It’s a question that most of us bump up against for decades, no matter what it is we are in the middle of doing: Is this what I’m called to do? We wonder, in the middle of our working and coaching and mothering and writing and dancing and dating and marrying and studying:
Should I be doing something else? Why am I still not sure what I’m made for?
Let us remember this first: None of us are stagnant souls. We will not be called to do the same thing in the same way for the whole of our lives. Our “calling” and our purpose in any particular season of life may shift and change, as we do. But at this start of the new year, it is worthwhile to step back from the immediacy of the demands we face in order to re-evaluate what our calling might look like in this particular time. It is valuable to seek to develop our purpose right now so that we can live fully and presently, exactly where we are.
Here are five tools to help you in uncovering and clarifying the direction and passion of your life, right now, this year.
Lara Casey has created a workbook that is packed with meaningful questions for the reader to ask herself about her dreams, her goals, and her why behind everything she does. While PowerSheets includes goal-setting priorities and visually engaging ways to see your progress toward those goals, where it really shines is as a tool to help readers clarify their life purpose and direction. Lara is the author of the bestselling Make it Happen book, and PowerSheets pairs well with that text. I found this resource to be deeply meaningful in unearthing my own desires and dreams for the coming year, and I think you will, too.
In the midst of hundreds of personality tests, StrengthsFinder differs in that it focuses exclusively on the reader’s top strengths — places of ability, insight, and influence that the individual already carries in herself. The StrengthsFinder book comes with a code for an online test that readers can take; out of 32 strengths, the quiz will clarify the top five.
StrengthsFinder is often used in businesses and organizations to help create a sense of understanding between team members, and my husband and I have found it to be deeply helpful in clarifying our strengths as individuals and in our marriage. When we understand our tendencies and gifts through the lens of strength — and how those strengths can encourage those around us — we can better see our purpose and direction in a given season of life.
When we understand our tendencies and gifts through the lens of strength … we can better see our purpose and direction in a given season of life.
This book, written by Parker Palmer, has a subtitle that says so much: “Listening for the Voice of Vocation.” I read this book in college, and still remember it as a meaningful and thoughtful tool on my journey to clarifying the direction of my life. Let Your Life Speak is a slim text that is full of questions and insights from Palmer that offer space for the reader to reflect on what her life is already telling her about her vocation and calling. This would be a wonderful book to read on your own and then, afterwards, process with a friend.
This free, online test, based on the Myers-Briggs personality types, provides the reader with pages of insights related to her type of personality. The test results reveal how each personality tends to engage in romantic relationships, in business settings, and even in parenting. 16Personalities has been helpful for me as I aim to honestly assess where I flourish and in what circumstances I tend to diminish, so that I can seek help in my life where I need it.
If you’ve felt like a square peg in the round hole of your current circumstance, this personality test might help you determine precisely what about your situation — job, relationship, responsibility — is so taxing for you, and why. From there, you can assess how to move forward healthily in this period of life.
5. True North
This book, written by Bill George and Peter Sims, seeks to help readers — especially those interested in leadership — clarify their personal direction. The book says it best about itself: “The purpose of True North is to enable you to discover your authentic leadership so that you can step up and lead while remaining true to who you are” (p. xxv). It includes insights from famous leaders and seeks to help readers grow in self-awareness on their path to revealing their own true north.
As this year unfolds, my hope is that these resources can help point you to a deeper understanding of who you are and what you are called to do while purposefully and intentionally into this year.
Do you know what you are “meant” to do? How did you discover that?
Image via Madi Ellis