many people back, myself included. Staying hidden seems like a more comfortable place, familiar. I imagine that at some point we all find our way somehow. Maybe not in the way that we imagined, but at least to the knowing that we could release the burden of carrying an untold story.

  5. Louise

    Oh Lissa, my sister from another mister – you always know just what I need to hear. Thank you. So much love Xox.

  6. Robin

    I wish I could attend the call, but I’ll be working at that time. This is THE subject I need to hear. I have been struggling my entire life to find my purpose. Once I thought I had found it and doggedly pursued a path that led me to people who were willing to throw me under the bus to help themselves succeed at my expense. I’ve had way too many ‘jobs’ and my resume looks like someone who just can’t make up her mind! I feel attracted to do many things; I am curious about almost everything. Now, in my late 50’s, I feel like the time for my purpose has passed. I feel beaten down by the journey, feel I can no longer trust people, and feel like I have failed. Yet I know I have not served my purpose here on earth and don’t know what to do from here.

  7. JN1102

    I never talk about this, because in a way I’ve been really blessed in that I’ve known since I was a little kid what my calling is. I know I should be grateful for that, and I am, but at the same time it’s caused me to struggle. I don’t feel like I have what I need to follow that path, so it’s a mixed blessing. I keep getting closer, and then it falls away from me again. I’m in that two steps backward phase again, and it’s painful. I am trying to find the faith to believe, but the pain is strong. The doubt is strong. The obstacles are overwhelming. For today, I’m not at all certain what to do.

  8. Velma

    I’m not sure what my calling is. I’ve been trying to find my way for the past couple of years. These past 2 years have been a struggle for me. My dad passed away, I ended an 11 year relationship, quit my job as a marketing consultant, left everything & everyone in Washington & moved to San Francisco & am in a new relationship, began a career working for a beauty distribution company blah blah blah The result is this. I’m rock bottom. I miss my kids (they are still in Washington) I’m a failure, I hate my job, I’m lonely & I no longer have the confidence & drive I had only a few years ago. I’ve tried everything. I’ve read he secret, I’m in therapy, I pray and I’ve even consulted w psychics (they ripped me off. Go figure). I’m a mess. My health is deteriorating, my kids are mad at me and I’ve lost all self-confidence in myself. Once upon a time, I was a successful career woman, earned a substantial amount of money in sales, I was creative, fun & funny & I thought I was a really great mom. My philosophy was if you dont try you’ll never know what might have been, Never give up, always give things your best shot & I had a wonderful sense of humor. That is not the case today. If I were to choose my calling it would be to write a book & share my story w other women. I would be a motivational speaker and earn enough money to provide for myself and children, travel, enjoy life to the fullest and more importantly give back. My cause of choice would be to support St Jude’s Hospital and Meals on Wheels. I could use a miracle in my life. That along with the strength to believe that better days are ahead

    • Madame Styx

      I read excitement toward the ending to your post. Love it! Sounds to me as if you still possess the qualities you say you had when you were ‘successful’. I see so many similarities in our stories. So if you could take one step towards a future that made you smile what would that be?

      • Velma

        Thank you for your reply. I have to admit, I’ve had to ponder the answer to your question. In truth, I would muster up the courage to believe in myself and stop allowing people to make me feel guilty or bad about myself. I’d also stop allowing people to walk all over me. I’m a people pleaser. I’d quit my job and finally write that book I’ve been talking about for 20 years. I recently finished my real estate course. I can’t believe I actually finished the course. Now I just need the confidence and stamina to study so I can take the state exam. It’s not so much that I want to sell real estate, although I believe I’d be good at it. Rather, for once I’d like to be able to say I accomplished something. I have always believed that I should be doing bigger things in my life. Even at my old job I had this dream of becoming famous for doing something great. I felt like I was wasting my time, watching life pass me by. I used to always say “one day when I write my book” or “one day when im on Oprah”until one day when I said that a co-worker asked very sarcastically “so where is this book you’re always talking about?” It really hurt my feelings and my dream was squashed once again. I knew in my heart I would never accomplish my dream. My ex husband was very abusive. After the last beating I finally got the courage to file for a divorce. The day he moved out he looked at me and said “you have failed at everything in your life, now you’ve failed at our marriage”. I was devastated. I drank myself silly for a year. I picked myself up and am happy to say I’ve been sober for 11 1/2 years. A couple of years ago someone told me that thy had never met anyone quite like me. They said the charisma I have was intoxicating. I’m not sure if that was a compliment. If its true I would like to use that charisma to help other women deal w the challenges we all face. Some stories are worse than others. My saving grace was always my sense of humor. Somehow I could turn the most horrible challenge in to something funny. I read a book by Carrie Fisher once called Wishful Drinking. Her life was similar to mine. What I loved about her story was her sense of humor.

        In summary, the answer to your question. I’d write a book, have it published, be a motivational speaker, earn enough money to provide for myself and children, buy my own house and never have to rely on a man or anyone to take care of me and one day write a big check to the charity I hold dear to my heart St Jude’s Hospital and give back!!

  9. Adam Faigen

    Very good Article thanks for this! I wouldn’t say I have been guided as much as been preparing for my current “position” my entire life. I am a musician just starting to get my name on the map. You’ll get signs along the way that tell you you are doing the right thing or not.. Just yesterday, for example, something told me to listen to a bands songs who liked my music on ReverbNation.. Most of the time I just thank the person who liked me, but again something just told me to listen to this band, the first song was called : Right Where I Am Supposed To Be. and I loved the second song they had (haven’t listened to any of their others yet). All I have to say is that it is true what they say: find something you love doing and you’ll never work a day in your life. Figure out your calling, then go for it with all your heart.

    • Madame Styx

      Oh love your music…esp Summer. Have to go to iTunes next…

  10. KDfrAZ

    How about a dual call? I have gotten back to my first love, making music, and it’s like opening entire dusty old wings of the mansions of the mind! OTOH, I have my current love, creating with words, and a desire to rebuild a career there sidetracked by a decade of bad health.

    Said decade may be over, but I’m still detoxing from the molds and such, and I have to budget both my time and my energy. Yet I don’t want to let go of either dream! They’re both very much a part of ME, not just interests or hobbies.

    Lissa, is there an answer for those of us who need to be twins? 🙂

    • Madame Styx

      Oh I’m excited for you! I love music…but alas lack the talent. So two talents/interests sound awesome!

      • KDfrAZ

        Madame Styx, it can be. 🙂 I do have talent, but not that extra edge that makes genius. But the talent and love give me the edges of the endless mountain meadows of the beauty and glory of music and words.

        And the music is definitely BACK! I was a pianist (not a concert artist, but a teacher) who developed wrist problems. Then, about ten years ago, I discovered two things at almost the exact same time: that organ keyboards are easier on the wrists, since the keys aren’t weighted, and that the local Episcopal congregation had an organ but no organist. I went and discovered lovely people, and I asked if I could try the organ some day, to see if the keyboard was really easier on my wrists.

        ***They HANDED me a KEY.*** Need I say more of these wonderful people?

        I became their organist, and taught myself the pedals. Now that I can play Bach preludes written for the organ, I call myself an organist. 🙂 To add to the joy, we recently got an electric piano that can be adjusted for my damaged wrists, so I have both back.

        But I don’t want to give up the words either! I had had a childhood dream of writing, and in my piano-less years had made it reality, with several books published. (Meaning that it wasn’t a fluke!) But my health had been circling the drain and finally went down. I’m going to post a second note on that, because there’s something I REALLY need to share as a warning to others.

  11. Madame Styx

    It’s 2a.m and I just woke up to readjust my leg after an angiogram for an upcoming aneurysm surgery. Came online, remembered I wanted to order your book and then found my way to your article…and laughed. Boy do I know about callings! And am the self proclaimed expert at avoidance. From wanting to quit a career because I just ‘knew there had to be more’ then doing so unexpectedly just to find that yeah there’s more but it’s hidden and ‘everyone else seems to get it but me’. Was there a secret code I missed somewhere? Ha! While I have grown by leaps and bounds I was always frustrated when told to find my passion and that’s my calling. Easy if you know what that is. But I didn’t. Or at least I did have a small little thing I did for myself. During rough patches I scribbled a stick figure w a message onto the margins of medical referrals, bills, napkins, whatever. Sometimes I’d share them for future reference on my blog. Friends started suggesting I put them in one place for others because ‘this is your calling’. But I balked…what?! My calling MUST be grander than stick figures!! But it would be in one place to share with family and friends, right? So I did and it has opened new friendships and signs and more signs. Funny thing is that just as I started to run away from those signs I found out about the small aneurysm. Grace period over…I’ve been knocked off my high horse! So I will pursue sharing my stick figures because the Universe scares me. JUST KIDDING! If you’re interested the site is MadameStyx.com

    • KDfrAZ

      I would definitely call that a calling. 🙂 It’s not just the drawings, it’s the love and wisdom in the words that go with them. Plus the humor in your handle. I’m glad of that, as otherwise the name had me wondering if you were REALLY down.

      BTW, since my own doodles are so lopsided even I don’t know what they are, I wouldn’t put yours down anyway!

  12. Angie

    Oh my gosh, Lissa, thank you so much for this beautiful email/post. It nearly brought me to tears. Happy, excited, grateful, joyful tears. Your words are so beautiful and they always resonate with me, and this one in particular resonated even more than usual, which is already a lot:) I’m sitting at the lake getting ready to meditate and I’m so happy I read this here in this beautiful surrounding. I’ll be joining you for the find your calling course, partially because I had so much fun listening to the telejam. I currently feel like I’m waiting and observing the signs from the universe, happily:) I have a good idea what my calling looks like, but it’s still become clearer and showing itself to me piece by piece. Thank you Lissa for continuing to ignite inspiration in me and for the beautiful work you do!

    • Lissa_Rankin

      Thank you sweetie. Enjoy your meditation… and I’ll see you in the Find Your Calling program!
      Much love

  13. Aleesh Rai

    Im confusd,nt able to decide whom to trust,with whom should i go. i ve a cousin, son of my mother’s own brother. for some time both families had no cntct cz of sme quarrels. 4yrs bak i went to the city whre they stay for my higher studies.my parnts cme to drop me thre,for a day we went to my cousin’s place to meet them,wen i saw him aftr 7yrs,hez so innocnt,good in studies,he ws a nyc prsn,i fall in lv wid him,sme wid him,he also fall in lv wid me, knowing dat marrying a cousin is allowd in our hindu tradition, bt we dint xpress our lv to each other. we retrnd bak hme dat day. after dat we had no cntct wid each othr for sm tym,one day wen i went to clg,i told my fr bt him,she wsso xcited nd srchd for him in facebook nd got him.she cnfrmd dat he too lvs me.we both strtd tokng to each othr without telling our parnts bt this. one day wen i ws tokng to him my mother saw me nd got dout. dat tym she told me dat “thre family is nt gud,him grndmthr use to do blckmagic nd killed ur grndparnts,they r nt good people” dat tym i trust hr,aftr sm days again she got to kno bt us nd she xplaind me dat “its bttr u leave him,they r all planning to trap u for mny,they blackmale u for mny or evn they ll evn sell u to dubai for mny,they r such cheap people.” stll i dint trust hr,nd cntnd tokng to him,mny tyms she told me,nd as usual i ignrd dat,one day cz of sm financial prbs my cousin’s fathr commitd suicide,my mother said dis is cz of that people only,de only made him die nd all.nw i strtd doutng thm,bt my cousin doesnt seem to do so,hez such a innocnt prsn,i dnt thnk he cn do so.im cnfusd,nt able to decide.if i leave him,hez goin to spoil his futre,his mthr nd brothr r depndnt on him,bt he dnt cre fr thm nd sayng dat i lv u mre thn thm. wen i ask the reasn for d sme,he usd to say that “my parnts dnt lv me,they lv my brothr mre thn me.” i dnt kno wot to do. im nt gttng any cll frm univrse.plz help me.


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