I have been thinking about leadership and courage recently, 2 attributes that I think you need in your search for a calling. I think you can develop leadership and courage by taking small steps and practicing whenever you have the opportunity.
One small step that I think anyone can take is to declare yourself.
Sometimes we hesitate to declare ourselves. It’s not always fashionable to commit to a particular cause or position. Sometimes, I find myself making assumptions about people who are X, so I hesitate to associate myself with them. But when I hold myself back from organizations or causes or ideas that I in fact DO believe in – for reasons of political correctness, or popularity, or coolness – then I limit my own ability to make a difference. I’m not saying you have to declare yourself in every area of your life. But you hesitate to declare your affiliation with something that is, in fact, important to you, whether it’s due to embarrassment, convenience or social standing, consider whether your hesitation makes sense – and whether you might actually gain something from declaring yourself.
And consider – when others declare themselves, how do you react (internally and externally)? Does your reaction make sense?
In that spirit I declare myself a:
- Feminist. How could I not be? I’m a woman, I believe in women’s rights and strength, my best friends are strong women, I went to an all-girls’ school, for goodness sake? I think we ALL benefit when women have equal rights. But I have hesitated to identify myself as one of “Those women.”
- Christian. Even more – a Catholic, and a convert. I cherish my local church (AND I find this branch of Christianity confusing, maddening, illogical. yet I love it.) My church is imperfect. AND my church is MY path and connection to God. I don’t want to be in the same group as those crazy guys on the television talking about deals with the devil. Yet, I am. Sometimes you can’t choose your (religious) family. I wonder if Muslims feel the same way. Are there any lunatic Buddhists out there?
- Democrat. And often, a liberal. And I love my crunchy granola tree hugging brothers and sisters. But boy, this family can be nuttier than a tree full of squirrels. And when the politicking gets bad, I want to hide with my disenchanted conservative friends.
- Writer/storyteller. There. It’s out there. That didn’t feel so bad.
So – are you envisioning horns sprouting from my head? Is anyone with me? Declare yourself! Consider taking this one small step, like your very first psychic push-up on your quest for a calling. It gets easier over time. And then, once you get used to it, you’re ready to ask yourself, “If I’m an X, what do I do?”