I was recently at a seminar with Ben Harvey and he has a favourite saying, which I liked a lot:
People on a mission have no competition.
This is a catchy way of saying the same thing that sages, saints, seers, and all the great wisdom traditions have been saying for thousands of years. There is something you do in a particular way in a particular context that is your gift to the world. The Greeks called it your ‘telos’. The Vedas refer to it as your ‘dharma’. You might think of it as your calling.
Talk to anyone who has found their calling and they will tell you they are on a mission. Describing it as ‘work’ doesn’t do it justice, as work suggests a reward for effort paradigm. Payment for suffering.
Pursuing your calling is anything but ‘work’. It’s where you discover the flow, where creativity and success flows to and through you, where time stands still and synchronicity becomes profound.
The truth is, you are designed to find and live your calling. Just like everything else on this planet, you were born with an inner drive to express life and be all you can be. You were wired to experience without judgement, to play without attachment. You were in the moment.
And then you grew up – in a society saturated with arbitrary judgements of good and bad, right and wrong, success and failure. Assessment by comparison was constant.
What you probably learned as you got older was that it was not OK to be you. Rather, you realised you needed to fit into the box of expectation set by your parents, family and friends. If you couldn’t fit into that box or you resented the control, perhaps you rebelled or didn’t try at all. Either way, you stopped being who you were and gave up on your right to have and express your calling.
For many, this sets the framework of life, an experience lived deep in the ego and driven by fear and judgement. It’s not surprisingly, then, that the No 1 regret of the dying (as reported by Bronnie Ware) is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Nothing else in nature manages to get in its own way so successfully. The great news is, your calling is still your calling. No one can take it away from you and it’s never too late. After all, Robert Ludlum was a failed actor and didn’t write his first book until he was 41. Colonel Sanders loved cooking chicken for his restaurant guests at his petrol station until the highway bypassed it. He started KFC at 65, almost penniless.
You were born to find and live your calling – if you don’t, you’ll look back and regret that you wasted this miraculous opportunity to be all you could be.