What's Your Calling?
Throughout most of college, I was envious of my classmates who new with the utmost certainty what they wanted to do with their life. I'm talking about the vocational degrees, like nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and that sort of thing. While all admirable, none of that ever called to me. As much as I love people I couldn't see myself caring for the ill as well as a nurse. I couldn't see myself getting through long math classes. I couldn't see myself in a trade that clearly defined my entire career, because I did not feel called to one single degree or path. To this day, at twenty-seven years old I still don't.
Like many other creatives, I had a hard time pinning down one thing I wanted to do because quite frankly, I could see myself practicing and working lots of occupations. Some may see it indecisiveness, but I see it as my left and right brain both working beautifully together. My education became quite diverse because of my creative and analytical skills, why earn one college degree when I could complete two in the same amount of time? And I did, with a Bachelors in both Business Administration Marketing and Visual Arts. Later I returned and began to pursue a Masters degree in a completely different field, Development Practice. Explaining my educational background to certain employers didn't always make sense; some wanted to see devotion to a particular trade. However, others admired the fact that I could be creative and still had business acumen.
After five years in what we call the "real world," I often went with the flow and didn't necessarily focus on, "what's my calling?" Yet, I'd become burnt out on the 9-5 grind, frustrated by the confines of a marketing job with a defined role, and would start to desire deeper meaning in my work. Not only did I see this in myself, but I'd see this in my friend and roommates. Many had chosen trades with define career paths, and they felt like their hard work was meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Their creative minds suffered in such roles as accounting. This is not to say that vocational paths are wrong, many people flourish in them, and they certainly aren't as ambiguous as just receiving an art degree. It's the pressure of society and families insisting on their children to choose high paying and in demand occupations like pharmacists or doctors when their brains and heart all don't operate that way in the first place.
Your calling probably isn't going to be plastered on a billboard with your name on it. Some people know from childhood they want to construct buildings. For me, it was a gradual process over about seven years of self-observation, and trail and error. I had no idea I wanted to be a wedding photographer when I was in college studying fine arts. I didn't even know I wanted to study photography at first. I cried the majority of my first semester. After years of photography, marketing, and dabbling in a few other creative outlets I've come to learn my most significant strength is storytelling.
I feel called to tell stories through photos, video, and sometimes even words. I feel called to capture peoples most crucial moments in life, their love, their passion, their success, their failure, their hardship, and their tales. I feel called to share messages that will help others grow, educate them, spread compassion, and nurture faith. No one vocational degree or career path could have taken me here. The diversity of my education, my work experience, and my skills come together uniquely. Not only do I have the artistic skills to capture a beautiful image, but I also have strong analytical talents to tell a meaningful narrative. The two traits combined are impactful.
Will this always be my calling? I do not know. I believe that each chapter of our story asks something different out of us. Maybe your calling is to be a good mother. A good student. Or a good servent to God. You may serve multiple callings at once, say to be a good mother, wife, and teacher. Or a good son, volunteer, and student. I don't think our puprose in life is black and white. You're calling(s) may unveil themselves as you go. Don't wonder too much, don't feel too lost, and don't force yourself in a direction that feels wrong. Don't force a square peg through a traigluar hole, pushing yourself to fit into a career field you do not want will not be rewarding. If you're a creative soul that doesn't have a clear direction in life, do not worry. Try your many different interests and see where they lead you.
I have a few passion projects that I cannot wait to share with you later this month! I have been working alongside two women who are pursuing their calling (shout out to Jen Hunter and Chelsea Triolo), and I'm about ready to show off what we've created together! I work with individuals looking to scale their small businesses or share their stories with the world. Tell me about your calling and how I can help you at firstname.lastname@example.org