compass for finding my calling

How I Went From Totally Lost To Finding My Calling In 1 Month

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Welcome back to day 24 of My Happy.Healthy.Whole Project (HHWP)! If you are just joining me and are curious what my project is about, or if you have been following but would like to catch up on previous day’s, check out my HHWP page!

We are nearing the end of October and the first month of my project already!

I will be giving you an update on how all of my October goals have gone at the end of the month, but today I’d like to tell you exactly what methods I used for finding my calling and a new career path in less than a month!

Discover the exact steps that I took to go from completely lost to finding my calling in under 1 month
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How I Knew It Was Time For Me To Find A New Career Path

On the second day of 2020, I had an accident at work. My second in about 2 years. The first injury, a torn hamstring, put me out of commission for a couple of months. 

But this current injury was unfortunately, more serious than the first – a torn labrum in my shoulder which required surgical repair. 

My surgery was scheduled for mid-March, the same time the country, and most of the world, locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Needless to say, my surgery was cancelled. All tourism in the Hawaiian islands was brought to a screeching halt, and my job, along with those of most everyone on the islands, disappeared over night.

As of this writing, the Hawaiian islands have just started to let tourists return, but with many restrictions. Many of the tourism companies will not survive, and those that have, are wary to reopen, fearing a winter that might bring surging cases and another wave of crippling shutdowns.

This leaves me with a lot of uncertainties when it comes to my career and financial stability.

I don’t know when or if the tourism industry that I have been working in will recover from this pandemic.

I don’t know if the company that I was working for will survive.

I don’t know if my shoulder will recover well enough to be able to keep working in the physically demanding roles that I have been until now.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that although I liked the job itself, the company I was working for really wasn’t looking after my safety properly, and I had zero work-life balance.

I was always on call. I worked 6 days a week almost year round, with only one week of vacation a year. I worked every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day, and was not allowed to take my one measly week of vacation during the summer or holiday seasons.

I had come to a crossroads. It was time to move on. But to what? That was the million dollar question.

How I Discovered What New Career Path Was Right For Me

At the beginning of my HHWP, I chose 5 areas of my life that I intended to work on – two of those were related to work. The first was to “find my calling” and the second, to “achieve life balance”.

Prior to having started my HHWP, I read a few books that really set things in motion for me as far as realizing that it was time to go in a different direction with my career. They were:

  1. The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau
  2. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Mirrales
  3. The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way by Hector Garcia and Francesc Mirrales
  4. And of course, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

Inspired by these books, I kicked off my HHWP at the beginning of October. 

During the first month of my project, I did the following activities and thought experiments to get more clarity on a new career path that might be right for me:

As part of My HHWP I have documented this process for you, in case you think it would be helpful to follow along in my footsteps. 

How I found my calling in less than one month of self discovery
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What I Learned From 1 Month Of Self Discovery

Job vs. Career vs. Calling

In her research, Psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski found that different people experience their work in three different ways: as a job, a career, or a calling.

A “job” is essentially work that you get nothing out of, short of a paycheck. You don’t enjoy it and you don’t see it going anywhere in the future, it’s just a means to pay your bills.

A “career” on the other hand does have the potential for advancement. People on a career path are typically motivated by recognition, promotions, and raises, but, if they didn’t get those things, they likely wouldn’t enjoy the work itself all that much.

And finally, that brings us to the “calling”. A calling is work that we are passionate about, that we are fulfilled by, and are excited to get up in the morning for. Promotions and recognition are still appreciated of course, but a person who has found their calling is motivated by the love of the work itself.

After some reflection, I realized that most of my work during high school and college was just a “job”. 

After college, I pursued “career” positions and did what I thought I was supposed to do as a grown up; I worked my way up the corporate ladder. I was always good at my work, whatever it was, but it drained rather than energized me.

Finally my most recent job was one I thought could be a calling, it had so much potential! I think that’s why I stayed so long, longer than I should’ve as it turns out. 

The good news is that I have been moving in the right direction, towards something that could be my calling.

What I Want/Need In My Work

In the book the Ikigai Journey, there was a particular activity that really helped me narrow down what my ideal work, or calling, would look like.

This activity asked you to think about your schooling, past work, and daily tasks, and to write down everything you didn’t like about them. Then in as much detail as possible to write down  why you didn’t like these things. Once done with your list, the last step is to look for the common denominator – what all these things that you didn’t like, had in common.

The second part in the activity was to think about the jobs, school subjects, and daily tasks that you do like, and to write down what specifically you liked about them and why. Finally, as in the first part of the activity, to try and determine what all of the things you listed had in common.

What I learned from this activity is that my calling or ideal job would:

  1. Allow me to have new experiences and learn new things regularly.
  2. Use creativity to solve problems and improve processes.
  3. Allow me the freedom to experiment, and try out new ideas and ways of doing things.
  4. Involve teaching people through writing and/or coaching.
  5. Involve topics I am passionate about such as: science, psychology, personal growth, health, and happiness.
  6. Allow me to work with people one-on-one or in smaller group settings.
  7. Involve helping people to become happier, healthier, and more confident.
  8. Give me more freedom of schedule and life balance so I have more time to dedicate to family, travel and adventure.
  9. Be preparing me to own my own business some day.

Other Realizations

Another lesson that being unemployed for the last 10 months due to injury and covid-19 taught me, is that I should not be relying on a single income source. 

Instead, I need to diversify my income streams. As they say, plan for the worst, but hope for the best.

The Career Path I Have Decided On

After all the self discovery and soul searching that I did on this topic in the first month of my HHWP, I have finally decided on a new career path to pursue!

First, I plan to continue to build my blog, and work towards earning an income with that through affiliate programs. 

Second, I plan to develop some passive income streams in the coming months by selling online courses and digital products. More on that later, but they will be in the field of personal growth with topics relating to: healthy habits, mindset, and happiness.

And finally, I have decided to pull out of the tourism industry and return to my first love – health coaching.

I think this combination of income streams is my calling. This career path will allow me to use my strengths, pursue my passions, and make a difference in the lives of other people. It will allow me to use my creativity and problem solving skills for a worthy cause, while giving me more control over my schedule and work-life balance.


All in all, I’d say that the first month of my Happy.Healthy.Whole Project was a big success!

I’ve got a lot to do in the next few months to start making my calling a reality, but I am more excited and motivated than I have been in quite awhile!

Stay tuned for my progress in the other areas of my HHWP at the end of the month, and be on the lookout for my November project goals on the 1st!

I’d love to hear from you!

  • Have you found your calling or are you still searching for it?
  • Do you think any of these books or methods of self discovery would be helpful for you?

Let me know in the comments!

Until tomorrow,


From completely lost, to finding my calling in less than one month - here's how I did it.
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Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

38 Replies to “How I Went From Totally Lost To Finding My Calling In 1 Month

    1. Thanks so much Sue, I am pretty excited about it! It can be very gratifying to help spread knowledge and positivity, can’t it? Thank you for following my journey! Much more to come ☺️

  1. That’s great, the health niche is quite popular and big. There are also lots of ways to monetize your health niche blog. It’s never late to do what you love to do. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Love this post, Clarissa! I think I will add many of the books you mentioned to my reading list. I’m so sorry about your injury and your loss of income. You are not alone in the realization that if nothing else, 2020 has taught us we need to have more than one income stream. Sadly, that reality was brought home to way too many people. It’s great that you were able to take this time to re-evaluate and pivot. Wishing you much success with your new direction. Although, from what I’ve seen so far, you will excel.

    1. Awww thanks for your kind words Kathy! ☺️ It’s been a bumpy year for sure, but count myself very fortunate. Because my accident happened at work, I have been covered by workers comp for temporary disability. And as you pointed out I’ve been thinking of it as a blessing in disguise that I could slow down, reevaluate the direction of my life, and take the time to figure out all (okay, some) of the ins and outs of blogging and SEO.

      And, diversifying income is a good lesson for me to learn now rather than later on down the road. Thanks so much for following my journey, lots more to come!

  3. My job is definitely my calling too. I am a toddler teacher to 18-24 month olds with my Child Development Associate (CDA) certification and will be graduating with my Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education in May. I am very excited and plan to go onto being an infant teacher while also working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Special Education to become a Life Skills Support teacher. After being an infant teacher, I want to be a TSS, then a Direct Service Professional, and then a Special Education paraprofessional to work my way up to becoming a Life Skills Support teacher. I first found my passion for Special Education in ninth grade when I joined my high school’s Buddy Club, a club for helping and being a friend to the Life Skills students in the school district. After telling one of my teachers about all of the volunteering that I do, she recommended that I join because she saw my love for helping others. Joining Buddy Club immediately changed my life forever and after only two months of being a buddy, the club made me want to become a Life Skills teacher. In eleventh and twelfth grade, I was even elected as the first President of the club and that made my passion for advocating for the special needs community grow even stronger. I graduated high school in 2016 and am still involved in the club even as an alumni. Besides Buddy Club, I also volunteer for a special needs group run by a local church and Autism Cares Foundation. In addition, I have a special needs advocacy blog called First Former Buddy Club President (https://www.facebook.com/firstformerbuddyclubpresident) where I post about my continuous alumni buddy experience, other volunteer experiences with the special needs community, and life as a (future Special Education) teacher. I love my job so much that there is never a day that I do not want to go to work because I love the children, playing with them, taking care of them, and teaching them so much and am so excited for the day that I become a Special Education teacher. Next semester, I will actually get to have a little bit of experience teaching in a Special Education classroom for my practicum lab as it will be in an Autism Support classroom. I am so glad that you have found your calling too and I wish you nothing but the best.

    1. Wow Emily it sounds like you e got your hands full with those little ones. I’m so glad to hear you’ve found your calling, and so early on it sounds like too!

      My sister majored in early childhood education and teaches the 2nd grade. And my aunt is a special education teacher in San Diego.

      The autism support classroom sounds like the perfect fit for you practicum! Such great kiddos. My oldest nephew (8) is non-verbal autistic and I try to help out with an autism charity in my hometown whenever possible.

      Thanks so much for the support and for sharing your own story with me! ☺️

  4. I’m so happy you’ve found your calling Clarissa! Sometimes it takes something like losing a job to even let yourself think about what it is you truly want to do. I think it was a blessing in disguise for you (not the shoulder part, that sounds sore!).
    I think you’ll be a fantastic coach and can’t wait to see more from you 🙂

    1. Sweet thanks so much Ellie! I agree that this whole situation has been a blessing in disguise for me. I liked the work I was doing before, but the company didn’t take good care of me, and I had no work life balance – but because I did like it, it made it hard for me to step away. But all this forced me to step away from that job and now I can do something that’s really more meaningful to me!

    1. Thanks so much Kelly! I wouldn’t wish the shoulder thing on anyone, but it certainly came with some good silver linings in allowing me to slow down and consider what might be the best direction moving forward.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and following my journey!

  5. I think that I’ve gone through something quite similar this past year, before the pandemic! I was battling over career/money and happiness and then with the pandemic, things fasttracked and now I feel like I’ve found my own calling and I’ve never been happier with regard to my job and how it affects my life!


    1. Oh that’s so awesome to hear Rosie! Sometimes it really takes some deep soul searching, doesn’t it?

      I recently read this fantastic quote that sounds like you might be able to relate to:

      “Many people in enlightened democracies spend much of their time feeling enslaved— not by the regime but by extrinsic factors that are self-imposed, such as prestige, a desire to please, obligation, or fear.” -Tal Ben-Shahar

    1. Thank you Priyanka! We can’t control what happens to us,but we can control how we react to it, right? I think I’ve made the best of it! Thanks so much for the best wishes and for following my journey.

    1. Thank you Lisa, I am happy to have found it as well! And I agree that there are lots of possible ways to discover a calling. I actually found the whole process pretty enjoyable… Does that make me a weirdo?! 😂

  6. I am a firm believer in the importance of finding a career that both brings joy and fulfilment into your life. I spent 7 years working in the insurance industry and while the income was stable, I wasn’t ‘happy’. I wound up returning to college at 30 and doing that opened the door to a new career path for me. I am SO happy with the results of that decision. I am a firm believer that I have now found my ‘calling’. I am so happy to hear that you have found yours as well. I feel like everyone deserves the chance to have that realization in life.

    1. Thats such a great story Britt! I think what people look for in jobs have changed over the generations. I think my grandparents really just wanted the boring but stable job. Our generation seems to want a little more purpose out of our jobs, and I feel like my parents were somewhere in between. I’m so glad you found your calling!

  7. I think it’s wonderful you found your calling and I love how you’ve explained how you got there. I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do for a career when I was 7 years old and it always challenged me and allowed me to grow. Thanks for sharing.

    1. That is pretty awesome Jodie! It is very lucky to have discovered your calling so young. When I was 7 I wanted to be a scientist that studied bugs and frogs in the Amazon rainforest. 😂 To be honest, if I had followed through on that, I’m pretty sure I’d have loved it!

  8. This was such an inspirational read, thank you! I think finding your calling make such a monumental difference in your life and I’m glad to read you’ve found it! I’ve gotten a little bit off track lately, but I still have my goal in my mind every day.

    1. I am so glad to hear you found this inspirational Lisa! My path was pretty twisty and turny as well. You’ll get there! Thanks so much for reading, and best of luck with your calling!

    1. Thanks Della, I am happy that I found it as well! I always try to look for the opportunities in bad situations. No use dwelling on what you can’t do, right? Thanks so much for reading!

  9. This was a great post and I love that you added book recommendations. Sorry you had a rough start to this year. I was listening to pitbull recently and he says that “every Journey is unique and that’s why it’s priceless”, he also talks about dramatic events brings dramatic results because you learn how to survive…looks like you are doing an amazing job finding your purpose and working through your journey. Keep up the good work and I wish you the best of luck!

    1. Awww thanks Lisa Marie! I have always prided myself on being resilient. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can can control how we react to it – I’m a big believer of that. Thanks for the well wishes and for stopping by to give this a read!

  10. I loved reading your journey to discovering your calling. I’m very similar to you in that my day job is a career job, but my passion is to grow my blog into my own online business where I can help others whilst having the freedom to spending more time at home with my family. I’ve got my fingers crossed for both of us to make this work!

    Tara | mamasmoneydiary.com

    1. Awww that’s so fantastic to hear Brooke! I feel like quite a few people have said that. I think it must be all the extra time with the lockdowns – it forces us to slow down and gives us time to reflect. Congrats on finding your calling!

  11. I think I’m definitley at the ‘career’ stage of life.

    I enjoy what I do, and find it rewarding to get challenging work and promotions but if someone came along and gave me some money I could live off I wouldn’t keep doing my role!

    My interests lie in creativity, helping people and being innovative, though I’m not sure I know what my calling is.

    I like the approach of looking at previous work done and deciding what you like and don’t like, I think realising what you don’t like is pretty important so you don’t end up working in something you hate, makes you feel uncomfortable and find demorlising

    1. Thank you for reading James! I agree that the exercise of figuring out what you don’t like in a job is super helpful. The author of the book I mentioned, talked about trying to spend more of your time doing the things you want to do and less doing the things you feel like you have to do. He called it the “want-to’s” vs. “have-to’s”

      It sounds like you already know what you enjoy, which is great. I hope you figure out how to make those into a calling!

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