I used to sit in my miserable grey office on the 5th floor of a city skyscraper and day-dream about all the jobs in the world I could have, other than being a lawyer.
A street sweeper, a window washer, a mailman(/woman), a tram driver. Anything but this.
Yet I couldn't decide. I knew I wanted something more but I could not figure out what it was.
My biggest dream was to build my own business, be my own boss. But I always got stuck on the what. What did I want? What was I going to do all day to earn money and build the life I always dreamed of living? What was my calling?
Eventually, I decided to quit my job and travel the world in search of the inspiration I needed. After almost a year of searching, while conveniently having the time of my life, I found my passion. I found the spark I had been searching for and everything finally made sense.
Now with the beauty of hindsight, my business is centred around helping others get clear on what they want. It’s my job to ask the right questions and guide the answers, supporting my clients on their own journey of clarity towards their calling.
Here are the five questions I wished I had asked myself instead of day-dreaming of abseiling down city skyscrapers, washing windows.
1. What do you always find yourself thinking about?
When your mind wanders, where does it tend to go? Are you thoughts taking you to Barbados? Or maybe to your dream kitchen? Are you constantly thinking about ways you can improve your life or maybe you're on a never-ending search for that perfect cup of coffee?
We all have a thing (or two or three) that we absolutely love. Focus on that. Tease it out and pay attention to where your thoughts are taking you regularly.
Think of it as your mental happy place.
Day-dreaming from my city office, my mind was often in Norway, Peru, Egypt or the Seychelles. Any free moment was spent mentally laying on a beach or hiking through a fjord. My mind craved meeting new people and finding new experiences day in and out.
2. What are you surrounded by?
When you look around your physical environment, what are you surrounded by? Maybe it’s photos of your travels around the world? Or perhaps your kitchen is full of baking ingredients and tools? Looking more abstractively, maybe you are surrounded by certain emotions or ideas which frequently come to you.
This is a key hint, directing you towards your greatest calling in life.
At my office desk, my screen saver was set to a view of Trolltunga, Norway. My tiny apartment used to be filled (albeit minimalistically) with photos of my travels around the world. My bookshelf was filled with travel books, my pantry filled with international ingredients. My environment was almost literally screaming at me to go, get on a plane and explore the world.
3. What do you spend your disposable income on?
It’s payday! Your rent, bills and living expenses are all covered and there is money left over for you to enjoy. What do you spend it on?
Are you buying crystals online or saving your money for your next international trip? Perhaps you’ve got a passion project doing-up your grandfather’s vintage car or you’ve got an endless list of recipes you want to try out?
This is priceless, the way we spend our dollars and cents speaks volumes about what we value most in life. For me, every spare cent went into my travel savings account and if (by some miracle) there was any extra, a mini-getaway was instantly planned. Looking back I also spent my money on books, fiction and non-fiction telling stories from around the world, eating at international restaurants and exploring my region.
4. What are you passionate about?
What is that one thing you could talk about for hours on end? What’s the topic that makes your friends roll their eyes or that one thing that always sets you off on an epic rant (good or bad)? Is there a problem or something missing from the world that you could solve?
What sets your soul on fire and makes you feel the most alive?
What are you doing when all time seems to slip away and you find yourself in a state of effortless flow? My friends used to get so sick of my travel stories, whenever I mentioned an experience abroad, a friend of mine would chime in with “…This one time on band camp…”
But I didn't care. I could spend hours in a YouTube wormhole virtually exploring the Bahamas, South-East Asia and the wonders of the world. Yet I couldn't find the help I need to make the transition from day-dreaming lawyer to the self-employed digital nomad of my dreams, so that’s what I became.
5. What are your greatest skills?
Finally, what are you good at doing? What do your friends and family compliment you on, or seek your advice/input on? Are you renowned in your circles for baking the best banana bread or perhaps you’re the tech guru of your friendship group?
Take a moment to blow your own horn and make a list of everything you are good at. Think big and small.
Maybe you’re a people person, you love talking to others and are known for making people feel at ease. Maybe you’re talented when it comes to finding the best vintage buys and stores in your neighbourhood or you can always make people laugh.
Personally, my friends always came to me for advice when it came to making travel plans. They trusted me to help them find the best airfares, the cheapest Airbnbs and most importantly to know about the must-see experiences and adventures around the world.
Figuring out your calling is no mean feat. More often than not, it is a journey and process of sieving through your thoughts, passions, skills and pleasures.
Yet starting on this journey is most often the hardest part. Start with these five questions and you can begin analysing your mindset, environment and subconscious mind. From here you can simply move forward with your ideas and clues as they appear to you…
One step at a time.