There are a lot of self-help authors who will tell you to follow your
passion. I’m a believer in this philosophy and think it can be helpful.
However, following your calling is different than
following your passion. Sometimes following your calling
is more important than following your passion.
Following your passion is doing the activities that bring
enthusiasm and joy into your life and you are passionate about.
Alternatively, following a calling is doing the activities or making
decisions that bring you an inner knowing that this activity or decision
is the right thing to do. Following your passion and following your calling can overlap but not always. For example, if someone loves to write
and they also know in their heart or have an inner knowing that writing
is the right activity for them to do, then their passion and calling
However, sometimes following your calling does not overlap with
following your passion. Think about the character George Baily in
It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie displays when a calling does not overlap
with passion. The movie starts with George graduating from high school with dreams of traveling the world. However, three months later the board of directors at the George’s father’s company tell George that the
Building and Loan company will only stay open if George agrees to work
for them and carry on his father’s work. George decides then not to take
a trip to Europe in order to work for them. He also uses the funds that
he had saved to go to college to give to his brother so his brother
could go to college. George continues to work for this company because
he believed it was the right thing to do for his family and likely an
inner calling or knowing he had. Four years later, George uses money he
had initially saved in order to take his wife on honeymoon to New York
and Bermuda to instead keep the Building and Loan company solvent and
prevent investors from taking all of their money out the bank.
In this case, George was following his calling because he was doing what he believed was the right thing to do by working for the company even though his passion was to travel. We as viewers can be left questioning George’s decision. He was foregoing his personal
passion in order to follow a deeper calling inside of him to do what was
for the best and highest good. This is another distinction of a calling.
Usually a calling comes with a knowing that our decision is working on
behalf of the best and highest good. This is not always easy to
recognize, but usually we have an inner knowing or a peace that passes
understanding of what decision is for the best and highest good.
Following our calling in life does not always result in following a
passion, having more ease or joy or enthusiasm in life.
The benefits of following a calling are that we know we are
doing the right thing, even if it isn’t, easy. However, following your inner
calling usually comes with an inner peace that passes
understanding or internal satisfaction. If we listen closely, then we
will know what our callings or inner knowings or heart is telling us to
do and the benefits will be an internal satisfaction that we are doing
the right thing with our life, working towards the best and highest
good, and an internal an ineffable experience of contentment. This
feeling of internal satisfaction is always available to us when we are
following our calling if we can choose to trust in our self or Spirit
that we will not be led astray.
About the author
Dr. Matthew Welsh, J.D., Ph.D.
Founder of Spiritual Media Blog