Are You Fulfilling Your Calling or Just Doing a Job?

Recently my friends Glenn Lundy and Heather Paraday were interviewing Dan Clark, motivational speaker and author. He talked about the difference between a calling and a job. Understanding this difference is so important. A job is something you feel you have to do because it earns you a living. You kind of “have to do it”. A calling is so much deeper. In fact you would do your calling for no monetary compensation, because just DOING the calling is powerful enough.

I feel this way about entrepreneurship. Which is why starting and growing businesses is a calling for me. Working with my team and leading them is exciting.

My other calling is motivational keynote speaking, I love this is as well. It’s a calling. It’s a ministry.

For many people, a job is just a way to make ends meet. You work, you get paid, and you probably don’t think all that much about what you do. But for others, work is more than just a way to pay the bills – it’s a calling. Fulfilling, meaningful work that feels like a natural extension of their talents and passions. Let’s explore the difference between a job and a calling. How small business owners can align their work with their personal sense of purpose.

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The big difference

The most significant difference between a job and a calling is the sense of meaning and purpose attached to it. A job is typically a means to an end, an exchange of time and effort for financial compensation. Sure, it’s essential to have steady income. But it can be difficult to find meaning or fulfillment in work that feels like a grind. A calling, on the other hand, is work that is deeply connected to an individual’s sense of purpose or passion. It’s the kind of work that brings a sense of joy or fulfillment, and the financial compensation is often secondary.


Another way to distinguish between a job and a calling is through the motivation behind the work. A job is often motivated by external factors like financial gain, recognition, or social status. While these are valid reasons to work, they are far less powerful and sustaining than the internal drive that fuels a calling. Work that comes from a sense of passion or purpose is often motivated by a desire to make a difference in the world. We often want to create something new and meaningful or to bring joy or value to others.

Align your personal values and work

One of the core benefits of understanding the distinction between a job and a calling is the ability to align your work with your personal values and vision. When you know what you’re passionate about and what you truly value in life, you can make wiser, more informed decisions about how to structure your work.

For small business owners, this means thinking carefully about the why behind your business, the kind of impact you want to make, and who you want to serve. By aligning your work with your true calling, you can build a business that is not only financially successful but also deeply fulfilling.

Understanding the difference between a job and a calling is about more than just semantics. It’s a fundamental inquiry into what motivates us, what brings us joy, and what we truly value in life. By understanding this distinction, small business owners can align their work with their sense of purpose, serve others more effectively and create a business that supports their whole selves.

While a job may provide financial stability, it cannot compete with the sense of fulfillment and joy that comes from work that is driven by passion and purpose. Whether you’re just starting out or reevaluating your current business, taking the time to reflect on your calling can help you create a business and a life that truly feels fulfilling.

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