When you live your calling, work and life are no longer separated

Imagine yourself going through an unlit street in a city at night. Suddenly an armed man peels from a dark corner, blocking your way. He threatens you: “Money or your life!” What would you choose? Would you give up your life to keep your money? I dare say that you would choose life, because everything else would make absolutely no sense.

The question is, however: Why then are you doing exactly the opposite concerning work – giving your life away to get the money?

I am aware that this is an assumption that might not apply to you. Yet it is probably true for the majority of the population in western society. An answer to the question might be that we usually do not realize that we give our lives away for money or safety. Simply because it is part of the context, we live in. It is normal. We have internalized this either-or-story so much, that we believe it to be true.

In this story, work and life are separated. Probably you know the saying “Do you work to live or do you live to work?” The second option is clearly considered as negative in our modern culture. And we do not even notice that if we seek the first option, we automatically make three basic assumptions limiting our lives enormously:

Assumption # 1. Work and life are separated and incompatible

If you work to live, work and life are separated and you declare them as incompatible opposites. Life is only happening outside of work – which is difficult, because usually we spend most of our time with or at work. We postpone real living until leisure time, holidays or even retirement. The trouble is that at leisure time we are usually too tired to live to the fullest. And when we retire a large part of our life time has already gone for ever.

Assumption # 2. Work is just a “means to an end”

If you work to live, you declare work as just a “means to an end”. Like this, work has nothing to do with pleasure, inspiration or calling anymore, but becomes a simple means to fund your life. As a means to an end, work quickly begins to feel like an annoying duty, a constraint. The original meaning of the word “work” was “plight” or “toil”. The Monday-morning depression and the Friday-afternoon-euphoria are typical mass phenomena resulting from this assumption. Just listen to the radio on a Friday afternoon and you’ll get served this phenomenon in different variations: “Hold on, dear listeners! Soon there will be closing time and we made it for this week!”

Assumption # 3. “Making money” is a life-premise

If you work to live, you declare making money to be a basic requirement. This leads to the following restricting equation: no money = no life! As long as you believe this story to be true and carry it within yourself, your life will be dominated by the desire for safety and the need of making money. Making money becomes a top priority – because we want to live, after all. This, however is no life strategy but a survival strategy. Unconsciously we mistake survival for life.

When you’re hooked by these three basic assumptions, you are trapped concerning your calling. You will not be able to either find your calling nor to live it. Because to live your calling you’ll need a different story with different basic assumptions, which allows you to shift your life’s orientation from a safety-orientation towards a destiny-orientation! To shift your priorities from survival to living.

This new story gives “work” a different meaning, because it looks at work no longer from a safety-oriented perspective but from a destiny-oriented perspective.




Work and life are separated Work is part of life
Priority: making money (= working to live) Priority: living your destiny (= living to offer your calling to the world)
Making a career Serving something bigger than yourself
Getting recognition Offering your talents
Survival Being / Living
To do one’s duty To make a contribution to the community
To be a good employee To be self-responsible
To obey, to follow the rules To develop your own authority
Time is split in working time & leisure time It’s all life time, 7 days/24 hours
I need holidays to recover from stress and exhaustion I make conscious breaks
Fear of having no work Creating your own game world; to have no work is an illusion
I have to adapt to become attractive for employers I am authentic
It’s hard and tiring It’s joy and it is challenging
Motivation: making money, assumed safety Motivation: inspiration, enthusiasm

With this destiny-oriented way of looking at work we would no longer work to live, but we just would become our destiny in action.

But why are we always making this either-or-story of it – a money-or-life story? There are more than enough examples of people who follow their destiny and live their calling and automatically earn enough money as a simple side effect. People who have dissolved the separation of work and life and have dedicated themselves and their lives to their true inspiration. Nicole Rupp, a Money Coach and friend of mine, says: “Money is what follows when you follow your calling.” Why do we prefer to believe the society-promoted either-or-story we have learned, instead of using these examples as evidence that something else is possible? Which would be to follow our calling AND to earn enough money as a side effect?

My guess: We use this ancient story in order to not be responsible for not following our calling. We love our “It’s not possible, because … “, because that is super comfortable. We don’t have to change anything and can continue complaining about our situation and about our work. For if we choose the new story, we have no more excuses and loopholes! Then there is simply no reason anymore to not set out to discover our calling and to live it – and that could be challenging.

So the question is not: “Money or your life?” The question is rather: “Do you want to live and follow your destiny or to feel safe?” – It is your choice!