One of the dynamics I have experienced personally in my own life, and work with so many clients is this:
We keep ourselves busy and use up the majority our creative energy on other people’s projects and problems, and then run out of energy for our own creative and leadership projects.
Consequently, it is as if we almost “conspire against” our own calling and our own creative and leadership projects, either by not starting them at all, by starting but not completing them, or completing them and then going public with them. You give your power away, letting other people either influence or even determine your priorities. You end up living a kind of shadow calling, building other people’s dreams, but not fully living out your own calling, the dream that is in your own heart, that is a gift to you and the world.
For the majority of us, our calling is not our priority, earning our living is. Its highly likely you haven’t been told you had a calling and creative, and even if you have you believe you can’t or shouldn’t earn your living from your calling
My own shadow calling
No wonder so many of us end up living “shadow lives,” parallel to your true calling, with some of the same contours and textures, seductively close, but not quite it.
For me, I was leading a prominent lecture series, promoting often world renowned speakers, best-selling authors and thought leaders, whilst afraid to acknowledge my own calling and dream to become a full-time speaker, author and thought leader myself. My shadow work was close to my true calling, so it was easy to fool myself and others. But deep down, I was terrified to commit to my own gifts, talent and projects. I didn’t believe in myself, doubting that anyone would ever be interested in what I had to say. That was 20 years ago. Today, I am living my calling more fully, and I have created a body of work that I share through speaking, writing, coaching and guiding inspired leaders and I know has touched tens of thousands of people.
Taking your power and sovereignty back
Your true calling invites you to take your power back and determining your own priorities, and being more in charge of yourself. It simple but challenging, because most of us experience a lot of internal resistance to showing up with the brilliance of our own calling. It can seem easier to let other people be in charge and then moan and complain about them, rather than take charge ourselves and take responsibility for our own work and life.
A healthy and positive selfishness
An underlying belief that you may have is: it is selfish to focus on your own work, your own creative and leadership projects. So many people in the world want to keep us in our place, and not show up with our true work and calling in the world. People often want us to stay behind the scenes and stay in our place rather than be liberated.
Many of us feel deeply programmed to put others first and do what others want us to rather than what we want to do – that’s good and positive, and it also can have a “Shadow side”
You also have a deep responsibility to your own soul and your joy, well as to other people. Your unlived life of lower energy, and even frustration, can be damaging to you and those around you. When you are largely martyring yourself for others and sacrificing your own joys and passions, you can easily end up resenting others.
No-one needs to make you do your true calling – it is what you willing love to do and be. And even though you love it, you can still be well paid for doing it.
You don’t have to sacrifice your needs for the needs of others, it can be a win/win. Usually our calling is an expression of your desire to be responsive to other people, your true way of wanting to help and contribute to others.
How do you do move from work for pay to work for love?
- Ask yourself, “What is my true calling? What would I most love to be paid for being or doing?” This might also be described as a shift from “Employee mindset” to a more “Entrepreneurial mindset”
- Make the internal decision to commission yourself and hire yourself – say yes to you. Become your own commissioning director and project director. Be the King or Queen of you. Quit waiting for someone to pick you. Pick yourself. Choose to develop your true work, “behind the scenes,” to start with.
- Produce yourself, even in small ways. Ship version 1 of your work in to the world and get real world feedback. Go public with the smallest and quickest and least risky version of your work – to “prove” the concept, and observe people’s responses.
- Observe your own responses. See what emotions, feelings and experiences get triggered in you and see what resistance arises in you– handle yourself internally and grow in confidence – learn by living and doing and action
- Learn and raise the bar – gradually make bigger investments of energy and money, and take bigger risks – develop versions 2,3 4 and beyond
Commissioning yourself and putting your authentic voice, creative and leadership gifts into a world that isn’t usually asking for them is, I believe, a supreme act of courage, generosity and self-sovereignty
It often involves facing the possibility of being judged, criticised, envied, and equally painful, being met with indifference and no-one seeming to care about what we care so much about. But it is also the doorway to joy, a wonderfully meaningful life and a deep fulfilment from knowing that you are doing what you are on earth to do.
Please do live out your as yet unlived life. I am cheering you on and I honour you!
I am a leadership guide, inspirational speaker and coach. I am passionate about leadership that seeks to create the conditions for people to blossom and enable them to do their best work.
This is one of the key themes that I explore in my 16th book Be Inspired. Be Inspiring. Be Yourself – Your power to enable the best in yourself and others
You can download the first chapter as a gift now at www.iamnickwilliams.com
If you would enjoy a discovery conversation about how you can move in to more of your true calling, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a conversation.