Provision #541: What’s Your Calling?

Laser Provision

What’s your calling? That’s a different question than what’s your job? Your calling has to do with the difference you seek to make and the legacy you seek to leave in the world. Today I share with you a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation, that may inspire you to greatness. I hope it does.

LifeTrek Provision


Since I am travelling this week to lead a seminar in Dallas on the use of Appreciative Inquiry to revitalize schools, I thought I would share with you a well-known poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Oriah spoke to the International Coach Federation (ICF) Annual Conference when we met in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2000, soon after this poem was published in her book by the same name, The Invitation. It was inspiring then; it is inspiring now. In fact, you can hear her tell the story herself by ordering the ICF presentation. Enjoy!

The Invitation • 1999 by
Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
•Yes.•

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Coaching Inquiries: What’s your calling in life? Can you be alone with yourself? Can you sit bear the pain and share the joy of life? How can you make a difference that celebrates and reflects your values? Who can walk with you on the journey?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


In your last Provision, The Reciprocity Factor, you mentioned Ken Medema. Do you know him? He is amazingly gifted! A wonderful human being and musician. I love his stuff. You continue to delight me with your thinking, connections and insights. 🙂 (Ed. Note: I do know Ken; in fact, he and I share the same birthday • this coming Friday • separated by a decade. I agree that Ken’s gifts are amazing. Thanks for asking.)


As we approach the Holy and Yule Season, here is my prayer for you and your readers: that you shine and inspire the children who will come to know joy because they have witnessed it in you. To quote Marianne Williamson, from her book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of god that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we•re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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