Find Your Calling - and Carve Your Own Path

Many of us spend our lives pursuing a singular idea of success, one that was created for us by someone else.

We give votes to those who shouldn’t even have voices and strive to go faster and faster even as we find ourselves falling further and further behind. We chase gold stars, we check all the boxes, we lean in – and yet we still feel incomplete. When we don’t define success in our own terms, finding our purpose and carving our own path becomes impossible. So how do you break the cycle so that you can live your best life?

You can’t be insatiably hungry, or deeply inspired, or happily fulfilled by someone else’s goals. In order for your working life to feel right for you, it has to actually be right for you. Being limitless comes not from achieving externally defined success, but achieving consonance, where what you do matches who you are (or want to be).

Consonance is the sense of belonging, of momentous stride, of core relevance. It is a guiding force that reveals how your work (whatever that may be) contributes to your overall life’s plan. It connects your daily activities to the success of those around you and gives you clarity about why you—specifically you, in that seat, in that office, in that box on the organizational chart, or in that family—matter. Consonance is not just purpose writ large and lofty. It’s your purpose, freely and clearly defined by you, and put into action through awareness of and alignment with your life’s plan.


Consonance looks different for everyone. And it’s ever-changing, evolving as we age and pass through life’s various stages and adjust our priorities. Yours will be unique to you. The four elements that make up your consonance, however, are fixed. They are:

Calling – is a gravitational pull towards a goal larger than yourself – a business you want to build, a leader who inspires you, a societal ill you wish to remedy, a cause you wish to serve.

Connection – helps you see how your everyday work serves that calling by solving the problem at hand, growing the company’s bottom line, or reaching that goal.

If you’re going to become limitless, carve your own path.

Contribution – means that you understand how this job, this paycheck contributes to the community to which you want to belong, the person you want to be, or the lifestyle you’d like to live.

Control – reflects how you are able to influence your connection to that calling in order to have some say in the assignment of projects, deadlines, colleagues, and clients; offer input into shared goals; and do work that contributes to your career trajectory and earnings.

You can think of it in this way: Until we are able to control how our connection and our contribution influence and are influenced by our calling, we will continue to be limited in the confidence we have and the choices we make. If you’re going to clear the way to becoming limitless in your personal and professional life, you’ll need to ignore everybody and carve your own path. Combining and balancing the elements of consonance will give you the confidence to do it.

Laura Gassner Otting is the author of Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life.  Want to live a limitless life?  Take her quick quiz here to see what’s holding you back, and what you can do about it.

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