4 Steps to Finding Your True Calling

Career success begins with clarifying the purpose and direction for your life and career.  Tweet 3 in my latest career success coach book, Success Tweets says, “Think of your purpose as your personal mission; why you are on this earth.  Your direction is your vision for the next 3 to 5 years.” 

The cover story of the November issue of O The Oprah Magazine (yes I read it occasionally) is “What’s Your True Calling?”  Martha Beck is the author.  I equate “true calling” with your “purpose.”  The article suggested that you “make your rational mind not the master but the tracker of your own irrational instincts.”  The idea of tracking is rooted in deductive/predictive logic.  It goes like this…

“Locate a clear footprint left by an animal you’re tracking – a so called hot track.  Make an educated guess about where the animal would probably go next.  Proceed to that spot.  Look for more tracks.  If you find no tracks, return to the last hot track make another educated guess and repeat.  Using these steps, you can follow your own wild self as it instinctively migrates toward your perfect career.”

Step 1 — Discover Your Hot Tracks (I’m paraphrasing here)

Make a list of anytime you were completely and happily absorbed in something – no matter how odd the task.

Step 2 — Predict the Next Likely Step

Look around you.  Look for the types of conditions and situations that are likely to follow that same sense of total absorption, but are just outside of your typical routine.  Try an activity in that area to see if it’s a hot track for you.  Recognize that you can follow a perfectly logical course and things might not work out.  If you begin feeling bored, hopeless, angry or anxious the trail probably has grown cold; which brings us to…

Step 3 – Return to the Last Hot Track and Repeat Step 2

Don’t continue to follow cold trails.  They lead nowhere.  Look for enjoyment, fascination and a heartfelt desire.    If a trail runs cold. Go back to your last hot track and set out in a new direction.

Step 4 – Follow Your Tracks Wherever They Lead.

Commit to following your hot tracks and they will lead you to your true purpose, the work and career meant for you. 

Ms. Beck concludes with some great career advice

“As you track your career, remember that you inner animal is following primal instincts, not established paths that will necessarily impress your parents, spouse and friends.  Their expectations – and yours – are an outdated guidance system that will on send you sideways and due south….It’s time to break out.  Let your wild self explore wild career success ideas.  Of course, if this makes you nervous, you can always grovel for a low-paying version of that civilized job you loathed. “

This reminds me of the career advice in Tweet 6 in Success Tweets. “Make sure that your personal mission and vision are what you want – not what someone else wants for you.”

The common sense career success coach here is simple.  Successful people are willing to search for — and find — their true purpose in life.  Martha Beck calls it tracking your inner animal.  When I was 20, I never would have imagined myself as a career success coach, author and blogger.  I wouldn’t have imagined it at 40.  But here I am at 60, a career success coach, author of 14 books and a daily blogger – all because I tracked my inner animal.  This may sound like some offbeat career advice, but I think it is really important to get in touch with what moves you – and find a way to make a career of it.  Here’s another example.  I have a friend who is German and has a Phd in English Literature.  Her inner animal led her to a career as an international journalist.  A few years ago she moved to a career in public relations — neither of which she would have predicted as a newly minted PhD.  What moves you?  How can you make a career out of doing what you enjoy?

That’s my take on the career advice Martha Beck dispenses in the November Oprah Magazine.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  And, if you’ve tracked down the career your inner animal led you to, tell us about that too.  As always, thanks for reading.


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