Many people are in the dark as far as their calling is concerned. They don’t know what they are called to do and simply drift along without a definite sense of purpose. These people are willing to settle for any job as long as the pay is good, forgetting that work isn’t just about the paycheck, but the contribution made and the fulfillment derived from it. Work, in the real sense, ought to be a means for the fulfillment of your calling. So, if your job isn’t helping you to fulfil your calling, then you need to rethink that job because you’re playing in the wrong position. It’s like putting a striker in a defensive position; he will never give you his best until you play him as a striker.

I like to briefly share the story of Rich Stearns who graduated from Cornell University and later took an MBA from Wharton. Work came easy and over time, he rose to become the CEO of Parker Brothers and Lenox Inc. Life was good; he had a big house, fancy cars, nice family and a secure job, but he had no fulfillment from his job. Something kept telling him that there was more to him than budgets and flow charts. So when in 1998, World Vision invited him to be their CEO, he saw it as an opportunity to do a job that aligned with his gift. So, he accepted the offer even though it meant a 75% pay cut and moving his family across the country. But looking back, Rich Stearns exclaims, “This is the fulfillment of who I was created to be…I’ve found my stride…I wonder why I waited 23 years.”

Rich Stearns spent 23 years of his life doing jobs he derived no fulfillment from before he eventually found the one that caught his heart – the one that brought him the fulfillment he longed for. How then can you also discover and live your calling? I recommend the following six steps:

  1. Get started by doing a SWOT analysis: Compile a list of your basic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.


Your gifts, talents and natural abilities

Your passion

Your skills

Your education

Your previous experience / achievements

Your desire / Interest

Your hobbies



Not self-motivated

Lack of required skills, training and education

Alcohol, smoking, and women/men

Emotional weakness


Lack of personal organization


Relationships; family, friends, colleagues, associates, partners, etc.

Your environment

Membership of social / professional groups and associations

National / international prizes, competitions, contests, and awards

National / international scholarship and fellowship programs

The internet / social media




Lack of will-power, determination and drive

Lack of capital










































A SWOT analysis table


Use the table above to take inventory of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will give you clarity as to what you can do and what you cannot do.

  1. Find and Follow your passion: We all have things we’re passionate about: things we naturally just love to do, things that make us come alive every time we have an opportunity to do them, and things we envy other people doing. Passion is fire. It creates fire in your heart, and provides the fuel that keeps you burning. Being passionate about something is like being on fire, or to simply be consumed or obsessed about it. Sometimes you really can’t explain why, but for some inexplicable reason you just get consumed with something to the extent that it becomes the most important thing you want to live for. People’s callings are often connected to the things they are most passionate about.

  1. Find out what gives you fulfillment: The Idoceonline Dictionary defines fulfillment as “The feeling of being happy and satisfied with your life because you are doing interesting, useful, or important things.” What one thing have you always wished you could do or accomplish in life? Fulfillment is that indescribable sense of joy and accomplishment that comes from doing what you truly love and are passionate about. Money doesn’t guarantee fulfillment from a job, fulfillment comes from doing what you love. When your work means more to you than just working to earn a paycheck then you have found your calling.

  1. Think back to your childhood days: As a child what did you want to become in the future? What things naturally came to you back then? What did you enjoy doing most as a child? Natural abilities are usually more discernible in children than in adults. That’s because they have a lesser sense of inhibition. Children are generally more expressive than adults. Many of us were a lot more creative and daring in childhood than in adulthood. As kids we were more disposed to trying things and less ashamed of making mistakes. We didn’t quite bother about screwing up because we knew we were only kids and people would easily overlook our mistakes.

If you don’t have memories of your childhood, find out from the people you grew up with like your parents and elder siblings.

  1. What do you often get praised or commended for? We all sometimes get praised every time we do something remarkable. What do people tell you you’re good at? Sometimes, it is easier to identify potential in other people than we do about ourselves. The people we come in contact with everyday can be mirrors with which we learn certain things about ourselves. Take a look at all the things you have tried over time, what have you been really exceptional at? What has brought you the most commendation? From your encounter with people, what do they seem to have discovered about you?

  1. Think about your success story: How do you want to make a name for yourself? What do you want to be known and remembered for? What would you like said about you at your funeral? We often know very little about people until at their funerals, where their life’s stories are printed and read to the whole world. It’s at a man’s funeral that his entire life is reviewed and all his achievements and accomplishments revealed to the world. Imagine you had to be physically present at your funeral, and the time comes for your biography to be read to a large crowd. Your family members, friends, relatives, colleagues, church members, business associates, and a host of other people are seated in an aesthetically decorated hall, and a family member steps forward to read your biography. What would you like the reader to say about you? What specific things would you like highlighted as your achievements? Does your biography reflect the kind of life you’ve always wanted to live? Do you feel happy and fulfilled about everything that’s been read and said about you? If yes, then you’ve probably already accomplished your purpose and are ready to die. But if your answer is no, then what are the missing items in your biography? You still have the chance to update and even write new chapters of your life’s story.


Hilton Etakoh is the author of You Are Too Gifted to be Poor.  He covers career, creativity, entrepreneurship, and personal growth.  Twitter: @HiltonEtakoh, Facebook: @Hilton Etakoh, website:

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