Shadow Callings: How To Reject Passivity for the Pursuit of Purpose

Take time to ask the deeper why of your calling and make sure you don’t waste time chasing shadows.

Do you know that unsettling feeling you get in your stomach when you wake up to work that you dread? During your commute you begin to ask yourself, is this what I was meant for? Everything appears fine to those around you, but deep down you can’t shake the visions of another life you could be living. If any of this sounds familiar then you may be chasing a shadow calling.

Shadows are the dark areas where light from a light source have been blocked by an object. The interesting part about shadows is that they take on the three-dimensional qualities of the object blocking the light source. Basically there is enough there to make us believe it’s the real thing. Shadow callings work similarly in that they appear to provide us the satisfaction and fulfillment we seek despite remaining a dark area that only looks similar to what we’re actually after.

We waste a ridiculous amount of our lives chasing dreams that we aren’t fully committed too. The scary part, these things appear good, or good enough. We may seem competent, others may seem happy for us and we might even make a little money from these dreams. Below is a powerful clip from the movie Up In the Air. In these 66 seconds we find a man who traded in his dreams to the highest bidder and what is initially viewed as an obstacle instead becomes an opportunity.

What's your price?

There are too many individuals in our society sleep-walking through life. Where light once dominated, shadows have crept in and the former gleam of dreams has grown dim.

Perhaps you’re thinking right now; so what? Who cares if I’m not fulfilled at work? So what if I’m not doing what I was meant to do? Isn’t it enough to make some money, pay my bills and try to have a little fun on the weekend?

No! When you shortchange yourself, you shortchange society. The world needs you to tap into your unique greatness. To find the spark inside that ignites a flame of passion. Society is never advanced by people who settle; at best settling maintains the status quo. If you want a better world you must become a better you.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’ve sacrificed so much to get to this place, it would be foolish to change course when I’ve come so far. But imagine with me for a moment that you’ve reached a fork in the road. One path leads you to your destination but it’s a miserable trek, hills, rocks and awful weather. The other path is smooth, calm and scenic, but you know it will not take you where you want to go. Which path will you choose?

Your calling isn’t just about how you feel at the destination…. but who you become along the journey.

It’s not too late to change course. Decide today not to play it safe, don’t sell yourself (or society) short. We need you to come alive and chase the vision that makes you come alive inside. So step out of the shadows and shine bright, who knows you just might light the way for another.

What is one step you can take to start walking towards your true calling?

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