What is a true calling anyway?

When I experienced my own weight gain/weight loss in college, I knew immediately that some day I would work full time in the fitness and wellness field.  I just didn’t know in what capacity.  Nearly four years ago I left the corporate world and entered the wellness field full-time.  With each passing year I evolved creating more of my “right work”.  And yet for as much as I love what I do, I felt disconnected from it.  Something was missing.

Then I downloaded and read the new ebook by Tom Volkar of Delightful Work (and more recently The Big Link Rally), 9 Compass Points of the True Calling Process.  It left me wondering:

What the hell is a true calling anyway?

No, that doesn’t mean Tom’s book was a bust!  Actually this is what I loved about the book.  The opportunity for self-inquiry and the final push I needed to fill in the missing puzzle piece.

I realized the missing link in my work is me.

I haven’t shared my story, my reason for choosing this work, my experiences, my struggles.  Past beliefs told me it’s not appropriate – people don’t need to know.   The reality is, my life experiences shape every single thing I do and believe, personally and professionally.

And in that moment, everything clicked into place.  A new excitement and clarity replaced the disconnect.

Have you ever expressed an inkling of curiosity about your own true calling? Then consider downloading Tom’s free ebook, 9 Compass Points of True Calling Process.  Regardless of where you are in the process, this resource will make you think and act. It won’t tell you what your true calling is, you are the only one who can answer that question. It will provide an opportunity for self-reflection and inquiry in an easy to digest step-by-step process.  Only if you’re ready.

Tom is bold, thinks big and pushes (with compassion!) others to do the same.  As a big thinker and dreamer myself, I appreciate that style.  If you know deep down there is something greater calling you, what he has to say might resonate.

Tom recently launched a new site – The Big Link Rally – his true calling.  On January 2 he’s hosting a live event in Pittsburgh, by the same name. You’ll spend a day with like minded people, being guided through the process of finding your true calling and connecting authenticity to abundance.

What the hell is a true calling anyway?

For me the internal struggle of “something’s not quite right” disappeared.  What I express verbally is very much connected to how I feel physically and emotionally.  A true connection has been made filled with excitement, energy and clarity unlike I’ve experienced in the past.  And in case you are wondering, I’ve identified my true calling as:  “Guiding you towards feel good living”.

Do you believe in true callings? Have you found yours? Are you living it?

Disclaimer:  The links taking you to the Big Link Rally site are affiliate links.

Did you enjoy this post? Join the community to get new articles delivered once per week.


  • http://www.workhappynow.com Karl Staib – Work Happy Now

    I believe in true callings, but in many forms. We are all so talented that it’s almost a shame to limit ourselves to one thing. For example I love Yoga and I want to teach it’s concepts, but I don’t want to be a Yoga instructor.

    I believe that I’m meant to help people work happy. It’s broad enough to use many skills, but narrow enough to define my goals.

    We need to have a broad enough true calling so we are free to explore many angles. This isn’t easy and takes a lot of self awareness, but the more we connect with God and the people around us the more clear this becomes.

  • http://www.theemotionmachine.com Steven Handel

    Interesting that you wrote about this because I just recently had a revelation about my “true calling” (which were the exact words I used in my train of thought, no less). I particularly identified with what you have to say here:

    “I haven’t shared my story, my reason for choosing this work, my experiences, my struggles. Past beliefs told me it’s not appropriate – people don’t need to know. The reality is, my life experiences shape every single thing I do and believe, personally and professionally.”

    So true!

  • http://evolvingbeings.com Evita

    Hi Stacey

    Interesting topic indeed to think about ones true calling. I belive in it, a lot. But at the same time, I feel that there has to be some flexibility in that our true calling can change throughout our life time. Perhaps we have a “few” true callings? I don’t know….

    For me a few years ago, I thought my true calling was “teaching” and it really was. Today I feel it is more “writing”. I guess if I put the two together, I love teaching with or through writing… LOL sort of makes sense.

    So yes, I do believe in true calling, but I also think that we change throughout our lives as the dynamic beings that we are, and we should not be too distraught or lost, should our “true calling” change perhaps in our life times…maybe once, maybe more. Or maybe some people would argue that if it changes, then we really have not found that “true calling” yet.

    Great topic for further discussion…

  • http://whynotstartnow.wordpress.com/ Patty – Why Not Start Now?

    Hi Stacy – I clicked over from Work Happy Now, and this is my first visit. For a long time I’ve been fascinated by callings – what they are, how we hear them, etc. And because I work with so many multipotentialed and creative people, I’ve come to the conclusion we do have multiple callings. And that callings are about both the work we do as well as other things. We can also be called to a place, an idea, a person, etc. Expanding out this notion of calling has made my life much richer. I also love the book, “Callings” by Gregg Levoy. I went to one of his workshops six years ago and it was marvelous. Thanks for the great post.

  • http://www.jungleoflife.com Lance

    Hey, what a great place for you to be!! I’m excited for you, and for what’s ahead – for where the journey takes you now!

    I do believe in true callings, and that it can take on different forms throughout our lives. It’s felt like I’ve had a bit of a revelation recently, maybe really solidifying something I’ve been thinking for a while.

  • http://biglinkrally.com Tom Volkar / Big Link Rally

    Hi Stacey, I’m enjoying this discussion. The question of many callings that Karl raises is one I see often. Being a variety freak myself I can understand. I’ve come to experience that there is one special sweet spot of service in our truest of callings. I’ve coached for 10 years and it has not met the highest standards of calling until I developed the Big Link Rally. Generally within our many interests is one group of people who are in so much pain that the mission of our calling becomes serving that distinct group above all others. The service to that group is your sweet spot of service and no other service quite hits it like that. My service sweet spot is serving authentic, spiritual individuals who are under-earning due to vocational confusion.

    Evita asks if you can have multiple true callings? My current thinking is no. We have one true calling but it does evolve into different iterations over time. Kind of what Lance said about it changing. Inner guidance is trying to speak to you and guide you in the right direction for you so you can identify and answer your call. But a true calling meets very high standards of prosperity and fulfillment and that generally means taking that truest of authentic veins within you and dedicating yourself to adjusting it until you meet those standards.

  • http://staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

    Hi Karl – Your last few sentences I completely agree with, which is why I feel really good about my new tagline and mission – it’s broad enough to allow me exploration, which is what I’ve been doing all along.

    Steven – Congratulations! It is amazing, isn’t it? Feels great and best of luck!

    Evita – Someone once told me “give them the coke, not the coke machine.” I always gave people the coke machine – yoga, my tv show, speaking. I never gave them the coke – which now is “guiding you to feel good living”…teaching yoga, speaking, writing and my plans for the tv show are all vehicles I enjoy to get that message across. But what I’ve identified as the calling, at least for me, isn’t speaking…it’s the message I’m sharing when I do speak. I agree – great topic for discussion, all of these comments have my wheels spinning!

    Patty – Welcome! yes, I often find myself “called” in different directions, and for me they all lead to one main theme. It’s pretty cool to feel and experience. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Lance – Thanks! Yes, when I look back over my life, this theme has always been there, it’s just evolved over time. Can’t wait to hear more about your revelations.

    Tom – I’m a variety freak, too – teaching yoga, speaking, TV show, blah, blah, blah. I did a quick time line of my life while answering this question and realized the theme has always been there. Thanks for getting me thinking (just what I need!)

  • http://www.lionslinger.com Walter

    Each and everyone of us has only one calling: to rediscover our true self. :-)

  • http://allaboutjoy.typepad.com Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    Stacey, I like how you boiled down your true calling into one succinct, well understood sentence. For me, I think I’m still trying to figure out what my true calling is, and I don’t like to admit that because it means I have work to do. (Eesh!) But honestly, I don’t have an overarching vision statement like you do. And to be sure, I don’t know how or what type of impact I want to leave on the world yet. I’m sure Karl would agree that from a business perspective, that’s not good! If I haven’t defined it for myself, it means others may define it for me based on my actions, which — if they’re not guided — could be all over the place!

    This post has me thinking that I need to look at Tom’s eb0ok, so thank you, Stacey.

  • http://kbkconnections.com Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

    I believe in a true calling and have followed my passion and been fortunate to work in my true calling for the past 15 years. A few years ago, my calling switched and I questioned the past decade of work until I realized that having a true calling does not mean staying static but evolving as you personally and profesionally evolve.

    Congrats Stacey on voicing your true calling and being brave to speak the truth. If more of us were able to take this risk – one that has always paid off for me and those I see doing the same thing – the world would be a better place.

    I look forward to hearing more….kbk

    Kathleen Burns Kingsbury
    KBK Wealth Connections

  • http://theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    This is an interesting conversation. I love what Walter says and rediscovering ourselves takes many forms.

    Tom and Stacey, I love both definitions of your true callings.

    Here’s mine:
    My job is to show up, have fun, do as much good as possible, share as much love as possible for as many people as possible every day.

    Thanks for making us all think, Tom and Stacey.

  • http://staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

    Walter – and that is exactly why I was able to answer the question the way I did! Thanks for stopping by.

    Megan – I totally get what your saying, especially the last line – others have defined it for me because I haven’t been clear. Now, on to rebranding! The mark I want to leave on the world has been with me 18 years, it’s just evolved in to something so much more than I ever imagined. Good luck and if I can support you in any way, please let me know. I’ve been working on that message for close to 4 years :-)

    Tess – YAY! I think that fits in very well with my mission, too…feeling good is about showing up for sure!

  • http://www.360degreeself.com Tim


    From someone still trying to figure out my true calling… I thank you for your recommendation of Tom’s eBook. I know there’s a lot of us out there…and that these are very challenging times…so I’m sure this is much needed. It is good to read about your realization, because these don’t always happen when we want them to. Good luck on your journey!

  • http://staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

    KBK – Thanks for stopping by and thank you!

    Tim – I hope you find Tom’s book useful. Thank you for stopping by and joining the discussion – all the best to you, too!

  • http://www.thelevityproject.com Katie West/The Levity Coach

    Congratulations and thank you for your inspiration. I do believe in true callings…though I think it is a new term for me. About a year ago, I looked at al the puzzle pieces of what I was doing with my coaching work and was like “Oh, hey here is how they fit together” and only then did I realize I had been working towards this path my whole life-so cool.
    And am I living my true calling? Yep. And if I can do that through my broken leg this past week….I am thinking that is pretty sweet and authentic.
    BTW I Think TOM Rocks….he is awesome.

Search the Site:

About Stacey:

Hi and welcome to the Brave Communicator blog where I write about communication as the path to well-being, trust, and influence.

I share insights, observations and interviews with brave communicators. I invite you to take a look around and bravely join the conversation. Learn more
Get Free Blog Updates


©2013 Stacey Shipman. All Rights Reserved.