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  • Career vs. Calling: What’s the Difference?

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    Career vs. Calling: is there a difference?

    Yep, and it’s a big one.

    Think about this: Your career is what you’re paid to do; your calling is what you’re made to do.

    I’ve seen this quoted so many times that I don’t know who to give proper attribution to. But I love it just the same.

    You could be paid to do any number of things and slap the word “career” on it. Most of us are fully capable of doing a number of things. But just because we’re capable of doing them, does that mean we should be doing them?

    I’m good at math. Really good at math (if I don’t say so myself!) But I would hate a job that required me to use my math skills all day long.

    I’m also good at cleaning. I can make my countertops shine and my floors glisten. But I certainly don’t love that either, and you couldn’t pay me to do it for a living.

    Just because we can do certain things doesn’t mean we should do certain things.

    Most people have become accustomed to equating work with drudgery. Of course it sucks — that’s why they call it work! We just accept – with a heavy sigh – that work is meant to be dreaded and that we aren’t supposed to enjoy it anyway.

    You haven’t fallen into that trap, too, have you?

    You haven’t allowed yourself to trade your time and energy for nothing more than a paycheck, have you?

    You were made with unique talents. A unique personality. And unique interests.

    And you were also made to work.

    But you were made for work that would maximize those talents. Work that would bring out the very best in your personality. And for work that you find interesting and energizing. Work that stirs your soul and ignites your passions. Work that deeply matters to you.

    Did you ever think that, in the right setting, you could do amazing things? That you truly have great potential for… something?

    You think that because it’s true.

    Your calling is the work that you were literally made to do. It’s the kind of work that you almost feel guilty cashing a paycheck for because it’s such a fit for you that it almost doesn’t feel like work anymore. You are uniquely gifted with a heart for certain types of work or causes, and you have a certain skill set that you can use within those settings.

    So the trick is to figure out how to combine the two. Can you combine your calling and your career? Can you figure out a way to get paid to do what you were made to do?

    You may be on the wrong track now. It’s okay – many are. We choose a career at a young age and join the rat race in clocking in every day for a paycheck because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do. Grow up, go to college, get a job, support the family, retire, die. It’s said that we spend a third of our adult lives working. That’s a serious chunk of time. Shouldn’t that time be spent doing something that matches the authenticity of who we are? Instead of conforming to somebody else’s mold of what they think we should do and care about, shouldn’t we be doing the things that we alone were uniquely molded to do?

    The important thing, if you’re on the wrong track, is that you recognize it and figure out how to get on the right track. Making this kind of transition won’t happen overnight, but it can be started immediately. Commit to figuring out what your life’s calling really is. Spend some time getting to know yourself. What are you really good at? What skills do you have that you absolutely delight in using? What do you care about, anyway? What kind of work would you love to do if money weren’t a concern?

    Once you figure it out, go for it with gusto. Get creative, tell everyone you know, and make it your life’s mission to align your calling and your career.

    And start today. Do one thing today, and one thing tomorrow, and the next and the next, that will propel your turnaround from cashing in at a J-O-B to fulfilling your potential in the work that you were made for.

    LEGEND Talent Management works with mid-career professionals who are ready to find the work that they are made to do. Our Career Assessments, which can be taken online in 60-90 minutes, can help match your unique abilities, interests and personalities to careers that are most likely to be a natural fit. To schedule an assessment, please contact us at