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Callings and Youth

Callings and Youth

In Part 4 of Career to Calling, callings and life stages is discussed. Childhood and adolescence are developmental stages that can raise unique questions around purpose and calling. Annie Stewart says, ‘My dream is to see a callings curriculum included in the school system’. If you are a teacher, career or school counsellor interested in this need – contact Annie now.

William Damon, one of the world’s leading scholars on the lives of young people, is the Director of the Stanford University Centre on Adolescence. In his seminal research on youth and calling, The Path to Purpose: Helping our children find their calling in life (Free Press 2009) he outlines a sequence of steps for parents and those working with youth to consider when fostering a sense of calling.

The steps are:

  1. Inspiring communication with persons outside the immediate family
  2. Observation of purposeful people at work
  3. First moment of revelation: something important in the world can be corrected or improved
  4. Second moment of revelation: I can contribute something myself and make a difference
  5. Identification of purpose, along with initial attempts to accomplish something
  6. Support from family
  7. Expanded efforts to pursue one’s purpose in original and consequential ways
  8. Acquiring the skills needed for the pursuit
  9. Increased practical effectiveness
  10. Enhanced optimism and self-confidence
  11. Long-term commitment to purpose
  12. Transfer of the skills and character strengths gained in pursuit of one purpose to other areas of life.

Career to Calling offers practical advice on resumes and interviews in Step 6. Here is some more tips and tricks.

Resume Checklist:

  1. Have I prepared a resume that demonstrates my achievements and the work I have undertaken?
  2. Have I researched all available written, anecdotal and online information about the organisation and their mission, purpose, culture and values?
  3. Am I able to speak to people close to the position and find out the names and background of the interviewer/panel?
  4. Have I identified examples of achievements (remembering those that demonstrate purpose and passion) in my past positions, to match each criterion/competency of the role requirements?
  5. Have I practised structuring/scripting answers for a behavioural and values-based interview format? (refer to the STAR framework that follows)
  6. Have I prepared questions to ask the interviewer/panel about the organisation, division, team or position? Have I prepared questions about their purpose and mission?

Download the PDF file for more

Inner Purpose


For some people, a profound sense of peace can be achieved through simply living a ‘good and moral’ life, characterised by kindness, joy, generosity, love and being of service to others.

Annie Stewart

 In Part 4 of Career to Calling,  Annie Stewart discusses Inner Purpose – the ultimate calling. Here are some additional thoughts.

For two decades I have been fascinated and absorbed by concept and semantics of callings. I recall an academic colleague who encouraged me to keep searching. He said, ‘Annie, this is one of life’s imponderables but keep with it. Bring your knowledge together with a new consciousness, a new awareness, and a new naming.’

Whilst guiding people to name their calling, I noticed a deeply moving shift in energy when I explored the words they chose to describe their calling. When I asked why it is important to them and for what purpose do they have a calling, their responses could evolve to tender, vulnerable and heartfelt descriptions. The essence was typically love, service, legacy, consciousness, faith or family. For instance, Kristina a dynamic entrepreneur had a call to lead. When I probed further and asked these questions her eyes filled with tears as she responded ‘I feel called to be of service and become the best person I am capable of being. Maybe I have two callings!’

I identified two types of calling: an inner and an outer experience. These are distinctly different, yet complementary elements of finding a life purpose. They may be experienced separately or simultaneously, although the outer awakening may occur first, with the resultant awareness allowing an inner motivation to spring forth. The alignment of inner purpose and outer calling brings with it a profound sense of peace and authenticity.

An inner purpose is the ultimate and highest calling. It is the WHY of our existence. It is pure, unaltered, without ego and shaped by love.  It is a call to BE.

For some, this inner calling is a spiritual yearning to awaken and know God, or the power of the universe or a ‘higher power’.  In saying this it may appear that this knowing has to be underpinned by a belief system, but I don’t believe this is so. For some people, a profound sense of peace can be achieved through simply living a ‘good and moral’ life, characterised by kindness, joy, generosity, love and being of service to others.