The 5 Stages of Connecting to a Life Calling – Stage 4

Stage 4 is the Engage stage.  

Engage is the stage where you get what you do out into the world.  It’s where you pledge or promise to be responsible to regularly serve others the experiences, knowledge, skills and abilities you have acquired.  This can be through paid or volunteer service or just in what you do for others in your day to day life.  There are a few key distinctions to identify with this stage:

1. responsibility to others

2. regularity

3. giving knowledge, expertise and skills that you have acquired (to date)

Being responsible to others means …

…embracing that you make a difference for others.


“Responsible” is defined in the dictionary as “liable to be called on to answer“ and “able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations”.  When you engage in service to others it is usually through some kind of promise – that could be a job, a volunteer opportunity or even just giving your word that you will do something for another person.  Whether or not you actually deliver on what is established between you and another, you take on the obligation of being answerable for your actions and your results (or lack thereof).

With responsibility often comes sacrifice.  We willingly give up something that might bring us comfort, ease or pleasure in order to give comfort, ease or pleasure to another.  For example, when we make a commitment to another, we give up our time doing things we might otherwise enjoy or that would create greater ease in our life in order to fulfill on the obligation we promised.  If a friend called us and said “I have an extra ticket to see your favorite band – want to come?”, but it was during the time where you were going to do the work you promised to do for another, you might have to make a choice about whether to go to the concert or do the work you committed to do – especially if you cannot reschedule the work.

Being responsible means being accountable for what you promised to do no matter what comes up.  If you can juggle opportunities in a way that enables you to still meet your commitments then great!  Being responsible means doing just that – it is a commitment to do what you said you would do because you said you would do it AND because it matters to you that others are relying on you for service.  There are times of course when we all mess up on delivering on our commitments.  It’s how we handle the times we mess up that makes all the difference in whether or not we are still in the engage stage or not.

When you blow a commitment – FOR WHATEVER REASON – if you take ownership for it (i.e. you acknowledge what you missed, apologize and work to fix it ASAP), then you are still in the engage stage.  It’s when we don’t graciously take accountability or when we regularly blow off our obligations in favor of what brings us comfort, ease or pleasure that we are still in the discover stage – we don’t leave the discover phase until we decide to do what we discovered we can and are willing to do.

Regularity means…

… being open to doing what you do for others every day.


If everyday you are dedicated to serving others your knowledge, skills and abilities then you are truly transformed to a being who is engaged.  When we draw an imaginary line in our life between what we do for others and who we “really are” – say in our personal life – we risk disconnecting ourselves from a connection with purpose and a sense that we are living a calling.

How do you know if you are drawing these imaginary lines in your life?  Here are a few example questions you can ask yourself:

• Do I have a line down the middle of my closet between work and non-work clothes (and I believe that line should never be crossed)?

• Do I ever avoid getting involved in helping others unless I get paid?

• Does the thought of EVER giving up my personal time upset me – even when I have nothing special planned?

When we are engaged, what we do for others is our life!  There is no line in the sand between “our life” and “the life we lead where we must do for others” because we “have to” (i.e. family obligations, pay/work, etc.).  We just are who we are and do what we do without regard for “What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)”. If doing what you can do to serve others your knowledge, skills and abilities matters as much to you as your laundry, vacation, family commitments, sleep, etc. means to you – you might very well be engaged!

Giving what you have acquired (to date) means…

… being an expert at the level of knowledge, skills and ability that you have.


There is always someone who knows less than you and no one can serve others in the way you can – they don’t have your life experiences, your passion, your ability, your interest, your values – your heart!!

People who say, “Well, I’m not certified yet, educated enough, experienced enough, tall enough, pretty enough, smart enough, privileged enough, _____________ enough,” are not in the engaged stage.  There is a saying “God doesn’t call on the qualified, He qualifies the called”.  That saying couldn’t be more relevant to express my point.  When you get what you have to offer to others and you decide to give it, the path to making it happen more and more in your life will be revealed – always – 100% of the time!

It’s always important to be honest about your level of expertise and experience, but it’s not an excuse to withhold putting what you have acquired in service to others.  When we withhold what we can do – at whatever level of experience and expertise we can do it – we risk staying connected to a sense of purpose and a connection with our calling.  Even if you believe you are not skilled enough to help someone at the level they want help, you at least know that – and you always have the opportunity to connect them to someone who can give them appropriate help.

In summary, the engage phase is all about regularly getting what you can do out into the world.  It’s about putting who you are and what you can do in service to others – whether you get paid or not.  Whether you work, volunteer, or just live your life in a manner that is congruent with regularly giving others the knowledge, skills and abilities you have acquired to date, you are on track to feeling connected to a sense of purpose and your unique calling.

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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