Your Livelihood vs. Your Calling

Finding Your Passion

What happens when the company you love does not love you back?  Or, when you give 100 percent in the day-to-day race for your career and still leave the office feeling stuck, empty, overlooked and underutilized?

It is very rare to hear people say they absolutely love their work and are fulfilled in what they do.  Yet, the majority will choose to survive in a job instead of thrive in their calling.

There is a difference between your livelihood and your calling.

Your livelihood is simply the job or career that creates a steady revenue stream for your household.   We all need a livelihood to eat and pay the bills, and many people achieve a degree of measurable success in their careers.  But, success does not always equal fulfillment.

Many people base their self-worth on their job status.  But, do you ever feel like your life is bigger than the work you get paid to do?

Therein lies your calling.  Your calling is work that inspires and drives you, and work that exercises the unique abilities, gifts, talents and any other innate qualities that naturally shape the person you are.  When you live out your calling, you feel strong, confident and alive.  You become noticed and recognized more, your value increases, and you are fed with endless opportunities because it is your gifts that make room for you.

Identifying and living out your calling give your life real meaning and significance, leaving an indelible imprint in the life of others.  The ideal is to make a livelihood out of your calling.

So, how do you know what you are called to do?

Start by writing down tendencies that are natural and energizing to you.  What do your friends, colleagues or spiritual advisors repeatedly say you do well? What jobs are you doing when people praise and affirm you the most?  Where do your thoughts naturally drift when you daydream?  For what opportunities do people look to you to lead or execute at home, work, church and in the community?  Look for common themes, and pretty soon your calling will come into focus.

It is so liberating and fulfilling to be the person you uniquely are and get rewarded for it!  If you are not maximizing your talents in your career and lack inspiration in what you do, then consider a different job because your opportunities and personal fulfillment will be limited.

Juliet Hall is Senior Manager of Community Affairs, Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Director of External Affairs, Chick-fil-A Foundation.