Have you ever felt like there’s something more? Like there has to be more to life than just “this” – this being what you’re doing now? There has to be more to what you’re doing? A purpose, a mission, a calling. Have you ever thought that what you’re doing isn’t enough?
I’m not talking about the daily grind and to-do lists of errands, dishes, dinner, bath time, homework and bedtime. I’m not talking about the doing of everyday life as a working Mom. No, I’m talking about the little bubbling up inside your soul that won’t ever go away. The heart-tap (or the two-by-four) that never lets you forget that idea, that thought, that desire to make a difference.
Do you ever feel like when it comes to THAT doing, you aren’t doing enough? I have.
For the past several years I have been working towards this goal, this dream, to change the world. I know, sounds quite lofty doesn’t it? And who am I to change the world, let alone want to change the world? Like really, what gives me the right to go down that path? Seriously!
I’ll tell you what gives me the right to want that. It’s my calling.
I recently attended the eWomen Network Platinum Summit and one of the (many) key take-aways from those three days together was the distinction between a goal, a dream and a calling. Sandra Yancey, Founder of eWomen Network, described it as this:
A goal is something you work towards. It’s nice to achieve, but sometimes you reach it and sometimes you don’t. You might fail, and oh well, so what. It was just a goal and you can always create a new one. Maybe next time you’ll not make such a big goal, or maybe you’ll choose to measure it differently. You can justify why you didn’t hit your goal and you probably won’t lose too much sleep over it.
A dream is something you think about and want. Maybe you want it really badly. But it’s out there. Far away. Just out of reach. You can see yourself there, with the big house, the happy marriage, the two perfect kids, the luxurious vacation or second island home. Perhaps your dream is to travel the world experiencing the culture and people of different lands, and maybe even tack on some speaking along the way (good for the tax write-off!). A dream is what you visualize and it makes you feel good to think about it, as it sits there among the stars.
A calling is something that lives inside you. You can’t ever get it out of your mind, even though sometimes you try. As much as you try to ignore it or stuff it back down, you can’t. You might get frustrated and overwhelmed as you pursue this so-called purpose in life, even to the point of wanting to give up. Forget it, you say, I quit. But you can’t. You can’t quit. A day goes by (maybe even just a few hours) and you pick it back up again. You put your entire soul and life into your calling, and more importantly, your calling never quits on YOU.
Now these weren’t the exact words that Sandra used to describe them; I used my interpretation and what it meant to me and it put everything into a much deeper perspective. It gave me the container and differentiation to describe how I’ve been feeling, not only to myself, but to others. I have been called to change the world. It is not something I can give up on. It’s not something I can forget about. It’s not something I can ever quit and pack up with a neat little bow on top, shoved in a drawer to maybe or never come out again.
So now what? Now I know why I get so worked up and passionate about what I’m doing. But what do I do about it?
The first thing I had to do is acknowledge that yes, this truly is a calling and not just some grande dream or shoot for the moon goal I have. It is part of me. It lives in me. Not only do I love what I do, but it is embodied within me. Intertwined with my veins like a woven basket, every reed of grass holding a purpose. Flexible and molded to the shape it has to take to make the basket work. Every piece relying on the others. An intricate pattern of thoughtful, beautiful and functional art.
So what do I do?…. I have to look at where I’m at now. What have I been doing? What are my barriers and challenges? Take stock of my choices and commitments. Look at where I’ve been comfortable and look at where I need to stretch myself (in alignment, of course – take a look at January’s post). I need to look at where I’ve placed the constraints of my “box” and break out of it. Break up with my comfort zone…
Dear comfort zone,
It was love at first sight. We made a good pair.
At first I thought you were good for me because… you knew me inside and out. I could just be myself and you never judged me. It was easy, relaxing. We didn’t have to work at our relationship. You supported me hanging around, inside your “box” and never questioned anything I did or suggested I do more. I never had to do more for you.
But it’s just not working out. I’ve changed and you haven’t. It’s time for us to go our separate ways. We have to break up because… I am ready for something more. Something more meaningful and impactful. Bigger. I want to grow, because if I’m not in growth, I’m in decay – and I’m not ready to die just yet. The world has amazing opportunities and I want to explore and experience them!
Love, the new ME
This was an exercise I did during a workshop with my good friend and colleague Dr. Erin Oksol. It isn’t a new concept to me (writing a letter to insert challenge); it wasn’t the first time I had heard about this exercise, but it was the first time I actually HEARD it – if you get what I mean.
I encourage you to look at your life this way too. What are your goals, what are your dreams and what are you being called to do? What is inside of you so deep that you can’t let it go? Once you answer that – which is pretty huge all in itself – then ask yourself what do you have to do to move forward? How can you make your box a little bigger and break out of your comfort zone?
Change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time, but the good news is change only takes one person. That could be you.
I’d love to hear what opens up for you after reading this and after giving yourself some time to contemplate those questions. I would love to support you in your calling! And I’d love to read your letter, as you break up with your comfort zone as well.
Here’s to the BEST version of YOU!
P.S. If you’d like to personally experience my work, my calling, I invite you to come to the one-day workshop I am hosting next month. You can find more information and the link to register here: Restoring The ME In Mom