Having a Life-Calling helps you to be happier, healthier, more successful and to live longer.
The research shows that if you put your Life-Calling in your work you will enjoy it more and find it more meaningful1. You are likely to work harder and be more committed, and not surprisingly, you are likely to be more successful2.
You are also likely to have a longer life3: Dr Patrick Hill at Carleton University, Canada said “…finding a direction for life …can help you actually live longer, regardless of when (at what age) you find your purpose”. You also are likely to have better health.
Happier, more successful, live longer, better health? What’s not to like?
But there is also another aspect that isn’t described very well in empirical studies. Having a Life-Calling comes with a state of being that changes your experience of life. Mature practitioners describe not just the rewards of life but how the difficulties are experienced as challenges to raise your game and to live your Life-Calling more fully. Life-Calling applies to how you treat yourself in your own inner world. It is core to your personal relationships because you apply your Life-Calling to everything. For example, my Life-Calling is “helping people blossom” and my close friends and my partner are all people who are interested in the journey of personal development and love my support on their journey. They are also interested in helping me blossom. Our relationships are about mutually supportive growth. What is core to you that you bring to your relationships?
At work a Life-Calling directly affects your level of job satisfaction and determines the meaning you find at work. The research1 shows that people in work roughly fall into three categories: some people do jobs just for the money they can spend elsewhere; others have careers because they are ambitious and want to get to the top of their profession, others have a calling to do what they love.
Individuals who have a calling are more likely to “craft” their jobs to fit their strengths and their interests. “Job crafting” is when you persuade your organisation to design your job to fit you, rather than the other way round. You can work for a big firm doing conventional stuff, and design a job you love if you are smart. A colleague was an Organisation Development Vice President in a City bank and crafted her role so that she could be an internal Executive Coach while also managing the external pool of coaches.
It should be pretty obvious to you which category you fit in – Job, Career, or Calling orientation. If you are not sure you can go the Authentic Happiness website at the University of Pensylvania and do their brief four-question test which will tell you which one you are5. The interesting thing about the questionnaire is that it compares your scores to other people who have done the test. No surprise really but my own score on Calling is higher than 80% of the other people who have done the test through the web.
An important finding of the research is that any job can serve a sense of Calling. Life-Calling is more of a mind-set than a job. Nevertheless, the extent to which you feel able to express your Life-Calling in your job influences your well-being, life satisfaction, health and longevity. So find ways to express more of your Life-Calling in your work.
My course Discover Your Life-Calling (Friday evening 23rd November, and all day saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th November) helps you clarify your Life-Calling and helps you see how it combines with your strengths -what you are great at. This combination of Life-Calling + strengths is a unique combination and is your unique gift to the world. When you also take into account the uniqueness of your own personal history and experience, what you give to the world will be entirely different to what other people give. The world is waiting to feel more of your presence. Giving your gift to the world will increase people’s joy in life and will either reduce their suffering, or at the very least be an example of how to reduce suffering in life.
“Deep down in every human heart
is a hidden longing, impulse, and ambition
to do something fine and enduring.”
1.Wrzesniewski, A., McCauley, C., Rozin, P. and Schwartz, B. (1997). Jobs, Careers, and Callings: People’s Relations to Their Work. Journal of Research in Personality, 31(1), pp.21-33.
2. Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work. New York: Broadway Books.
3. Hill, P. and Turiano, N. (2014). Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood. Psychological Science, 25(7), pp.1482-1486.Hill, P. and Turiano, N. (2014). Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood. Psychological Science, 25(7), pp.1482-1486.