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Transcript: Understanding calling: Doing more of what gives you joy

The link to the Daniel Pink clip mentioned in the podcast can be found here


Welcome to the Loved Called Gifted Podcast.  This is your place to come for musings about spirituality, identity, and purpose.

I’m your host, Catherine Cowell.



When you talk to people about their life purpose, their calling, and how they discovered that, there are some people who can pinpoint a particular moment where they had a real internal sense, or a sense that God was speaking to them, and had called them to a particular thing. For most of us, understanding our calling is more like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There are lots of clues, lots of bits of evidence in our lives, and within us, that will help us to understand how we are best suited to contribute to the world, and what our calling is, if you like. So a number of years ago Sean Kennedy and I put together a course called Loved, Called, Gifted and that helps people to understand what their life calling is, and that’s available online. If you’re interested you can have a look at . In this episode we are going to have a look at one of those puzzle pieces, if you like. This may be really helpful to you in thinking about what it is that you are called to do.


So one of the things that we get people to do when they come on the course is to list all of things that they do, to list them under the categories of “this is something that gives me life”, “this is something that I kind of feel neutral about”, and “these are things which leave me feeling drained and exhausted”. Not in a kind of “I’ve worked hard and that was really satisfying” sort of way, but in that kind of soul destroying “oh my goodness, that zapped the life out of me”. 


The reason that this is helpful is that we have a tendency to go a little bit onto autopilot. There are some things which we simply have to do, and so we get on with doing them. We don’t necessarily notice what the impact of doing those things are on our energy levels. So actually taking a bit of time to imagine yourself doing something and then imagine how that thing makes you feel, can be really helpful. We can be incredibly good at having as part of our routine activities which we have done for potentially quite a long time, because we have felt that we should. It might be that we started off with great motives and a great amount of enthusiasm, but then as time has gone by, we have continued with them, not because they are particularly motivating to us, but because there is an obligation associated with them. Either because we feel faithful to them because we’ve been doing them for so long, or because we really think we ought to.


So an example of this for me would be that quite a number of years ago now, I offered to help out with a kids club at the church that I was going to. I had a particular interest in engaging with the Mums and the Dads that came to take their kids. I thought that potentially there would be an opportunity to share something of faith with them. Maybe they would be interested, maybe there would be a way of engaging. And so I spoke to the person who ran the kids club, who said “if you want to do that, then the thing that you need to do is to take the money from the kids at the beginning of the evening. That way you’ll get to meet all of the parents, and you can make the squash in the middle of the evening.” And so I began to do that. And in actual fact, it wasn’t a way of doing the thing which I thought it might be. I had had a great plan, but that wasn’t coming to pass. 


But when that became evident, I didn’t stop. I continued for, actually a number of years, to sit at the front of the kids club taking the register and meeting the parents and meeting the kids as they came in. I sort of didn’t mind doing it, but it absolutely wasn’t motivating for me. It was quite draining. I would come away from the evening feeling tired. It was a task which I had endured, rather than enjoyed. There were lots of other people who could have taken the money. My original reason for doing it didn’t really work out, but I had a sense of obligation. Once I had committed myself to doing that, I kept going, and kept going, and kept going. It took me a really long time to take a step back from that and realise that this wasn’t something that I actually wanted to do. But I had lots of good motives for continuing. I thought that the person who was running the kids club was great, she was a friend and I really wanted to support her in her ministry, because I could see how passionate she was about it. But this was basically an admin task, and I am not great at admin tasks. There was quite a bit of paperwork involved, and I’m not great at paperwork. I find it a bit soul destroying if I’m honest. But that’s an example which I’m sharing because it’s one of those situations where you end up carrying on with something, and not really noticing the impact that it’s having on you.


So one of the reasons for thinking about this today is to give you permission to step back from the things that you’re doing and to think about, what is it that actually gives you life? What are the things that you love and enjoy? What are the things that you’re still able to get up and do, even when you’ve got a horrible cold? What are the things that you are prepared to stay up late for? Or get up early to do? What is it that you’re doing when you realise that you’re operating absolutely at your best? What are the tasks that bring your ‘best self’ out of you? So it’s worth thinking about these things because it helps us to understand something of what our core purpose might be.


What I’d like us to do is to have a bit of a think about what the science, the psychology, of motivation tells us. Because again that gives you a lens through which to look at what it is that really switches you on. Actually, the thing you are called to do will be tapping into something intrinsic within yourself, it will be calling out of you something about your unique self, and how your unique self connects with the world, and helps you to offer something good.


So, motivation. I will provide a link at the end to some stuff by somebody called Daniel Pink, who has done a really good summary of motivational research over the last 50 years or so. There are a couple of really good talks on youtube where he expresses some of this stuff really well.


So we can divide motivation into 3 levels, really. There are bodily needs. There are things which we are motivated to do because we have a bodily need for them. Such as air, food, water, warmth, shelter. So if you’re feeling chilly, you will be very motivated to find yourself a cardigan, or to turn the heating on. In fact your search for a cardigan might be quite enthusiastic. But once you’ve found it, and you’ve met that bodily need, then that level of motivation goes away. So a couple of hours ago I needed breakfast, and I was really motivated to cook some bacon for breakfast. My level of motivation now for cooking bacon is absolutely zero. So once you’ve met a bodily need, the motivation disappears.


Then there is extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation. The thing which will help us to understand our purpose and our calling is all connected with intrinsic motivation. So intrinsic motivation, as it’s name suggests, comes from with us. It’s intrinsic to us. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside. It’s often extrinsic motivation that gets us hooked into doing something that doesn’t necessarily suit us very well. It’s the thing to do with duties and obligations and societal conditioning. So we’re going to have a look at extrinsic motivation, just to help you to understand that a bit, and then we will think a bit about intrinsic motivation, and then we’ll go back to thinking about how we can use these things to help us to understand our purpose and our calling, our unique offering to the world.


So extrinsic motivation is so called because it’s imposed upon us from outside. It’s not coming from within us, it’s coming from other people who are setting the agenda. At it’s most basic level, extrinsic motivation is the way in which we try and persuade our children to do things which we think are socially acceptable and that we would rather like them to do. It’s punishment for things that we don’t want, and reward for things that we do want. It’s where naughty steps and reward charts come from. So that’s the basis of extrinsic motivation. You’re going to reward the thing that you want. What you’re hoping is that the more external rewards you give, the better performance you will get.


It turns out that that works reasonably well under certain specific conditions. And in some ways it kind of goes along with the bodily motivation. You can get people to work for a wage in situations that are not great, if they know that by doing so, they are going to be able to provide themselves and their family with their basic needs. Food and water and shelter, all those sorts of things. If you know that by going and doing something pretty grim, you can make sure that you and your family are not going to starve and that you’re going to have a roof over your head, then that’s a really good motivation. It also works a bit if you are getting people to do things that are simply mechanical. That don’t require a lot of thought. So if you want handles sticking on cups, then a financial reward for every handle stuck on a cup to the person who’s doing it for you, is likely to be reasonably effective. If somebody knows that they can get more money by sticking more handles on more cups, then it is quite likely that they will do it, and they will work to get quicker and more effective at it. That was the basis of the old piecework system, which isn’t really in play very much any more, I don’t think.


Where the extrinsic motivation, it turns out, breaks down completely, is the moment that you are expecting somebody to engage their brain and their creativity. The moment you do that, it seems that this kind of carrot and stick reward just breaks down. There have been quite a number of studies that have shown that if you give somebody a creative task to do, then it’s their intrinsic motivation and their sense of reward and achievement at having done it, that is going to make the most difference. Interestingly, providing larger extrinsic rewards can actually cause performance to dive rather than improve. There was a study done a number of years ago and Dan Pink references this in his book Drive, where a group of artists were given the opportunity to paint some paintings, and they were divided into two groups. The first group was offered a paid commission for producing the art. The second group was simply offered the opportunity to produce the art, it was just a chance to do it, and there was no extrinsic reward for that, but there was the opportunity to express their creativity, and honour from having done the pictures. When these works of art were assessed by external assessors, who did not know who had done which picture, consistently, the people who were not paid produced better art than the ones who were. That seems somewhat perverse. But it turns out that once you’ve got to the point where money is not really an object which is going to get in the way of everyday life, once you’ve done that bit, then actually, offering more financial reward doesn’t help. In fact some research suggests that the bigger the reward you offer under those circumstances, the worse the performance gets. This is completely counter-intuitive. It certainly calls into question the frequent assertions that you sometimes hear, that heads of industry must be paid obscene amounts of money to secure their talents. And that bankers need ridiculous bonuses to ensure their performance. The evidence suggests that this isn’t really true. So extrinsic motivation is a bit flawed. The whole carrot and stick thing is not really what’s going to keep us going. Actually if people are honest, sometimes there is a social pressure to push for promotions, and sometimes actually that will move us out of a role which is fulfilling, into one that is less fulfilling. Because we think that the incentive of getting better pay and promotion, all those extrinsic rewards, is worth going for, and sometimes actually, it really isn’t.


Now extrinsic motivation isn’t always as crude as being directly about reward and punishment; often it’s a lot more subtle than that. And certainly my example of continuing to take the register at the kids club comes into this second category, which is all about taking on board the values, the rules, the expectations, of the people around us and of the social groups and the cultures that we’re part of. There are things we do in order to fit in because we are social creatures. To some extent it is true that there would be chaos if we didn’t conform to a degree. But I think it’s really important to understand why we are doing what we are doing, so that we don’t end up stuck doing things that really don’t suit us, for reasons that we’ve not really examined. This kind of social/cultural level of extrinsic motivation is the thing that happens not because someone is standing over us demanding that we do what is expected. There is an element of choice, but essentially the motivation is coming from outside rather than from within. So one of the ways that you see extrinsic motivation working is when people end up swallowing the rules and the expectations of a group that they are part of without analysing or questioning them at all.


So just a personal example, when I was in my teens I attended a church that had got really quite a strong hierarchical structure. I was a bit of an outsider, in that everyone else who was a member of the youth group that I attended had grown up within the church, they’d attended a church-run school, and there were quite a lot of rules that, by and large, young people complied with. Girls dressed modestly and wore hats in church. No-one listened to pop music. Which when I look back seems astounding! And on one occasion I said, in the context of a group meeting, that I quite fancied celebrating my birthday with a barn dance. That was followed by a shocked silence, and then one of the girls said “we don’t agree with barn dances”. I said, “why don’t you agree with barn dances?” Deathly silence. In actual fact, nobody had any idea why they didn’t agree with barn dances. What they knew is that barn dances were taboo and shouldn’t happen. I can’t imagine what dangers it was regarded would be entailed in barn dancing. There are a lot of people who would regard barn dances as a bad idea for reasons of taste rather than religious morals. But my point is, that that was a rule, one of many rules in fact, that had been sort of culturally absorbed by people, without much examination. Actually, quite a lot of the big societal changes that there have been have been because people have taken a step back and realised that cultural rules which have influenced our behaviour, actually have not been that good.


What often happens with extrinsic motivation is that as time goes by, we take on bored rules and expectations and sort of make them our own, so they become sort of semi-intrinsic, but their source is sort of still from outside. And of course it could be argued that when those extrinsic motivators are pushing us towards a healthier lifestyle, eating more fruit and vegetables, being kinder to the planet, all of those sorts of things, then they are good. But they are still not going to be the things which set our hearts on fire.


But my reason for spending a bit of time thinking in a little bit of depth about extrinsic motivation is because understanding this stuff I think helps us to take a look at what we do and why we do it, and where our motivation is coming from. Understanding that gives us choices that we otherwise might not have. Things that you do because you believe that it’s your duty to do them, because you are obliged, because you think you ought to, because you think you must, because you think you should – so you could say the Duties, Obligations, Oughts, Musts and Shoulds, or DOOMS – all of those things will be coming from external motivation. Some of those things will be important that you will wish to continue to do, but actually, but if, for example, you are making a contribution to a charity or a church because you are feeling obliged and because you feel that it’s your duty, well it may well be that you would make a better contribution if you were to step back from doing the thing that you think you have a duty to do or that you ought to do, and you began to think about what it would look like if you were doing the thing that you really wanted to do.


The thing that you want to do, you’re likely to offer with much more joy and enthusiasm and energy, and it will express things about who you are in a way that things that are extrinsically motivated never will. Dutiful extrinsically motivated actions will keep the show on the road, but it isn’t going to set the world on fire. For that we need something different altogether. We really need to look at intrinsic motivation. The motivation that comes from within.


So what is intrinsic motivation? One answer is simply to say that it’s that intangible something that fires people up, that gives them passion and energy. We know that we’ve got it when we find that we get joyfully lost in something. When we discover that hours have passed without our even noticing. We are intrinsically motivated when we work really hard and come away feeling energised and enthused. We’ve hit the motivational jackpot when there are 5 elements in place. Passion, Purpose, Mastery, Autonomy, and Community, and we are going to have a think about each of those in turn.


So, passion. There’s something a little bit indefinable about passion, but we know when we’ve got it. Passion is when you’re doing something simply for the love of it. I once met an AA man who spent a lot of time talking to me about his passion for car mechanics. We’d got a lot of time to talk because he had to tow my car quite a number of miles. I asked him about his work, and whether he enjoyed it, and why he continued to do it. He spoke with such passion and enthusiasm about his joy of fixing all things mechanical. He told me that the first thing he’d ever fixed was a petrol lawnmower that he’d acquired from a science teacher who lived at the other side of the town he was in. He had walked for miles trundling this old broken-down petrol lawnmower back home, so that he could then spend hours making it work again. That’s a lot of work to put in, and quite what a teenage boy wanted with a petrol lawnmower, goodness knows. But in actual fact he probably didn’t want anything particularly with the petrol lawnmower, it was just the opportunity to spend time fixing it. That had carried on that passion for mending and fixing things into the career that he was in when I met him. At one point he talked about a job he’d had in a garage which he’d really enjoyed, and then that garage had been taken over by new people, who made a number of changes. They changed pay and conditions, they took away a canteen, but none of those things, he said, bothered him. What really bothered him was when they removed from people the opportunity to use the garage and the tools outside of work hours for their own projects. This is a really good example of the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The extrinsic motivators, of having a good canteen, and having good pay and good working conditions, were not the things that were the deal breakers for him. What the dealbreaker was, was when they interrupted his ability to do more of what he was passionate about. And so obviously working for the AA was something that enabled him to fulfil his life purpose and something that he was passionate about. I felt incredibly privileged to meet him, actually. And very pleased that this was the AA man who was sorting out me and my car. Because he was doing something that he was passionate about.


And there are people who are passionate about all sorts of things that might not float our boat at all. What brings joy to one person might leave somebody else completely cold. But we know passion when we see it. So thinking about what it is that you actually enjoy, that you love, that you care about, is a really big clue as to what’s going to motivate you.


The second ingredient of intrinsic motivation is purpose. Loving something is great, but if it has a deeper meaning, a greater purpose, then that is a really big motivator. We love to be doing something that we understand has meaning. And actually you might be beginning to think about this as being grand and worthy and unattainable, but if you take a step back and you look deeply at what it is that you’re doing, purpose can be found in many things that might not be regarded as great and worthy. In one of my more recent podcast interviews, I talked to Alana, who’s a hairdresser, and who loves what she does, and she talks with great passion about how what she does is meaningful. She looks at that quite broadly in terms of the meaning behind her work. I would really recommend that you have a listen to that podcast if you haven’t already. She’s not the first hairdresser I’ve met who has seen purpose and meaning in what they do. When I was a student in Sheffield, I occasionally visited a hair salon called Hair By Christmas, and that was run by a guy called Andy. And it was called Hair By Christmas because he was really, really, really slow. It was an alternative kind of hairdress-y place. And I went there a few times. I went once to have a 1980s perm done – yes, I know! – well, it was an early 90s perm, in fact. But it took hours. But that actually meant that I spent quite a bit of time listening to him talking about what he did and why he did it. One of the things that he said that he loved being a hairdresser because people left his salon feeling better about themselves.


I can remember a conversation with a caterer a number of years ago who did catering for United Christian Broadcasters. I happened to have a conversation with her because the catering was particularly brilliant at an event that I attended, and I wanted to thank the person who was doing the catering. When I got chatting to her, she talked about just how much she loved doing her job because, as she put it, “I get to feed God’s people”. So actually feeding people, not only was she passionate about cookery, but she could see some purpose in that. That she was doing something beautiful for the world.


So purpose is something which is motivating to us, and actually we all want to be doing something which has a broad purpose, that has deep meaning to it. I think that the deepest sense of purpose comes from a combination of two things. Firstly, it reflects something about love in the world. It reflects something of the character of our Divine Creator, and what the Divine Creator is doing in the world. When you think about it, people generally find meaning in things that reflect something of God’s character. Of love, justice, compassion, creativity. Of a regard for creation and the world and the cosmos. And that are about helping people to live more fulfilled and better lives that offer dignity to people and to animals, quite often. But something about showing love for creation and for people. Usually, those deeper sense of purposes come from that. 


And secondly, from doing something which expresses something which is uniquely us. Something that we are created to do. In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddel, the famous runner who actually went on to become a missionary in China, he said “God made me fast, and I feel His pleasure when I run.” I think he says that – in the film, he’s portrayed as saying that to his sister, when she’s questioning why he’s doing the running. But having that combination about having something which expresses something that is uniquely us, and which links in to that sense of divine purpose, gives us a real sense of meaning and purpose.


We’ve talked about passion, we’ve talked about purpose. Motivation also happens when you can get mastery. Mastery is the ability and the desire to get better at something. As human beings we’re sort of driven to develop mastery, we want to be good at what we do. And being good at something does give you a real buzz, doesn’t it? It’s that sense of fulfilling your potential. To develop mastery that generally means we need a certain amount of innate ability or potential in the first place. It is really difficult to find the motivation to work at something if you’re fundamentally unsuited to doing it. So my ballet career was never going to take off *laughs* Neither was my career at, erm, badminton, or basketball, because I just do not, I do not have an innate predisposition to be good at any of those things. But when we do have an innate ability, and we are able to get good at something, then that can give us a certain level of motivation that we might not otherwise have.


I remember, interestingly, somebody who’s gone on to become quite famous as a mathematician, and actually the ability to develop mastery was a real motivator and driver for her, that has actually led her to go on and do maths at a higher level. She said that the thing that made the difference for her, in fact, was that one summer, her mother gave her some books, they were maths books, that were all about the stuff that she was going to learn the following year in her lessons at school. And because she ended up spending quite a lot of time over the summer working at these things, what that meant was that when she got back to school, she’d sort of got a head start on everybody else, and so that meant that she was able to be masterful at maths in a way that she hadn’t been able to be the previous academic year. That sense of mastery, of achievement about something enabled her to gain a sense of motivation about it, and I’m sure that that wasn’t the only component, but I think it’s really interesting that it’s the mastery that gave her the hook into some of the other elements of motivation that meant that she actually went on to become a mathematician. I suspect that if there wasn’t also something in maths that was going to help her to be passionate about it, that might not have made the difference long term. But it was the mastery that got her on the way. That’s the thing that people will spend a lot of time working and practising something, if they have an innate ability and they can develop that mastery. That’s why musicians will spend hours practising, because they are continuing to develop mastery, and mastery is something that is always really around the corner. Sadly, quite a lot of people end up being encouraged not to develop mastery at the things which they have potentially some ability at, but often what happens is that we are pushed to get better at things which we are inherently bad at. So you know you go for the annual appraisal and quite often the push at work is to say “well, you need to get better at this because you’re not very good at it”. Whereas in actual fact, if we are going to find our sweet spot in life, often what we need to do is to find workarounds and find ways of managing the things that we’re not so good at, and actually put the time in to stuff that we do have an innate ability for. Because that’s where the payoff is going to be. Which does make me worry about the amount of time we sometimes spend trying to get young people to get good at, for example, reading and writing and arithmetic at school, and how much emphasis there is on developing those particular skills when somebody might not be very good at them. Actually, it would be better to encourage people to get to a point where they can kind of cope in life with those things, but then allow them to spend their time developing things which they do have an ability for.


I remember years ago going to a parents evening, and one of my sons had lots of things he’s really good at, and i can see huge potential, but actually, the core academic things about getting good at – well, his handwriting, writing things down, and actually, we live in a society where writing things down in that way is maybe not needed as it was 20 years ago. But I spent time with his teacher, who was really talking quite a lot about his inability to write things down. So I asked the question, “you’re telling me what he’s not good at, so what is he good at?” And she looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights, coz she couldn’t think of anything. She couldn’t think of anything that he was actually good at. Whereas I knew that there were lots of things that he was good at. But it really interested me that in that context, that wasn’t something that was seen. So instead of being given the opportunity to develop his innate talents and skills, he was being pushed to spend a lot of time working at something that he wasn’t good at. Fortunately time goes on and actually he’s got some more ability to head in a direction where I think he is being able to develop his innate skills, and that’s really good to see. When you do find your thing, and you can develop mastery, and you can work at the stuff which you’re good at, then that enables you to develop those skills and those strengths in a way that will enable you to contribute to the world with more and more skill and expertise, and that’s great.


So we’ve talked about passion, we’ve talked about purpose, we’ve talked about mastery, the 4th thing on my list is autonomy. So in order to be intrinsically motivated, we need space to pursue the things that we want to do in a way that suits us. So we need to be able to put our stamp on something. We need to be able to do something in a way that uniquely expresses who we are. In other words, we want freedom. When things are overly controlled, that leads to unthinking compliance, or at least rebellion. Autonomy leads to engagement. So autonomy trusts people to do a good job, and to make their own decisions. It allows for mistakes and encourages people to experiment, take risks and find their own unique way forward. And let’s face it, none of us likes to be micromanged. We all know what happens to our productivity when there’s a teacher, or a supervisor, or a manager looking over our shoulder and wanting to control what we’re doing.


So, passion, purpose, mastery, autonomy, and then the final part of the puzzle, in terms of finding things which are intrinsically motivating, is actually other people. Lots of studies have shown that while some people can be pretty self-motivated, most of us are much more likely to stay motivated and inspired if we are supported and encouraged by other people. If we are working together. If there is somehow a sense of community. If there are people around us who are acknowledging and valuing our efforts. So whilst the best motivation comes from within, to make the most of that inner motivation, we really need a supportive community. That might be about your family, or the team that you work with, or your colleagues, but having people around us who care about us and cheer us on, and having people that we can care about and cheer on, makes a big difference. We’re not creatures designed to work in isolation. We are designed to work together. So finding your teammates, finding people you can work with will make a big difference to your level of motivation.


So we started this episode thinking about what are the things which give you life, and I think if you were to look at the things which give you life, you will find that they have those elements within them of intrinsic motivation. So were you to look at all of the things that you do, and think about how you feel when you’re doing them, and where your passion and your motivation comes from, probably you will find that the things where you are most intrinsically motivated the things which give you the most life, the things which draw out of you your best contribution, will be those things which kind of key into those elements of intrinsic motivation. And finding purpose is often not about one moment of discovering what it is that we are called to do. And those things which sound like one moment are never actually one moment, I think. Often it’s about refining what’s going on for you. I think that finding our purpose in life is often about gradually moving towards those things which are most an expression of who we are. So gradually moving away from the things which don’t give us life, where we’re not expressing our best selves, and having more and more in our lives of the things which we’re doing because they are about who we are, they are about the core of our being. They connect with that stuff which intrinsically motivates us because it’s about connecting with that stuff that expresses most clearly who we are.


What it might be for you at this moment is that there is a challenge around thinking about, what is the stuff that you are doing in your life. How much of that is really expressing who you are. How much of that leaves you feeling motivated and full of life. What are the things in your life that actually leave you feeling a bit grim and a bit drained. If you can be really honest about that, then the challenge might be to say, “well, how can you move the balance?” And that’s both about doing more of the stuff that you love, but also about having the courage to say no to some of the things that you’re doing that are not really expressing who you are. 


I am thinking back now to some sessions of lifecoaching that I did with somebody a number of years ago. She was someone who was really active in her local church and she was doing lots and lots of different roles. What we did was that we wrote down all of those things on post-it notes, all of the things that she did. And when she looked honestly at most of the roles she had within her church situation and within her community, most of those were things that she was doing because she’d wanted to help out. There weren’t many things on her list that actually gave her life. There were some, but not many. So what we spent some time doing was honestly evaluating how much those were things that were definitely stuff that she could do, bringing her best self, and that gave her life, and which things she was doing because she thought she ought to out of a sense of duty. Then she made some really brave decisions, having worked out which of the things that she did were things that were not really giving her life, and I think there were 5 or 6 of those. And then we thought about, well, how could you hand those on to other people, who would really like to do them? And how many of those things actually need doing at all? Because quite often, the stuff that we’re doing, we’ve been doing for years, because it was really helpful to people at one point. But actually now, if we’re honest, the world wouldn’t end if we stopped. She spent some time about how she was going to hand those things over, and she made a bit of a plan. Over a period of months what happened was that she gradually put down the things that she wasn’t inspired by, that didn’t give her life, that were draining, and that meant that she could then begin to pick up more of the stuff that did give her life, and that was intrinsically motivating to her. The result was that some other people were able to do some things that she gave up, and they really wanted to do them, and they were things that were giving them some fulfilment. SHe was able to drop a couple of things that actually really weren’t serving much of a purpose, but she was able to do more of things that gave her life. That meant that she was doing it with more energy and more enthusiasm. Offering more to the world. Because the truth is that there is always, when we are looking at how we are going to spend our time, what the economists would refer to as opportunity costs. In other words, In other words, doing one thing costs you the opportunity to do something else.


So if this episode has given yu pause for thought and it feels like it’s connecting with something that’s going on for you in your life, then I would encourage you to spend some time, maybe with a good friend, or maybe prayerfully, thinking about, “what are the things that I spend my time doing?” “How can I shift the balance away from the stuff which is draining me, towards the things which give me motivation and life. I hope that that will be helpful to you.


I will put a link in the shownotes to some of the Dan Pink stuff around motivation, if you want to have a look at that, and it may be that if this has really been meaningful to you, that it would be worth you having a look on the website at the Loved, Called, Gifted course. Which would give you some off the other puzzle pieces around discovery of your life purpose. 



Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Loved Called Gifted podcast. If you’d like to get in touch, you can email You can find a transcript of this podcast at and that’s also the place to go if you’re interested in the Loved Called Gifted course or if you’d like to find out about spiritual direction or coaching.

Thank you for listening.


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