Photo by Jordan Madrid on Unsplash

Like everyone else who blogs, I thought January would be a great time to share a post that will help you set your course for the coming year. But while others write of “must-dos” and “should-dos”, I’d like to encourage you to consider something different.


As in, What are you meant to do?

It’s an out-of-the-box question for the first post of the new year, but it’s one that’s vitally important to everything else you have planned for 2019. You see, resolutions aren’t worth much if they don’t move you closer to what you’re meant to be doing.

I believe wholeheartedly that human beings are intended to live for a purpose—that every person who walks this earth is here for a reason.

Because I’m a person of faith, I believe God creates us all with a specific calling. My calling is to add value to leaders who multiply value to others. I’ve known this since I was 29 years old, and it’s shaped the substance and direction of my adult life.

But even if you’re not a person of faith, the idea of a calling shouldn’t feel unfamiliar, especially for leaders. Leaders have a pull towards something bigger than themselves—a sense that there’s more to be discovered.

Author Richard Lieder, who founded Inventure, offers a great definition of a calling:

“There is a raw self within each of us, too, that is our seed of destiny. Like acorns, we are oaks-in-waiting, raw potential waiting to find our calling. At the core of our destiny lies the necessity of choice, the potential to choose to become something that has never existed before. When we fail to express our embedded gifts, we starve our seed of destiny…A calling is the urge to give our gifts away.”

In my new book, Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, I devote the final chapter to the shift from career to calling. Everyone has a calling—a gift to give to the world—and the day you discover your calling is among the greatest days in a person’s life.

While the book has a lot more to say on this topic, I want to share with you one of the simplest ideas on how to begin living out your calling.

If you want to make 2019 the year you discover and live out your calling, set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

There are plenty of worthwhile directions to be found. All you need to do is look at the world around you.

You are surrounded by people who need help, people who need encouragement, people who need someone to show them a better way. You can lend your voice to the voiceless or bring clarity to confusion but do something. The key to discovering your calling is action that benefits others.

That’s because our lives aren’t meant for just ourselves. We are all made to add value to the people around us, to serve through our giftedness. You see, a calling is discovered over time, and leaders flesh it out as they serve and learn and grow.

But that movement—that growth—is essential.

One of the paradoxes of life is that you must follow your calling with clarity and purpose—all while living with uncertainty. Too often, people think they have to have it all figured out before they can live a life of calling and purpose.

The truth is, you don’t have to have all the answers. But you do have to act.

Your cannot choose where your life will end up. But you can determine the direction you take today.

So set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.


  1. Ben Wilkins on January 8, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Awesome. I have recently been restored to my calling. Thank you, John Maxwell, for the inspiration and help you have been to me and the people in my sphere of influence over the years through your books, conferences, etc. Our staff went through the 21 Laws of Leadership quite a years ago (when it only available on VHS!) Thank you again.

    • Dianna Kokoszka on January 11, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      you are absolutely fulfilling your calling (more like a shout) from God daily with all you pour into us so we can pour into others. Multiplying leaders through the value you add continuously.

  2. Vivian C Carver on January 8, 2019 at 9:50 am

    This is the folirstbstep of my journey my calling and the path I chose to take to grow myself. Love myself and send unconditional and prayers for all. It’s my beginning

  3. Robert W. Bernard on January 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

    I never really thought about this topic until I read this amazing article. Some people never give much thought to what they are really meant to do, “Their Calling” because they are to focused on what others tell them they should do. What an eye opening article. This has really given me something to think about and consider. Thanks John.

  4. Steve Grove on January 8, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Yes, thanks John! May we all AWAKEN in every moment to Ask Why and Always Know the Eternal Now.

  5. ART TESKA on January 8, 2019 at 10:50 am

    As a Pastor, you were led to find your calling as shared. I agree with you. Leadership has had more books written, yet no sustainable changes for most social issues relevant to our country. Morally,
    it appears that there is a need for greater calling in providing more information, but without a mentor (we all need that) and the youth of the next generation taking up the gauntlet we know as responsibility, setting achieving goals become dofficult. Barna has indicated our society has become tech savy but lacking interpersonal skills to mobilize the changes they desire to see. The top concerns have become what is in it for me, how do I achieve them and no regard for the greater calling to humanity. I only know that my part is significant, and God gives us dreams, so that younger generations can have new vision
    to serve and grow through application. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

  6. Kristin in Oregon on January 8, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    My vision is to help others connect with their authentic selves reclaiming their true sense of identity returning to a clearer awareness of their intrinsic peace, love and joy. I want to help others through my example and inspiration to bring a shift in consciousness. I have seen over and over again people in my community say that they feel transformed by connecting with me. It is time to take my gifts to the internet through platforms that will most value what I have to offer bringing people these gifts to transform their lives. I believe in myself and my gifts I feel enthusiasm to share them more and more. As a young child, I have known that my life was meant to help many others around the world. I am committed to reaching higher and higher to achieve my fullest potential and to bring shift to as many people as possible.

    Thank you for your continuous guidance and support on so many levels. I deeply appreciate you. We expand so much more when we connect in spirit – believing in one another. Blessings to you all!

  7. Dan King on January 8, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Great thoughts to live by and act on

  8. Ebenezer arkoh on January 9, 2019 at 6:04 am

    Please mr John always stay blessed and safe and coach people’s in the world like the way you are thank you so much.

  9. kona on January 9, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you so much Sir. You are a inspiration of my life. May God bless you sir.

  10. David on January 15, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Quiero encontrar mi verdadero camino y mision en el mundo. Por favor ayudeme y orienteme a lograrlo

    • Dan on January 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      We should never just stumble through life. Having direction is intentional

  11. Hugo torres on January 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I have learn and discovwr with life experiences and lessons that no matter how bad tour day is going and how alone you may feel, having faith in God and knowing in your heart that he is truly our Creator. you will always have peace in your soul.

  12. MIRIAM on January 17, 2019 at 2:04 am

    I have just had a very clear reveletion, i started the year wanting to know what my purpose is, as a leader in my company, what did God want me to do? I thought i have to have it all figured out, A-Z, thank you. I realise all i need to know is my calling, and focus on it, even in uncertainty.
    After listening to you in “having your best year ever” i also realise i just need to serve.

    Thank you.

  13. Saurav Rawal on January 17, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Blessed! ?

  14. Clement Njoku on January 21, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Thanks John Maxwell. You’ve been an inspiration to me through your books, podcasts and ‘a minute with John maxwell’ recordings. May God continue to work with you and through you for the betterment of the human race. My calling and purpose resonates with yours; and I call on you think Africa: we down here in Africa have need of true leaders and “leaders multipliers” than anywhere else on the face of this earth. So, John God wants you to mentor more leaders in Africa. I am one READY?

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