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What’s Calling You? Tips For Listening to Signs from the Universe That Guide Your Path

Lissa Rankin's picture

At dinner the other night with a group of girlfriends, life coach Joy asked each of us, “What’s calling you?” Way to get a group of giddy, slightly tipsy girls to shut up and take notice, Joy! The question stunned us into silence, but we were amazed at what came up.

What’s calling me is screaming so loud that I can no longer ignore it. I’m in the throes of surrender, dropping to my knees before my calling and finally relinquishing the resistance I’ve been feeling for four years as I’ve watched the still-small voice of the Universe grow from a whisper to a rebel yell. I HEAR YOU!

My Calling

What’s calling me is that I’m supposed to lead the way for people- health care practitioners and patients alike- to redefine what we consider “health.” In the process, I’m supposed to empower other leaders to redefine other key parts of our wholeness, such as success, spirituality, and creativity. I am supposed to lead a movement- a Pink revolution, if you will through what we’re creating at Owning Pink.

And it scares the hell out of me.

Resisting the Call

I first heard the call five years ago on my wedding day in Big Sur, California, but the message I received had no meaning to me. I knew only that something was shifting and that my life was going to change forever. The Signs from the Universe came calling, and it took three years before the message became more clear. When I realized what I was being called to do, I recoiled. I had quit my job as a doctor completely, with the intention that I would never go back. I was so disillusioned by how we practice medicine today that I decided I’d rather quit, after 12 years of education, than continue as part of a system that is so broken. I thought I would paint and write books and pursue a purely creative life.

But I discovered that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. I resisted in every way possible. I denied the call. I rejected the call. I bargained with the Universe. I pleaded that someone else be chosen to do this work. I cried on my knees. I didn’t want to be a trailblazer. I wanted to live this quiet life in the country with my family, rather than put myself in the spotlight and become a missionary for the purpose. I wanted to retreat, and yet I was being called to be the Universe’s spokesperson.

Fast forward two years, and here I am, face to face with the call, and I’m in. Both feet. Taking one Pink leap of faith (Pleap) after another. I am – finally – obeying my call. I’m still terrified, but I’m no longer letting fear make my decisions for me.

How Do You Know When You’re Being Called?

In the beginning, I didn’t know I was being called. It wasn’t until the small voice grew louder, and the Signs from the Universe grew unmistakable, that I finally understood. I think I was so bull-headed and resistant that the Universe had to try exceedingly hard to get my attention. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. If you’re in touch with the quiet voices within you, your calling can whisper in your ear, and you will here.

Tips For Finding Your Calling and Hearing The Signs From the Universe

Pay attention when you notice any of the following:

  1. Occurrences that you might even call coincidence, except that the timing is too perfect.
  2. Dreams that offer you messages or suggestions.
  3. Books (or blog posts!) that speak directly to where you are in your life.
  4. Physical symptoms that signal something deeper (like back pain when you’re carrying the weight of the world on your back).
  5. Roadblocks on your current path. If something seems much harder than it should, it may be a sign that you’re supposed to take a fork in the road. When you’re listening to your calling and in the flow, things can feel effortless.
  6. Messages that arise during meditation.
  7. Gut feelings or instincts you can’t ignore.
  8. Something someone says that cuts right to the core of you.
  9. A sense of inner knowing that something is true, even though it feels completely crazy, implausible, or unachievable.
  10. Song lyrics that pop up over and over again.
  11. Answers to prayer that direct your path.
  12. People you attract who share your calling and guide the way or share the path with you.

When you discover your calling, the whole world begins to feel magical. You notice a flow you never experienced before. You feel a profound sense of inner peace, even as the calling itself rocks your world into chaos. When you hear the calling and choose to ignore it, I believe that’s when you suffer. A calling is not an order. It’s a choice. It’s an invitation. But when we choose not to listen to the call, we turn our backs on the truth of who we really are. Life will never be the same if you let fear prevent you from heeding the call.

What about you? What’s calling you? What would you do if you took fear out of the equation? If someone handed you a microphone and put you in front of an audience on the last day of your life, what would you say to the world?

We’re listening….

Heeding the call,

PS. Universe, you're killing me! After I wrote this post, I picked up a book to take on the plane to NY with me this weekend. It's an old book from 1997 that Mojo Mentor Jo Perron gave me to me ages ago, called Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy. I'm eating this book up! And the first 20 pages are almost exactly what i just wrote! Freakin' me out. Check it out Pinkies. You'll LOVE this book.


Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Renee

Thanks for reading. Be patient with your path and remember that we all have cycles of waiting and becoming that gestate the big things that come next. You will find your way, love. Your heart already knows it.

Renee's picture

Finding the Call


I clicked through to this post from another... I guess I'm working with #3.Books (or blog posts!) that speak directly to where you are in your life...lol..

Am at the point where I know I'm not happy where I am and am trying to identify the place where I would be...

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing :)

Dana Theus's picture

Bernita Oh! I can really


Oh! I can really relate to your comment on a lot of levels. In my case it's the opposite! I've been "exiled" on the east coast for 27ish years and yearn to move "home" to San Francisco (where I was born and lived briefly as a teen). I haven't moved back because - even though my east coast hubby also desires to move there - his family and our life is here. Our boys are in High School now and his mother is elderly... we're beginning to see the day we can move our life out there, but it's still probably a decade away. We dream together about it over glasses of fine California reds... We recognize that if they boys stay on the east coast for college (where it's more affordable for us, we may be tempted to stay here longer... so we're concocting all kinds of plans to be bicoastal or put our stuff in storage for a couple of years and take an overseas assignment to save money so we can afford two houses.... or any number of crazy ideas. In the end, we just make a decision a few years at a time. For the moment, we're content to stay here until the boys go to college and decide then - based on work, finances, their plans etc. if we can start to make our move or hang tight for another 6ish years to see what happens when the boys graduate... and then we'll make another plan etc. We want to be near our boys but we also know they will fly away someday and we'll have to let them go and rely on airfare.

We decided to move out there over 10 years ago when we bought property. We've spent 10 years dreaming and hoping we'll be able to build someday. A few years ago, I think in an effort to help us both, my husband pointed out that if we couldn't move out there we could sell the property and use the money to travel there in retirement years. So that's our plan B. But neither of us want that. We want to live there!

In part out of self preservation I've learned to live with the idea I may never live there. Sometimes I meditate and simply imagine I'm there and then I am! I hold that feeling in my heart as I head back out into my "real world". It does help. And I also focus on how much of my current life I do love and concentrate on being content with that because it will change - for better or worse, it will change, so I must appreciate what I have now because I'll never have it again... Ironically, wanting so badly to move has made more appreciate where I am all the more.

So, you see you've touched a nerve and I can really relate to that hole inside that wants to be somewhere else. Best just to own it and let it bring into sharp focus all that is wonderful in your life that would change if you decided to move.

Good Luck Love, Light and Blessings ~Dana

Bernita's picture

Great Post! I've struggled

Great Post!

I've struggled with and ignored a calling to move back to the Mid-West where family still live for over 10 yrs. I didn't then because my childrens father was here in CA. The move makes absolutely no sense to me and that is a little scary.

What does one do when it's not just about them? I have two sons in college and still depend on me. They don't want to move from the Bay Area. For me staying has been like a death sentence I've been spending a lot of time with trying to be okay with. It sounds crazy to me..lol

Dana Theus's picture

Deb You woke me up this

Deb You woke me up this morning laughing. nope. Coincidences here, girlfiend!

Love, light and morning laughter Dana

Deborah Beaulieu's picture

OMG! Dana...I just finished

OMG! Dana...I just finished giving it a try to express my calling from the Universe! The second I posted it, I looked up and saw your comment that "yes, all paths lead to the same place in the end, so why not enjoy the scenery you're given along the way?"

Oh Sweet Lord! Now somebody tell me that this is no coincidence at all! Our Universe is the same Spirit for each of Us, and we are connected and travelling the same path...and I accused myself of just rambling!

How divine!

I just experienced the oddest warmest, most comfortable feeling at this moment...we are all each a part of each of us and together we are one!

We truly are Sisters and Brothers of the Same Family and Tribe...Owning Pink is what we have named us, and it is more than I can imagine being a part of all of you!

My love and heart is overfull and just keeps coming and coming into me more and more! Such a pleasant undescribable feeling to be so connected! No coincidences in this girls life!

Dana Theus's picture

yes, all paths lead to the

yes, all paths lead to the same place in the end, so why not enjoy the scenery you're given along the way?

I wonder if our calling gets bigger and bigger the rest of our lives? what an amazing path that would be!


Lissa Rankin's picture

Yes, Dana....I've had many

Yes, Dana....I've had many callings. And as you say, they morph along the way, but all have been stepping stones on the path to the bigger calling I'm just now starting to see.

My mantra these days: "I'm on the right path, even though I don't know where I'm going."

What more can we ask?

Dana Theus's picture

Hey Lissa, great post. It

Hey Lissa, great post. It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I even knew what "the calling" felt like. I didn't recognize it, but I started following it. And I'm so glad I did. Interestingly enough, it's changed and morphed a bit over time, taking on different looks, feels and flavors... and I realize often it changes when I've actually accomplished some of my goal. As a result, I don't necessarily think of it as "A" calling anymore, but the little jewels and treats I find along the path I'm creating for myself by listening more deeply to my intuition. Maybe that's a calling, or maybe it's a ever-more-pleasant meander in the woods, I don't really know. I just know that no matter where I wander, it always has to do with bringing heart to the business world. So I suppose that's my calling, even though I still don't know what it looks like. I'm following it none the less.

Love, Light and Heart ~Dana

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you darling Kim. As

Thank you darling Kim. As Gregg Levoy says in his book, "the Sufi poet Kabir said our lives will be infected with a kind of 'weird failure'" if we choose not to follow our callings. "We'll feel alienated from ourselves, listless and frustrated, and fitful with boredom, the common cold of the soul."

On the flip side, if you're willing to follow your calling, you will ROCK your mojo :)

Here's to saying yes, Lissa

Kim Wencl's picture

Oh Lissa your post really

Oh Lissa your post really resonated with me! A calling is a choice and invitation and you can say no, but it will keep bringing you back around and asking again and again until you can accept and/or realize that The Universe is calling. Being afraid is part of our human experience. And I've found that is completely ok to be afraid or worried. But in the end, all we can do, is do our best and then leave it up to The Universe for support. You will NOT be disappointed and the sheer exhileration that comes from walking right through the fear is completely and utterly amazing and is a high like no other ... it completely compensates for any fear that was there.

And something that Heather said also rang very true for me. When I was being offered this path by The Universe, even though it was way, way out of my comfort zone, I had this intense yearning to follow. It was a feeling I had never felt before and it was overwhelming (but in a very good way) .... I never had felt so compelled to do anything like this ever before ... it was a calling that I just couldn't resist.

My life has never been the same since and time and time again The Universe shows me the way ,,, I'm still scared, but I know I will follow and do as I am led because if I put my full effort into it, The Universe will be there to help me. The rewards are endless.

The knowing that you are doing what The Universe wants of you is a wonderful, fullfilling feeling.

God bless you in your calling!

Hugs, Kim

Lissa Rankin's picture

OOh- Sheila I love the

OOh- Sheila I love the fishegg drawings! Such a calling! Check them out Pinkies: http://www.fisheggs.typepad.com

And Erin, (*holding you*) me too. I hear you sister.

erin rogers pickering's picture

WOW Lissa! Talk about cutting

WOW Lissa! Talk about cutting right to the heart of things!! that is all I can say right now... maybe when I stop crying I will be more eloquent. :-) wow!

Sheila's picture

Pure pinkspiration at the

Pure pinkspiration at the exact moment I needed it! As I watch OwningPink evolve, I am inspired by your dedication...I know it isn't easy. No doubt you rely on what you know to be fundamentally true to help you move forward. Although many twists and turns have led me to my path, I know that gaining a deeper understanding about life via fisheggs is what I was meant to do. I hope that fisheggs help to expand understanding of difficult/abstract life concepts while have a laugh. Earlier today I was tweeting with Monique who pointed me in the direction of this post. Thanks to you and the Owning Pink Peeps for helping me stay on my path :)

Lissa Rankin's picture

YES YES YES, Heather! I love

YES YES YES, Heather! I love what you said: "The only way I can describe it is how an artist or a writer creates a piece and almost doesn’t remember doing it. The creativity was flowing through me from somewhere else. I remember describing at the time like something was physically pulling me in this direction. It was so strong that I couldn’t ignore it."

I am an artist and a writer and that's exactly what happens when I'm in the creative flow. I complete something and think "What the hell just happened?" It's very magical- but also almost a wee bit creepy.

When you get out of your own way, though, the call comes through.

Heather Sobieralski's picture

This post really spoke to me.

This post really spoke to me. Mine did not start as a whisper but as if I was thrown into a bath of ice cubes and forced to listen!

I am being called to support other mothers in their quest to recreate their idenity and reclaim their MOJO! When I became a mother my world as I knew it was turned upside down. I never struggled more. I lived for years in a fog, and when the haze was lifted...there it was, my calling. I don't even know how it happened really. Most likely because I didn't resist it. I listened, followed my intuition and let myself be guided. The only way I can describe it is how an artist or a writer creates a peice and almost doesn't remember doing it. The creativity was flowing through me from somewhere else. I remember describing at the time like something was physically pulling me in this direction. It was so strong that I couldn't ignore it. I found myself without hesitation enrolling in a coaching certification program, and started to build my business. The pull was so intense that I never questioned my decisions or doubted my calling. During this begining period I remember not being able to sleep or concentrate on anything else until I would stop and listen to the ideas, words and energy which was pulsing through me. I am a great sleeper and I can't tell you how many times I had to get out of bed and write my ideas down (it was driving my husband crazy)! As I have flowed along with my calling, I am now starting to get another...to write a book about my experiences of becoming a mother. I will be driving down the road and chapers, words and memories are flying around so fast and furiously that I have to stop the car and write. I have to add that I AM NOT A WRITER! I have never had an interst or a talent. But... the universe is telling me otherwise... Thank you for addressing this topic! I have brought it up a few times with friends and they just don't get it. It is a true experience to behold!

Ellen's picture

Hi Lissa! This post is what I

Hi Lissa! This post is what I needed today! Thank YOu

Lissa Rankin's picture

That's what happens Juliana!

That's what happens Juliana! The call starts as a whisper- that still small voice that appears in dreams, that you can almost pretend isn't real. And then it speaks louder- and starts to yell.

That's how I'm feeling right now. I so wish I didn't have the grand opening of the Owning Pink Center next weekend, because i would take Gregg Levoy's workshop at Esalen! https://webapp.esalen.org/workshops/8344

Maybe some of you can enjoy...

juliana's picture

My calling is to awaken

My calling is to awaken "everyday folks" to their creativity and power, especially women. My calling is to remind everyone that they have a story to tell, and that listening to someone else's story is a powerful act of love. My calling is connecting people with their desires and gifts.

My calling is getting louder and louder...I hear it off in the distance, and it will still take some time, but in the meantime I *feel* it every day. I feel the flow, I am meeting my guides and new friends on the path, it is amazing.

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