Where to Find Your Calling
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Where to Find Your Calling

Hidden lessons from a younger you

Most kids like to collect stuff, but they usually collect normal things like Pokémon cards or interesting rocks. When I was a kid, I collected completely useless facts. My family teased me for starting every few sentences with the phrase, “Did you know…” I still remember this one:

Did you know Americans eat an average of eight pounds of pickles per year?

(Now 35 years later, this is still true by the way.)

When we were predicting what jobs all of us would have as adults, everyone in my family predicted that I would be a college professor. And I considered it seriously for a semester of my freshman year, until one of my professors told me that it wasn’t worth it. :P I decided on law school and a legal career, instead.

After an unexpected set of career twists and turns, I’ve now been a professor for 18 years. I love my job, and feel so fortunate to do what I do.

You may be struggling to find your calling in life. It’s an exceedingly common experience. If this is you, or someone you know, I hope this idea is helpful.

Look back

In my very first episode of the How to Help podcast, I recruited the help of my fellow-professor and friend, Dr. Jeff Thompson. He’s a leading scholar in Calling and how people find purpose and satisfaction in their work.

Here’s one of the tips he offered in that interview: If you are trying to figure out your calling in life, look to your childhood. What were you naturally drawn to?

And don’t think just about topics like dinosaurs, ballet, math, or soccer. Think about the way you enjoyed spending your time, or the role you played in your group of friends, or what people trusted you to do for them. Most people have natural talents and interests that can be traced back to their childhood years. One of mine was a fascination with knowledge and an instinct to share it.

Your calling is calling

Despite early discouragement from a professor, I still found my way into teaching. Once given the opportunity to teach a class as an adjunct professor, I was almost shocked at how much I enjoyed it. That first class led to more opportunities and to the job I have now. It wasn't a path I either predicted or crafted, but it was one that was evident in a younger me.

If you’ve struggled to find your calling, I strongly recommend the interview with him. And take courage! Jeff is convinced from his research that all of us have gifts that we can offer the world. If you’re still not sure what yours might be, know that an expert in calling believes in you.

What are some of your childhood talents or gifts that you could put to work today?


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT