Following Our Heart’s Calling
Our calling doesn’t come with a quick fix three-step formula but if I had to give you the dreaded ‘three steps to success’, they would be these:
Step 1. Space;
Step 2. More Space; and
Step 3. Even More Space!
Below you will find a replay of my talk at a recent (virtual) BrightSky Community event. I shared more about the power of creating space so we can hear our heart’s calling and learn who we need to be before we do.
Watch the video and/or read my blog below:
My Story …
In 2014, my husband and I moved back from Holland to the UK, where I had been running a successful sales, recruitment and management training and coaching company in Amsterdam. I could have easily set up a branch of it here in Devon but, instead, I decided to take the opportunity to make the jump and follow my heart’s calling.
All I knew was that I believed I was meant to be a coach and teacher but I wasn’t sure in which direction I was headed with my work. I also believed there must be another way to live, but I didn’t know exactly what that would look like either. What I did know, however, was that I had to find out what it would mean to live a life that was more congruent and fulfilling to me.
At the time, I thought having a meaningful life was all about giving. ‘We must give more’, was my message to the world, and I started coaching circles called Coach to Contribute – a space where coaches came together to see how we could give back. I had grand plans of having hubs all over the world and I thought it would take a couple of years, max three, to set this up and make a ‘success’ of this. After all, I had been able to make a success of my last business soon after setting it up, so why wouldn’t it be the same now?
It is a common human trait to look for the fastest and most comfortable route to ‘success’, however, when we are in the business of following our heart’s calling we learn the painful lesson that our calling doesn’t understand time in the same way our linear brain calculates it. Nor does it compute success with achievement or getting somewhere quickly.
“It is a common human trait to look for the fastest and most comfortable route to ‘success’ …”
As I mentioned earlier, our calling doesn’t come with a quick fix three-step formula, but if I had to give you a recipe, it would be this:
Be + Do = Have
If we want to do work that makes a difference and is meaningful to us, we first need to learn how to BE the difference. I had to focus on who I was being before doing, so my having would be more meaningful for me and others.
For that I needed space, space and more space!
Let me expand on this. 🙂
Step 1. I Needed the Space to Recalibrate
“I had to allow myself the space to grow into a new way of being and remind myself of this many times along the way.”
The old me wasn’t going to cut it. You may know the saying, what got you here is not going to get you there? Well, there is a reason that the saying exists. To be able to do my heart’s work, I needed the space to recalibrate, so I could lift myself to another level of consciousness. One that is capable of carrying all of the responsibility that comes with living a heart-led life. To recalibrate I needed to give myself the space to feel and reconnect my head to my heart.
I had to allow myself the space to grow into a new way of being and remind myself of this many times along the way.
I had to become Present and ask myself: ‘What do I feel?’
To follow our calling there comes a time when we must jump before we are ready, with the belief that the parachute will open on the way down. However, the parachute may not open immediately. It may stay closed for longer than is comfortable and, as you find yourself plummeting, you may hit some of the protruding rocks on the way down. You might even tear your chute on those rocks, but if you keep going your parachute WILL open and eventually it will take you where you need to be, even if it takes hitting Ground Zero before you do.
Step 2. I Needed the Space to Be Lost
“We need to allow ourselves the space to make mistakes, the space to not know and accept that it is ok to be lost.”
That takes me to this next important point. To grow into my work, I needed to allow myself the space to make mistakes, the space to not know and accept that it is ok to be lost. Making mistakes and not knowing are painful and eat away at our confidence and our identity.
They challenge our basic human needs for certainty and significance, because when we focus on feeding either of these needs from a place of lack, we find ourselves in trouble as our actions are now born out of the fear that we are not enough or don’t have enough. I had to give myself the space to move my focus from lack to love and learn to act from that place. To do that I had to let go and let God.
I moved away from judgement and started to become curious and playful and notice what was important to me. Allowing myself to be lost in nature and creativity were key to this process as they connected me to the space of wholeness.
I had to become Curious and ask myself: ‘What do I notice?’
The harder we look, the more pressure we create for ourselves and the more challenging and frustrating it becomes. We get to a stage where we become so bogged down with our focus on ‘making it work’ that we lose all sense of clarity and confidence when ‘results’ aren’t immediately visible.
The only thing that is going to allow us out of that dark hole is to put our focus on the process rather than the outcome. Start with what you love, spend time there and give yourself the space to explore as you allow the slow cooker to do its work. Sooner or later the unique ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ of your calling will become clearer to you. This takes me to step 3 – an essential ingredient.
Step 3. The Space to Bring Compassion
“We are not called to be ‘in Business’, we are called to do ‘The Work’.”
I was called to go inward, listen to my heart and learn to let go of the old rules, make way for new rules and start serving from a place of congruence. I had to learn to give back to myself so I could learn to give back better to others.
This work is a calling – something we feel inexplicably drawn to do. And this is where we need to realise an important distinction – we are not called to be ‘in Business’, we are called to do ‘The Work’!
For that I needed to soothe my critical brain and look at myself with compassion.
I had to become Kind and ask myself: ‘What do I need?’
So space rather than speed is the word. Space to learn. Space to plummet. Space to explore, expand and evolve.
Although our calling doesn’t come with a three-step formula, it doesn’t mean there aren’t a huge amount of 3 steps that will be helpful along the way, but don’t expect them to be the be all and end all. Instead, see them as stepping stones whilst you work on your own formula, your own rules and your own way.
Explore, Expand, Evolve
Whatever you do and however you decide to do it, leave yourself space to explore, expand and evolve. And when you think you have given it enough space, give it some more.
We are so conditioned to feeling the pressures of time in our lives but our soul doesn’t understand time in the same linear way that we experience it here on earth. It is not concerned with ‘getting’ anywhere. All it is concerned with is whether you follow your truth and whether you are showing up as best you can in any given moment.
It takes courage to follow your heart’s calling and it is helpful to surround yourself with those who see all of you, understand your choices (even when they don’t make sense!) and who believe in you when you forget to believe in yourself. When you learn to trust your heart and inner guidance, sooner or later the path will find you.
Perhaps you would like to take a moment to do the following heart exercise ….
Put your hand on your heart and breathe into it. Now close your eyes as you ask yourself:
What do I feel?
What do I notice?
What do I need?
What did you feel, notice and need? Was it important for you to recognise and acknowledge for yourself?
Take a moment to write or doodle what you noticed to help activate your subconscious mind. Perhaps there is something else for you to find.
These questions flow from my three guiding keys: Be present, be curious & be kind.
The Three Keys are a simple tool to remind us to come back to ourselves so we may remember who we are and why we are here when we forget in the daily busyness of our modern lives. They are the foundation of The Heartworker’s Way.
If you have any questions or are interested in working with me, you can contact me at [email protected]
Ann The Heartworker