How to Know if Your Calling is a Misdial Or the Real Deal


I’m on the road again.

If you know much about me, you know that my life has been somewhat nomadic.

I go where I’m called, and sometimes it’s long after the postal address has been changed and pictures hung that I have any clues about why I’m there.

In 2010, I had a middle-of-the-night calling to Northern California (I was awakened from a deep sleep by voices speaking the word ‘Petaluma’.)

Me: “god, what’s a Petaluma?” spurred me to eventually venture with my youngest daughter in tow with nothing but a bucket of faith (and plenty of advance scouting.)

Upon arriving in CA, a chance encounter at a networking meeting got me an executive gig where I worked with hundreds of global spiritual teachers.

No amount of preparation or foresight would’ve predicted what I’d get out of following that calling:

I got to befriend and learn from many deeply wisened souls.

I gained priceless skills in the world of creating digital online content.

I got to see the inner workings of narcissism and the abuses of power and profit.

Most importantly, I was able to work out my own misconduct with power through the mirror of these experiences.

I wouldn’t trade my time in NorCal for anything, and then it was time to go.

It seemed I’d accomplished everything there that had been intended, and the door opened for the next adventure.

Your Call May Not Have an Area Code


And because I wasn’t sure what or where my next stop would be, I traveled to Texas to reconnect with my roots and family I hadn’t seen during the pandemic.

Surely this wasn’t where I was supposed to be…?

It was the first time in my adult life that I didn’t know where to go next. Or what to do next. I was flummoxed by the lack of psychic or energetic or other inputs (as a former scientist, I call it all ‘data’) to help me follow the call that had led me here.

A reading by an astrocartographer revealed that I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere right now, or even to do anything different at all. He suggested “just to wait.”


I don’t wait well.

More likely, my friends would call me a Leaper.

But wait I did, evermore uncertain as to why I was in TX or how I would ultimately endure the heat, the culture, the politics, the bugs… everything I’d left 35 years ago.

And then…. a LONG year later, I met my soulmate.


After nearly a decade of searching, quite a few near-misses, deep healing and a few wonderful friendships…

David and I met in a parking lot.

You can’t make this stuff up.

After a very short dating period, we committed to a yearlong courtship to fully explore our relationship.

And THEN it occurred to us both that, no, we’re not supposed to be in Texas.

Having been to Colorado recently for a keynote presentation, it became very clear that I was to move back there.

So now that…

Family trauma has been tended. Check.

Karmic knots untied. Check.

Soulmate found. Check.

I feel resolved that everything that needed to be buttoned-up here is now so.

[None too soon, mind ya, with the dang Texas GOP trying to go so far backward in time to not only de-sanctify a woman’s bodily rights but to repudiate the 1965 Voting Rights and the 1972 Equal Rights Acts. Oh. And same-sex marriage.]

Obviously, the place I lay my head (today) is not serving me well.

Thank god I heeded the call to leave, long before it became so clearly obvious that this isn’t the place for me.

And most of the time, that’s how heeding the call of your purpose looks.

So I’m on my way to Colorado this week, unsure about what lies ahead but with great certainty that what is in store there will find me.

What to Do When the Call Looks Murky


How do you know when it’s a calling?

A calling can just as much feel scary and murky as it can be clear and exciting.

Maybe it’s a queasy feeling of discomfort in your gut.

Or a rush of enthusiasm in your arms and legs.

Or a warm expansive feeling in your chest.

Or a message you heard that came out of the blue.

Or the frequent and odd sighting of similar events or people or numbers.

Or a random encounter that leads you to something magic…

It takes practice to discern something distinct that could theoretically shape your life forever, as opposed to the misdial of a stranger selling you NFTs.

When you get something that might-maybe-sorta feels like a calling…



The most important thing to do (for now) is listen.

But actively.

Pay attention to repeat signs or symbols or messages.

Those crazy occurrences of messages in your external world are not to be dismissed- from everything like license plates or street signs or random numbers or faces appearing routinely or animals appearing as totems for what to heed.

Notice your reaction to events in your life.

If you have an uncanny or odd or weird reaction to some event or person, there’s usually something instinctive going on that suggests there is coincidence or synchronicity or invisible visceral response going on below the surface of your consciousness.

And speaking of visceral…

Notice the actual responses of your physical body (and its associated imprints) to the events in your life.

Spiritual adepts would call this ‘being attuned,’ and mostly it’s getting granular about the micro-shifting going on in your being-ness that’s taking account of your every move. [Read more about Purpose KPIs here.] I actually “feel” alignment in my body now, having practiced this level of attunement for so long… which certainly makes driving decisions (and leaping into the future) easier.

Notice how your perspective shifts upon receiving any of these inputs.

When you begin to notice the oddities, the aberrations, the unusual response to certain events or people, you begin to pay more attention to related circumstances, and the people and opportunities that show up. You also begin to anticipate and maybe even create intention around these events, when you know they’re not so random.

What’s Next


These clues are the beginnings of learning to heed the ‘calling’ of your purpose-aligned life.

The clues or inputs don’t usually come in as one big message (though they can, as did my NorCal calling), but often as dozens or hundreds of smaller re-directions guiding you closer and closer to the bullseye.

You’ll notice that as you heed the various inputs that are a part of your calling, you’ll feel more assurance, more clarity and more power.

And that’s the point. To get to the most powerful, alive and authentic version of you.

Or the NEXT version of you, if you’re already aligned with your soul purpose. To the life that is more enlivened and embodied as the emerging you. The you that is meant to be now, after the you that was before.

You could easily mistake a call for a random event or an odd situation or something ‘strange’ that happened today.

And of course those things happen too.

But pay attention. Which is it?

If I’d ignored the ‘dream’ (as my youngest daughter called it) that awakened me a decade ago to go to Petaluma and decided instead it was a nightmare, maybe things would’ve turned out OK anyway.

But it wouldn’t be this.

I’m moving with my soulmate to an amazing town in CO and happier, and more stable in every way, than I’ve ever been.

When the Call (or Something) Strikes


I find that I’m almost never exactly sure why I’m moving in the direction that I’m moving, but it just feels right and I do it anyway.

That has NEVER failed me.

Though it has gotten me into some tough scenarios I had to navigate, all of which were blessings in disguise.

And sometimes putting the next foot out, when you’re not exactly sure where it’s going to land, is tough. Especially when you’re used to stability and certainty.

Change is Easy, it’s Transition that’s Hard.


I can’t pretend that moving again is easy. Packing boxes is tough, even when it’s become a way of life.

And I’ve done it enough times that I know that where I’m going will serve me far better than my current orientation in time-space, or the prior one.

Having faith that the orientation toward the enlivenment- the wildest callings of my soul beyond my imagination- will lead me to the next version of my life.

Life is really just an iterative sequence of endings and beginnings, moving from what now feels complete to that which is being birthed.

And this is only possible when we let go of who we’ve been, or thought we were, to let in the new whispers of who we’re becoming.

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About The Author

Dr. Holly Woods is the Author of the #1 Bestseller, The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life. Read it, you’ll never again think your life doesn’t matter. Holly is a purpose activator. She believes that touching the spark of your soul lights you up so much that you alter the world just by being in it. Holly earned a PhD in Human & Organizational Development, is certified as an Integral Master Coach®, Purpose Guide®, Professional Mediator and Facilitator, Master Energy Practitioner, and is a Stages of Consciousness developmental practitioner. Learn about Holly’s work at Emergence Institute. You can schedule a 30 minute Strategy session with Holly.

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Holly Woods, PhD

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