Leadership: Claim Your Calling

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.

 


 

N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images


Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

34 Responses to “Leadership: Claim Your Calling”

  1. Terri Klass

    22. Apr, 2014

    Love the idea of “Claim Your Calling” as it evokes the need for action in each of us!

    It is true that we often need to pursue the choices that challenge us to grow. The balance comes with knowing how to integrate our passions with our stretch. I find that by reflecting often and taking stock in what drives me and makes me happy is critical in my evolving leadership.

    Really got me thinking, Lolly with your insightful post!

    Terri

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. May, 2014

      As Emerson stated; “I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.”

      Reply to this comment
  2. Panteli Tritchew

    22. Apr, 2014

    Lolly,
    A deeply moving and powerful post that resonates wonderfully on almost primal levels. So may questions arise as we read Ella’s story: Who am I? Why am I here? What was I meant to do? What was I meant to be? What is my destiny? Can I fulfill it? How will I fulfill it? What if I fail? What is my life’s purpose?

    Yet, we often ignore these fundamental questions of human being to dwell on their lesser kin: Why do I keep failing? Why don’t people see my gifts? Why don’t others understand me? So many On the Waterfront moments, for so many of us, so often: “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody…”So unnecessary.

    If we don’t listen to our inner voice, as you say, “ Whatever it is, eventually it will call you out. It reveals itself in hints, intuition, sudden urges, and oddities.” We can’t all be opera stars, but we each have our song. We can’t all be dancers, but we each have our dance. We can’t all be artists, but we each have our canvas.

    We can’t all scale Everest, but life offers each of us new summits daily. If we can “Seize the common everyday moments and make them part of [our] purpose,” then each small moment becomes a toe-hold to the next, as we belay and bootstrap ourselves to the Opera House of our own choice and our own making.

    Thank you .

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. May, 2014

      Keep an open mind about what it takes to feel inspired.

      Here’s a question that Ralph Waldo Emerson posed: “We are very near to greatness: one step and we are safe; can we not take the leap?”

      One step. Surely you can take one step for your own inspired greatness. . . .

      Reply to this comment
  3. Beth Tabak

    22. Apr, 2014

    Love this, Lolly!

    Imagine our loss, and the loss to the world, if Ella had been influenced to dance instead of following her heart. Let this be an example to all of us to reach forward into what intrigues us, what inspires us, and allow us to grow through action into ‘who we’ve never been’ while sharing and allowing the world to benefit from the full expression of our souls.

    Exceptional piece!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      22. Apr, 2014

      I love what you wrote Beth, Let this be an example to all of us to reach forward into what intrigues us, what inspires us, and allow us to grow through action into ‘who we’ve never been’ while sharing and allowing the world to benefit from the full expression of our souls.

      True words, heartfelt sentiments.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  4. LaRae Quy

    22. Apr, 2014

    Love this sentence: “You don’t become great because of what happens to you but because of how you use those experiences.”

    So true, Lolly.

    And to me, you are a great example of how to make that happen 🙂

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. May, 2014

      The garden of the world has no limits except in your mind.

      Its presence is more beautiful than the stars, with more clarity than the polished mirror of your heart.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Alli Polin

    23. Apr, 2014

    It takes a lot of courage to sing when everyone expects you to dance. It’s the kind of courage that we all need to cultivate to dream, create and live our dream instead of someone else’s.

    Love this, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. May, 2014

      “If we examine every stage of our lives, we find that from our first breath to our last we are under the constraint of circumstances.

      And yet we still possess the greatest of all freedoms, the power of developing our innermost selves in harmony with the moral order of the Universe, and so winning peace at heart whatever obstacles we meet.

      “It is easy to say this and to write this.

      But it always remains a task to which every day must be devoted.

      Every morning cries to us: ‘Do what you ought and trust what may be.’” — JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

      Reply to this comment
  6. Ryan Biddulph

    23. Apr, 2014

    When we do what moves us Lolly we’ll have found our calling. The energy sings to us 😉 Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. May, 2014

      Remember the words of Michelangelo: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

      When we materialize our aim too high and our expectations are disappointed. It is best to reacquaint ourselves with the vision and begin living an inspired life . . .

      Reply to this comment
  7. Karin Hurt

    23. Apr, 2014

    A beautiful post, thank you. It’s exciting to watch people as the calling comes busting out… as if it’s been being called from something on the outside, and at the same time combusting from the inside.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      23. May, 2014

      As we move toward heeding the ultimate calling, we no longer live exclusively “in the world,” as we know it. we all have greatness awaiting us.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Claire Farnell

    27. Apr, 2014

    “Follow your heart”, do you what your heart says… and you’ll never go wrong. Oftentimes our fears leave us to inaction, but when we take the final leap to finally follow what our heart constantly says it must do, we discover that everything falls into the right place like destiny. You meet the contacts you need, the situations and opportunities a=our created. All it takes is that one leap of faith, to claim what you are destined to be. Thank you for this great article. It motivates me to pursue and continue my calling.

    Reply to this comment
  9. lollydaskal

    23. May, 2014

    When life tends to get too complex, too fast, too cluttered, too deadline oriented, or too type A for you, stop and remember your own spirit. You’re headed for inspiration, a simple, peaceful place where you’re in harmony with the perfect timing of all creation. Go there in your mind, and stop frequently to remember what you really want.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Mahal Hudson

    13. Sep, 2014

    I was compelled with the “claiming” of your true calling. Rooted from courage and passion that makes us alive and not just with what we can do.

    Same as leadership, it has been discussed, debated, researched and written while the bottom-line is being a great leader simply means seeking your true calling in order to claim that greatness to fully serve with your full hear and soul.

    Reply to this comment
  11. voyance

    30. Nov, 2014

    Everything is very open with a precise description of
    the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site
    is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to this comment
  12. AhmetBarkuş

    18. Jun, 2015

    Teşekkürler Lolly
    Bakiniz her İnsan ister gereken konumda Lider olmak fakat bu mümkün değildir bakın dünyada milyar insan var ortalık liderlerden geçilmez yani örnek fakat gerçektende liderlik durumunu bulunduğunuz ortamlar sizi aaliderliğe yönlendirir tabiiki kişilik bilgi çözüm öngöüğü karşınızdaki anlama hoşgörü milletin takdiri birbirine bağlantılı olarak sizi liderlik konumuna yönlendirir size sağlıklı günler diliyorum
    AhmetBarkuş

    Reply to this comment
  13. Imran Ali Rathore

    14. Feb, 2016

    As usual, a great inspiring post! Thanks for this instrumental work you do all the time!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Kiran

    28. May, 2016

    Thanks for sharing….

    If you want to be someone you’ve never been, you must go do things you’ve never done. –

    Thanks for sharing…..

    Reply to this comment

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