If someone asked what your life’s calling is, what would you say? Have you already found and achieved your best life pursuing your passion, or are you still on a journey to discover your calling?
Finding the right path that feels fulfilling and meaningful while matching your skills and interests can seem like a pipe dream. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who found your calling early on, sometimes we change as we grow, and maybe your calling has changed, too.
In a 2020 survey across 27 countries, 48% of participants cited “feeling my life has meaning” as a key component of their overall happiness level.
If it were easy, everyone would have found it already and be living happily ever after.
In most cases, finding your calling is a journey of self-discovery. It’s not a lighthouse shining a bright, constant beam through the darkness. It’s more like chasing the subtle, flickering lights of elusive fireflies. You have to slow down, pay attention, and follow the signs.
In this article, we give you some of the traits that can help you find your real purpose.
Your calling is the culmination of multiple factors. At the heart of these factors is ikigai, or your “reason for being.”
Finding your calling can be a long journey. You need to have six basic traits for the best chance of success.
Embrace your creative expression, dreams, natural talents, willingness to try new things, self-reflection, and patience.
6 traits to help you discover your calling in life
Your calling is more than just what you’re good at or what you love. It’s a combination of factors that overlap and compound upon one another.
At the core of these layers is ikigai, which is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” It’s an important balance of your skills, passions, purpose, goals, and desires.
To achieve ikigai, you first need to discover your calling. These six basic traits are an important part of the journey to find what makes you truly happy in life:
1. Creative expression
The more you explore your creativity, the more chances your calling has to manifest itself.
Creative expression is easier when we’re young, and we have ample free time to play with blocks, explore the outdoors, draw, dance, and be our true selves. No inhibitions, responsibilities, and financial pressures to distract us.
As an adult, it’s harder to block out unstructured time for these “unproductive” activities when there are chores to do and bills to pay. But if you’re hoping to discover your calling, it’s a necessary step.
Do you keep a dream journal?
It can be an immensely helpful tool if your subconscious is secretly searching for your calling while you’re drifting through dreamland. Take some time upon waking to reflect on the dreams you remember.
Where did your dreams lead you? How did you feel when you were in certain places? Are there recurring people, objects, and themes?
Dreams aren’t meant to be taken literally, so don’t expect them to be a magical beacon pointing at your purpose in life. If it were that simple, this article could end here!
Your dreams are more like a secret message that needs to be decoded. And to make it even more difficult, our brains are wired to quickly forget dreams when we wake up. But if you’re a vivid dreamer, that’s a powerful trait that can help you discover your calling.
3. Natural talents
What are you really good at? Is there something that comes naturally to you, as if you’d mastered it in a past life and were born to do it again in this life?
Pay close attention to your natural talents—they may offer valuable insight, even if it’s not a direct translation to your calling.
For example, maybe you have a gift for playing piano. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re destined to become a famous pianist, but perhaps you’ll find another door in the music world. Maybe you were meant to write songs, teach students, work in a production studio, or make instruments… the list could go on and on.
Your ikigai might be closely related to your natural talents. See which doors open when you explore related activities.
4. Willingness to change your routine and try new things
Getting comfortable in your regular routine is a fast way to give up on finding your calling.
Some people are naturally restless and eager to switch things up. For others, breaking out of their normal rut is a daunting, terrifying notion. This can be a major separation factor between those who seem to find their calling quickly and those who don’t.
Discovering happiness isn’t a passive process. If you sit back and wait for your passion to fall into your lap, the chances of ever discovering your calling are minuscule.
Don’t wait for lady luck to hand you a gift. Change is hard. Trying new and uncomfortable things is hard. It’s easier to just give up and go with the flow.
One of the most important traits that is absolutely crucial to finding your passion is the ability to self-reflect.
This requires tuning out external distractions, sitting with your inner self, and exploring your own thoughts, emotions, desires, and goals.
Different people have different preferences for how to practice self-reflection. Some of the most common techniques you can try include:
Taking a walk in nature
Speaking aloud to yourself
Doing breathing exercises
Self-reflection is the key to self-awareness. That key can unlock many new doors for you, including your calling in life.
Searching for your calling probably won’t be a quick, easy journey. It takes a lot of trial and error, risks, and changes.
You must have patience if you’re going to persevere and find what you’re looking for. Those without patience are prone to throwing in the towel and settling back into the same old routine, even if they’re miserable.
We learn through failure. If you don’t discover your calling on the first try, or the second, or the fiftieth, don’t despair! Have patience. Keep going.
Discover your calling and find your purpose in life
It won’t be an easy journey. But finding your calling and achieving ikigai is 100% worth the work to make it happen.
With a lot of patience, perseverance, and a willingness to break out of your comfort zone, you just might discover a sense of happiness and fulfillment that you were missing before.
Are you still searching for your calling? Join our team and find your passion!