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Finding Your True Calling
By Brian Tracy

© 2012 Nightingale-Conant Corporation

The very worst use of time in life is to stay for months or years at a job for which you are completely unsuited. However, a great number of people spend their whole lives doing something during the week so that they can somehow find something enjoyable to do on the weekend.

In every case, these are men and women with very little future before them. They look upon their jobs as a form of drudgery, a penance they have to pay in order to enjoy the rest of their lives. And because of this attitude, they will seldom advance or be promoted. They will stay pretty much at the same level, moving from job to job, and always wondering why other people seem to live the “good life,” while they feel they are living lives of quiet desperation.

People who are not successful and happy in their work are those who have not taken the time to sit down and deal honestly and openly with themselves. They have not looked deep within themselves to recognize the inner treasures of talent and ability that they have demonstrated throughout their lives. They are content to do work that other people design and to achieve goals that other people set.

Over time, people who are not following their true calling begin to feel helpless. They feel that there is nothing they can do to change things. Their income rises enough only to meet their expenditures, and they worry about money much of the time. The future looks to them to be very much the same as the past. But this is not for you!

Your aim in life is to become everything you are capable of becoming, to enjoy full self-expression of your talents and abilities. Your job is to develop yourself to the point at which every day is a source of joy and satisfaction, and you have so many interesting things to do that you do not have enough time to do them. Your mission is to continually hold up a mirror to yourself and refuse to work at anything that is not an expression of everything that is good and capable within you.

It’s all about excellence

Success comes from being excellent at what you do. The market pays excellent rewards only for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance, and below-average rewards — and insecurity — for below-average performance.

But excellence is a journey, not a destination. You never really get there. You can never relax. The market is always changing, and what constitutes excellence today will be different tomorrow and very different next year and the year after.

All really successful and happy people know in their hearts that they are very good at what they do. If you are doing what you really enjoy or love, if you are following your true calling, you will know because of your attitude toward excellence.

When you have found your true calling, nothing but the best will do for you, and you will go any distance, pay any price, and overcome any obstacle to develop yourself to the point at which you are really good at what you do.

When you find your true calling, you will have a continuous desire to learn more about it. A person who is not driven to learn more about his or her field is a person who is in the wrong job. And if a person is in the wrong job and not constantly learning and growing in his or her field, that person’s value and employability are diminishing with each passing day.


When you find your true calling, you will be determined to join the top 10 percent of people in your field. You will be willing to pay any price that is necessary to rise to the top. You will be willing to start work earlier than anyone else, work harder than anyone else, and work later than anyone else.

Take a simple test

A simple test as to whether or not you are in your true calling is this: If you are doing the job that is meant for you, that uses your unique talents, you will automatically admire those who are at the top of your field. You will look up to them and want to be like them. They will be your role models, and you will pattern your work and activities after them. You will want to meet them, speak with them, read their books, and listen to their talks. The very best people in your chosen field will become the examples that give you guidance, both spoken and unspoken, on your upward journey.

Throughout the years, I have been continually asked by people what they can do to be more successful. In almost every case, these people are working in jobs that they don’t like, for bosses they don’t particularly respect, producing or selling products or services to customers they don’t care about. And many of them think that if they just hang in there long enough, the clouds will part and everything will get better.

But the fact is that you are where you are and who you are because you have chosen to be there. Nobody can help you or change your situation for you. The economic goal of your company is to hire people at the very lowest cost so that they can serve customers at the very lowest cost in a competitive market. For this reason, no one has any obligation to pay you any more than you are getting. If possible, he or she would like to pay you less.

You must become great at doing what you are doing if you want to move up. And if you don't have the inner desire to be great at your job, it means you are probably in the wrong job.

A great tragedy is the number of people who do their jobs in an average or mediocre fashion and with the idea that when the right job comes along, they will really put their heads down and do a great job. But for some reason, the right job never comes along. They are always passed over for promotions or advancement. They are always the last ones hired and the first ones laid off.

If you’re still not sure about your true calling, ask the people closest to you, “What do you think I would do the best at in my life?” It is amazing how people around you, including your spouse, your best friends, and your parents, can clearly see what you should be doing when often you cannot see it yourself.

Remember, you were put on this earth to do something wonderful with your life. You have within you talents and abilities so vast that you could never use them all if you lived to be a thousand years old. You have natural skills and talents that can enable you to overcome any obstacles and achieve any goal you could ever set for yourself. There are no limits on what you can be, have, or do if you have your true calling, and then throw your whole heart into doing what you were made to do in an excellent fashion.

When you look back at your life, just HOW PROUD will you be?

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