On a crisp fall morning, I had the opportunity to enjoy a weekday breakfast at a local restaurant. As I sat down with my coffee, I noticed a large group circled around tables pushed together.
I was the only other guest on the patio, so I could not help but overhear their conversation. It became obvious that they were younger retirees who gather regularly for breakfast. As one gentleman stood up to leave, one of the women called out, “You are leaving? Where do you have to go? You are retired!”
I thought about those of us who have been in the workplace for a long time and wondered how many fantasize about those kinds of breakfasts—days when we can sip coffee at our leisure and have no place to go. While this thought might be intriguing to some, it brings me little joy. Don’t misunderstand: while it is true I someday will retire from my day job, it also is true that I will continue to pursue my calling until the day I die.
Christine Caine, founder of A21 Campaign and PropelWomen, recently made the comment, “What are you going to do—retire and play golf, really? As long as we are breathing, God has placed us on this earth for a purpose.”
Many years ago, I found that my calling is to use my path to help others find theirs—that my journey could serve as a roadmap for those trying to find their way. By revealing my path, hopefully others might avoid pitfalls and stumbles along theirs.
You probably already have grand aspirations for your life, as well as the determination to become the best version of your self. Following your calling is an investment in your well-being. The most fulfilled individuals in this world have learned to leverage their gifts to pursue their true passions.
So how do you discover your calling?
It’s the Thing That Gets You Up in the Morning
It resonates not just in your heart and mind, but sizzles in your soul. For me, it’s the excitement I get as I think about developing the people who work for me and seeing them achieve their goals and dreams.
It’s What Others Tell You That You Do Best
A calling draws upon your greatest gifts and deepest talents. I am often guided by this insight based on 2 Timothy 1:5-7, “Listen humbly to other people in your life: They not only confirm your gifts. They are the instruments of God to awaken in you possibilities.”
A Calling Is the Way You Use Your Energy to Make an Impact
Being the solution makes your work feel meaningful. It gives you the chance to be a hero in your own story when we get to solve a pivotal problem. In all we do, we need to feel that our actions are justified and have a measurable effect that we perceive as positive.
It’s the Moment and the Activity in Which You Feel God’s Pleasure
There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you are doing what you are meant to do. As portrayed in the movie Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner and 400-meter champion Eric Liddell described it like this: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
Unlike a job that is for a season, a calling will beckon us for a lifetime. It creates an inner drive and restlessness when we live outside of it and peace when we are embracing it and living inside of it. A job is printed on your resume. A calling echoes in your epitaph.
Consider your calling and diligently pursue it. It will make all the difference.
Dee Ann Turner is Vice President, Corporate Talent, for Chick-Fil-A, where she began her career more than 30 years ago. Her first book, It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture, reveals the secret sauce behind building and growing Chick-Fil-A’s revolutionary business model. Turner believes talent offers competitive advantage in any organization, and companies that recognize the value of individuals can succeed not just ethically, but financially as well. In addition to serving on the boards of the Kenya Project and Proverbs 31 ministry, the married mother of three is also active with a variety of family-focused missions that support women and children. For more information, please visit DeeAnnTurner.com.