Is it a Calling or a Mission?

Lately I’ve been thinking about what my life was like when I started this blog and how it is now.  When I first created the blog, I chose to it describe it as A journal of my life and inspirations as I jump out of the corporate world and try to find my calling. And be a mom.  It’s been over two years since I quit my corporate job and started blogging, and a lot has happened since then.  But have I found my calling yet?  Not quite.  Is it hidden out there somewhere?  Behind a tree? Just waiting for me to find it and say, “Oh there you are you silly thing.  I’ve been looking all over for you!”  Probably not.

Then the other day I came across this quote from the playwright George Bernard Shaw:

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

and it made me think that a “calling” isn’t something you find either; it’s something you create.  And it’s something your create continually, your whole life.

So I decided to look up the definition of “calling” and here’s what Google gave me:

While the first definition may seem appropriate, especially the example, please look at the second one.  I love the words:  “A strong urge toward a particular way of life.”  That’s it!  The perfect way to describe my desire to find a calling.  It is so much better than defining it as just a “profession” or “occupation.”  It implies something so much bigger, so much more all-encompassing.  It’s not about me trying to figure out the perfect job, it’s about me trying to figure out the perfect lifestyle.

So, what is the way of life I’m urging for?  I decided it was time to articulate that.  I decided it was time for me to write my mission statement, just like we used to do in the corporate world.  Here’s what I came up with:

It is my mission is to live a balanced life, by doing work that I love, that makes the world a better place, while raising great kids, having fun, and staying healthy.

What do you think?  Yes, I know it is a little vague – especially the generic statement “doing work I love” (which implies making money too) but leaving it generic leaves room for change, for growth, to fill in the blanks, to try new things, to expand over time.

Which leads me back to where I was when I first quit my job and started this blog versus where I am now.  On the outside you may not see much difference – I still look basically the same, so does my house, my friends, and what I do for fun.  But so much has changed!  My relationship with my husband and kids is so much better, so much more peaceful.  I am personally so much more peaceful as I slowly, and patiently, keep figuring out how to build and live an integrated life that works best for me and my family.

What I know for sure is that it is important for me to be in charge of me, to be in charge of my own time, to be able to integrate my work, family, friends, and other activities in ways that aren’t easily done by having a typical salaried job.  I need my freedom.  I need to be creative.  I need to make “enough” money, but I also need to feel like what I am working on is somehow making the world better – not in some grandiose way, but in a way that is right for me, that reflects who I am.

Right now that includes: building websites, making pillows, facilitating Krypton, bookkeeping for Todd, blogging, being there for my kids, and spending time with people I love.  Right now I want to build well-designed websites that help my clients get their message out; make pillows that are beautiful and inspirational; help each member of my Krypton group to succeed by learning together and supporting each other; help Todd have a successful ironwork business; and write in my blog regularly to keep up my momentum, to share ideas, and to work on my writing skills.  I especially want to be with my kids as much as possible and be a good role model for them.  I want them to see and understand the things I’m doing, the choices I’m making, and be part of this journey.  Because most of all I want my kids to be happy, and amazing, and able to make the world a better place in their own unique way.

So I’ve changed the description of my blog to reflect my new mission statement.  It only took two years to figure it out.  Ha!  I’ve also added some new tabs in my menu bar – links to my other endeavors.  I’ve decided it’s time to integrate it all.  I’ve been putting it off, thinking those areas weren’t good enough or developed enough yet, which they might not be.  They certainly aren’t perfect.  But as Seth Godin says, “Perfect is the enemy of good” and this feels good.

When I quit my job it was a scary leap into the unknown, but I could no longer remain in a corporate culture that felt so stifling.  I still have so much to figure out, especially financially, but I love my new life, and I’m excited about the future.

A friend of mine recently sent me this poem by Wendell Berry which I adore, and which I think really puts this journey of mine into perspective:

The Real Work:

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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