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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0087 | February 11, 2003
5,500 Subscribers

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 

Hello MFJ Readers. 

I'd like to thank my friend and author, Gregg Levoy, the author of "Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life," for his contribution and inspiration for this week's  article, "Are You Following Your Calling." I'd also like to invite you to a free tele-discussion with Gregg and myself next Thursday, Feb. 20th. See details below

I've also started an R&D team for If you'd like to be part of the formation of this virtual university, please come have a look at the site and join our R&D team. Your involvement means that you will receive emails from me periodically soliciting your input and ideas. As we begin to flesh out the concept for this site, I'd really value your support. So please join if you'd like to be a part of this creative endeavor.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading! 
Steve Davis

Self-Mastery Skill

Are You Following Your Calling?
You owe it to yourself and to the world to find and follow an authentic life.

The Point

Many of us, operating as personal and social change agents in the roles of facilitators, trainers, coaches, teachers, leaders, etc., truly have a passion for making a positive difference in the world, in the lives of individuals, and groups. Many of us may have answered, what one might refer to as, "a calling," to do this work--some deep inner prompting, or nagging, that compelled us to follow one path or another.

We may have denied this calling for a long while. Perhaps we have a calling or callings that we continue to deny. And understandably so. As the act of following a calling can really upset our lives. And who among us loves to change? But still, is there a calling you've yet to answer, that won't let you rest? That keeps haunting you? Perhaps in the form of inner turmoil, pain, or frustration that nags you in the land of status quo?

Our callings often operate on a level below and beyond our conscious, rational, thinking minds. It takes courage and faith to follow them. But realizing that this level of our being connects to far more of the mystery and wisdom of life than our rational minds  can ever grasp, should give us pause to heed them.

Facilitators and coaches often help individuals and groups resist their compulsive addiction to certainty, by teaching them to hold opposites, to sit with a question, or to face a conflict, long enough for something new and richer to evolve. We challenge and support people to face and resolve the barriers that keep them from acting on their heart's desire or their soul promptings.

Paradox and confusion are the nature of calls. Easing up on ourselves when we're confused or uncertain is a great step forward. Clarity is power, but lack of clarity around our callings is not a sign of weakness. It's part of the path. Without the friction of uncertainly, we would not be molded into the vessel strong and deep enough to live them. Loving ourselves through the confusion can open the space for the calling to do its work on us. The great statues we admire did not come into being without being hammered on relentlessly...but in the right places of course.


Listen to what Gregg Levoy, the author of "Callings," has to say about these mysterious gifts.

A calling is any urging or imperative from deep within your life that tells you what it’s going to take to make your life---or the lives of those you lead, manage or counsel----"come true," and it is a request for a response----an awakening, a course-correction, a decision that needs to be made, some movement toward a state of integrity and authenticity. It could involve a career change, a new role or relationship, a new venture, a creative leap, or a move to a new city.

A calling is also an organism, a living entity, with an animus all its own. It exerts a centrifugal force on your life, continually pushing out from within, pushing you to decide whether to say yes or no, now or later, ready or not. And it will keep coming back until you give it an answer. Saying yes to a calling tends to place you on a path that half of yourself thinks doesn’t make a bit of sense, but the other half knows your life won’t make sense without.

The bigger the calling, too, the more likely it will fling opposing energies into your life. One part of you wants to awaken, another to sleep. One part wants to follow, another to run like hell. Courage is joined at the hip with anxiety. Heroism can be redefined for the modern age as the ability to tolerate paradox, to hold contrary impulses and ideas within you and still hang on to your marbles, still retain the ability to function. Thus a heroic approach to the oxwork of bringing calls into form takes them on with no illusions, knowing that your endeavors will always be attended by the conflict between the voices of faith and doubt, passion and security.

Unfortunately, callings tend to bring on the fear that scares away sleep, so we typically tune out the longings we feel rather than confront and act on them. We’re all conservatives when it comes to change; we want to conserve the status quo, protect our investments. We also fear what might be demanded of us in pursuing them, and perhaps even fear the hope that such dreams evoke in us, and the power that we know is dammed up behind our resistance. As someone I interviewed for my book, "Callings," said, “You shall know the truth and it shall make you nap.”

Ultimately, none of us want bumper stickers on our cars that say “I’d rather be sailing,” or “The worst day fishing is better than the best day working.” We want to do what we’d rather be doing. We want our lives----and the work to which we’re devoting our lives----to catch fire and burn blue, not smolder. We want to feel called, not just driven. We want work to be a channel through which we express our passion and vitality, not a chin-up bar we have to pull ourselves up to every morning. And we want success to be a way we feel, not just a thing we achieve.

To do this, we must incorporate into our lives and our work the understanding that hidden deep in the clockworks of the human heart is the beneficent fear of living life, as Henry Miller once put it, without ever leaving the bird cage, and that this fear can be the beginning of great things. Outside the cage there is life in all its toothsome grandeur, all the spill and stomp and shout of it, all the come and go of it, all of it waiting for us to act on the one hand, and on the other hand rushing down the hourglass.

Gregg Levoy is the author of Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life. Visit his website at


Have you every had a calling? If so, how did it manifest? Do you have a calling now that you're avoiding? If so, why? Do you want to do something about it? If so, what? I'd love to hear what happens for you. Please email me your comments.

Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, by Gregg Levoy

How do we know if we're following our true callings? How do we sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday reality and hear the calls that are beckoning us?

Callings is the first book to examine the many kinds of calls we receive and the great variety of channels through which they come to us. A calling may be to do something (change careers, go back to school, have a child) or to be something (more creative, less judgmental, more loving). While honoring a calling's essential mystery, this book also guides readers to ask and answer the fundamental questions that arise from any calling: How do we recognize it? How do we distinguish the true call from the siren song? How do we handle our resistance to a call? What happens when we say yes? What happens when we say no?

Callings is a compassionate guide to discovering your own callings and negotiating the tight passages to personal power and authenticity.

cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 

Stories of callings 

Have you ever helped a group, "find it's calling?" If so, I'd love to hear your story. Please send them to me at ../contact.html and I'll share with you all the inputs received. 

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.

About the Author
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight


Have you answered the call?

Join us for a Free 1-hour Tele-Discussion with Gregg Levoy, 
the Author of "Callings--Finding and Following an Authentic Life."

What is a Calling?
How do we identify them?
How do we invoke them?
How do we identify and answer the calling of a group? 
How do we distinguish a true call, from ego noise?
How can we be certain of our calling?
How do we deal with the inevitable fear that stands between us and acting on our call?

Join us for a free one-hour Tele Discussion with Callings Author Gregg Levoy that may just answer some of these questions for you. This is part of our new continuing teleclass series sponsored by

This telediscussion will be held at 7 PM EST on Thursday, February 20th. Please click here and press "Send." You'll receive an automatic response, secure your spot for this call register, and receive call-in information. But hurry, the bridge can handle only a limited number of callers.

Steve Davis
Publisher, MFJ


... Jan Allen, Debbie Phillips, Rob Berkley, and Steve Davis


with acclaimed author
Gregg Levoy

A one-day workshop to make your life literally "come true."

Saturday, March 29, 2003
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The Hartman on Main
150 E. Main St.
Columbus, Ohio

"Gregg has a dynamic understanding of the link between passion and purpose as the motivating agent in creative work, and in engagement in the workplace."
Deborah Jacroux
Microsoft, Work/Life Dept

"Gregg's presentation is life-changing."
Tracie Thomas

"CALLINGS can help you discover your true vocation and help you hear the still small voice that calls you by name."
Sam Keen, Ph.D., Author of Fire in the Belly and Hymns to an Unknown God

Click Here for Complete Details and Registration.

Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on February 25, 2003.   

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