Insights, thoughts, and experiences told honestly.

To Find Your Life Purpose, Listen. But to Whom?

May 27, 2010

One of the most rewarding things I’m privileged to experience is the wonderful feedback I receive from those who take the time to let me know that the Sacred Path, Joyful Journey process is making a positive difference in their lives. However, hardly a day goes by, and today is no exception, when someone doesn’t suggest that I change the Sacred Path, Joyful Journey message in some way or in some other way alter my response to my own Calling as I seek to live on purpose. These suggestions almost always come from very well-intentioned people who genuinely care about me. And I truly appreciate hearing these ideas, and I’m grateful for people who care enough about me to give me their sincere thoughts and advice. It would be foolish of me to ignore their perspectives. But I must sound a cautionary note about such suggestions, or maybe I should say, I want to sound an alarm bell.

While others’ advice can be incredibly valuable, it can also very quickly derail your pursuit of your Calling (your life’s purpose/mission). Here’s how. Your Calling, or your traveling directions for your life journey, is a message designed for you and you alone. This doesn’t mean that your Calling is solely for your benefit. If you follow your Calling’s traveling directions, you will almost certainly live out your Calling in community, using your gifts and talents in a meaningful way to improve the lives of others. But the traveling directions are given specifically to you, not to the community. Others may get it or they may not. Indeed, people within your community will play an important role in validating that you’re on the right path. But here’s the deal. Many of the people you interact with will not have an understanding or appreciation for the spiritual journey you will be on as you’re seeking your Calling. These people’s lack of understanding of the particulars of what your Calling is asking you to do is irrelevant to its value, to you, and to the rest of the world.

It’s far too easy to become distracted by others’ advice when trying to listen to your Callings’ true message. The allure of achievement, concern for how other people will view you, or your own self-doubts can quickly become a dense fog that hides the road that is the Sacred Path. Those giving you advice may suggest that you wait to pursue your Call, or do it now, or spin it so it will sell, or adjust your journey in a thousand different ways. Their advice may sound good, and it may indeed have real value. But you must be highly discerning before you change your direction. Here’s the litmus test. If following others’ suggestions would shift your focus from what you know in your heart (soul/spirit) to be your Calling’s instructions, respectfully decline. Don’t do it.

When you begin traveling on your Sacred Path, you cannot know in advance how your journey will turn out. You cannot predict with any certainty what experiences, blessings, and lessons you will encounter. But you can know for sure that if you stay true to your Calling’s leading, blessings will indeed occur and the world will, in some way, be a better place because of you. Here’s the preverbal bottom line. Listen to the advice from people who care about you, but remember to listen even more intently to the One who Calls, the One who has a purpose for your talents and gifts.



  1. Paul,
    This is very true. John Maxwell said it well in Putting Your Dream to the Test…we should heed criticism only when the person providing criticism:
    1. Has no personal agenda on your decision/action
    2. Is not normally critical
    3. Will continue to give their support
    4. Have knowledge and success in the area of criticism

    This has been very helpful to me in weeding out the multitude of “advice” I receive on my new path.

  2. Debra ATkins says:

    I have a problem with my own family, a brother and sister inparticular that mocks, and ridicules me for my calling. I know the ONE calling me and I know what the calling is, but I get ridiculed for the mere suggestion the ONE even guides me in anyway whatsoever. I just ignore it for the most part. But it’s difficult when it’s constant and they are very critical people and judgemental, controlling. Should I just leave them be or keep putting up with it because they are my brother and sister? I don’t know. But still Iwill follow my call.. it is who I am meant to be!

  3. paul says:

    Thank you for your comment Debra. You’re obviously in a challenging situation. One of the truths of surrendering to our Calling is that some people will support us, and some will not in our endeavors. I don’t know all the details of your particular situation so I can’t provide specific advise about your family, but I can share a couple of thoughts with you that I hope you find of value.

    First, it is important to heed your Calling’s leading. Your Calling will not go away and you will not find peace until you surrender to it. A cautionary note here, we’re not always correct about what we believe our Calling to be. It will be important for you to validate your Calling to ensure you’re on the right track. You can learn much more about how to confirm your Calling in the online program 12 Weeks to a More Passionate Life! that will be available on this site in few weeks. Second, we all need people who will support us, who believe in us, who will lift us up, and yet, who will tell us the truth…even when it’s a hard truth to swallow. I think you’ll find the video Believers and Detractors of value if you haven’t yet viewed/read it. Third, I think it’s important for you to love yourself unconditionally. Accept your self, flaws and all, and to care for others in the same way.