It is Amateur Night at the Harlem Opera House.
A skinny, awkward 16-year-old goes fearfully onstage. She is announced to the crowd: “The next contestant is a young lady named Ella Fitzgerald. Miss Fitzgerald here is going dance for us…Hold it, hold it.”
He bends down to the girl on stage and asks, “Now what’s your problem, honey?”
A moment later he announces, “Correction, folks. Miss Fitzgerald has changed her mind. She’s not gonna dance, she’s gonna sing.”
Ella Fitzgerald gave three encores and won first prize.
She may have thought she was setting out to dance, but clearly she was meant to sing.
When we are called to do what we’re meant to do we become completely possessed.
We cannot postpone, avoid, or dismiss it.
Whatever it is, eventually it will call you out.
It reveals itself in hints, intuition, sudden urges, and oddities.
It disrupts your life. It makes its claim. You can choose to ignore it, but it will not go away.
For centuries we have searched for the right words to speak about this kind of calling. The Romans named it your genius; the Greeks, your daimon; and the Christians your guardian angel.
The Romantics, like Keats, said the call comes from the heart, and Michelangelo’s intuitive eye saw an image in the heart of the person he was sculpting.
To seek out and embrace your calling, think about these questions:
What captives me?
If you want to be someone you’ve never been, you must go do things you’ve never done. What holds your heart captive? What calls your attention? What inspires you? Inspiration is a call to proceed even when you’re uncertain of goals or outcomes. The nature of the things that excite you hold a clue to your ability to pursue them. Anything that truly intrigues you is evidence of your calling.
What do I need to overcome?
Your calling comes not from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t do. You don’t become great because of what happens to you but because of how you use those experiences. The most difficult or impossible situations are often the most essential to your calling.
How will I express myself?
We each have a unique way of expressing ourselves. True expression takes courage, and to follow your calling is about giving freedom, not gaining control. Your calling lies within the purpose that draws your heart into courageous expression.
Our lives are bigger than we are; we are here to do small things in great ways.
You don’t have to wait for great opportunities. Seize the common everyday moments and make them part of your purpose.
Each day is another chance to live our calling. It is impossible for anyone else to define you but you.
Lead From Within: Inspiration comes to us in many ways. Listen for the cues, and incorporate them in your daily living and leading.
© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.
Posted on 15. Apr, 2014 by lollydaskal.
He was an elderly man whose face had life written all over it. He sat drinking tea as he reflected on his life:
When I was young, I was full of fire and I wanted to awaken everyone. I prayed for enough strength to change the world.
In midlife, I awoke one day to realize my life was half over and I had changed no one. I prayed for strength to change those close around me, who so much needed it.
And now, here I am a very old man, and my prayer today is very simple. I pray for the strength to at least change myself
In life we must learn to first assemble the inner, than the outer.
We must first acknowledge the important rather than the insignificant.
We must recognize the great rather then the trivial.
We must first lead ourselves, and then only then we can lead others.
Whether you call it prayer, meditation, or some other name, you can each learn something every day by asking these questions and reflecting on the answers.
Who am I?
Until you identify your authentic self, it is difficult to effectively lead. When you make a conscious commitment to know yourself, develop yourself, learn about yourself, you are allowing yourself to change step by step. Knowing yourself is a process that can only take place internally.
What is my purpose?
There is an amazing sense of empowerment that comes when you identify what you are meant to do. It grows out of learning what matters most to you. Once you have it, it provides direction and focus, it brings clarity, it establishes goals. It helps you achieve results and stay connected to meaningful thought and action.
Who do I want to be?
As Michael Jackson sang, if you want to make this world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change. Who you are going to be is rooted in your talents and skills and fueled by your passion.
The only place you can truly create change is within you.
The essence of leadership is not in telling of others what to do, but in being your best self and inspiring those around you to do the same.
Lead From Within: Most of us want to make the world a better place. To do so, we must start within ourselves, where we are, making one change at a time, and we must not stop reflecting until we are done.