Live Your True Calling

Recently The Wish Group had our annual Winter Kick Off in Niagara Falls. The theme was centered on Top Gun and specifically around one of The Groups values of Discipline. My interpretation of the Top Gun theme beyond the integrity, energy and ambition that it takes to be one is understanding what your true calling and destiny in life is, similar to Tom Cruise’s character in the movie.

I’ve been rereading Steven Pressfield’s newest book Turning Pro which is a follow up to his amazing book The War of Art.  In this book Pressfield talks about “shadow” careers. That is to say, things we do that are not our true calling because we are afraid to or fall victim to resistance. Resistance, or the bad voice in your head, is what inhibits us from doing our work, from being a professional versus an amateur in our lives. We get a lot of certainty out of our shadow careers, but not true fulfillment. Imagine the actor who chose to be a server in a restaurant instead or the entrepreneur who took the 9 to 5 because it was a more certain path. The shadow career is a false expression of who we really are, it’s what I’ll call our fate or the way our life will turn out based on the circumstances of our life. Fate is letting your life be defined by your conditions and by fear. Fate is not destiny, destiny is something you create which has a calling to it. As Anthony Robbins says, growth equals happiness and in regards to our job in life – if we want to be happy we need to step into our destiny, into our calling.

For a long time in my life I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, a grade 8 teacher along with my father’s guidance helped me come to that conclusion. I focused much of my attention from that age until my mid-twenties pursuing that objective but it never felt right for some reason. That being said I think I would have been a good litigator and would have thrived as many living their shadow careers do. However something happened when I started my first entrepreneurial venture at the age of 28, it was like the universe hit me with a burst of energy and what became clear to me was that my true calling in life was being an entrepreneur and the result of that revelation changed my life so profoundly that my life’s purpose now is having others live their calling and expressing it with passion.

I’ve been on my destiny path for a few years now. At first I wasn’t even aware that it was my destiny and it started out terrifying and although it’s often still scary, I keep reminding myself that part of living your destiny and not your shadow career is being able to live with and even embrace uncertainty. It’s about declaring that you love how your life is currently unfolding regarding of whether you’re currently dealing with a breakdown or breakthrough. It’s about trusting that God or the universe always has your back and realizing you have a gift and your job is to give that gift to the world. It’s about doing what’s right, rather than what’s easy. It’s about turning pro and showing up to do your work- whether you are inspired to or not.

Are you living in your shadow career? Are you bound by fate or creating your destiny? Take the leap like I did years ago and you will be surprised at how graceful the transition will be and how joyful your life will become.

Let the storm pass, it will be alright!

It seems that floods are the new norm in North America these days, after the hurricane that hit the East Coast of the U.S. last year, the devastating flooding in Alberta, and the now famous Toronto flood of July 2013. I’ll never forget the drive home that night, the rain seemed to get stronger and stronger and within no time the water levels had caused mass flooding, citywide blackouts, and Internet and cellular service to go down. I remember that evening at home being so eerie, with no working cell phone or power to watch television I had no connection with the outside world until well into the next day. 

When I finally got access to a television I was shocked at the impact of the storm. Subway stations completely flooded and inoperable, trains stranded with thousands of passengers aboard for several hours, not to mention hundreds of flooded basements leaving residents with quite the mess to clean up, lost mementos, and insurers with a financial disaster.

What was so interesting to see in moments like this is how people responded.  Some people loved the power being out. Some people loved the loud crackle of the thunderstorms. Some people loved the lightening. Others – not so much.

We witnessed people coming to the assistance of their neighbors, officers and fireman working through the night in small inflatable rafts in order to rescue people in need. It was fascinating to me to see how people respond in moments of uncertainty. I have come to believe that it is our response to the uncertainty of life that greatly determines the outcome of our lives. When you get uncertain – do you run or do you press on? Do you run to alcohol, drugs, sugar, sex or food? Or do you drop down on your yoga mat or meditation pillow and do some inner work?

Are you afraid of the storms of life (because we all have them) – or do you welcome them all as teachers?  I’m not generally afraid of storms; my uncertainty trigger is not having enough money to get by. When that gets triggered for me, it’s very hard to see it as a lesson, because I’m fearful that my survival will be challenged. What works for me is to go within and surrender to my higher power, all my fears, all my doubts and all my worries. And then with a little help from my friends and amazing partners in business I begin to take action. Action towards my dreams, action towards serving others and action towards fixing the problem.

I have learned to not let my response to uncertainty run my life, but instead choose my response to uncertainty and welcome it as a natural part of life.

So – what do you do when you face uncertainty?  Is there a healthier way for you to deal with what’s going on in your life right now? By finding the strength within ourselves and from those around us, we can overcome obstacles and create better habits to weather life’s storms.