The Napkin Test

I checked out Author Daniel Pink’s recent PINKCAST , where Daniel Pink asks Life Coach Richard Leider for some quick tips on how to answer one of the toughest questions out there.

What should I do with the rest of my life?

I’ve asked this question of myself many times in the past and I think everyone probably has at one time or another.

During the brief interview, Leider explains a simple equation that is the basis for The Napkin Test.

G (Gifts) + P (Passion) + V (Values) = C (Calling)

The Napkin Test (2)Gifts are your natural and most enjoyed talents. I really appreciated that Leider emphasized you don’t necessarily need to have formal education and/or training culminating in a degree, diploma, or certificate to validate your Gifts status at something. Your talents can be innate or honed through your life experiences as well.

Passions are what you’re really interested in and that’s what makes it so easy for you to lose yourself in when you’re immersed in them.

The Values that make up this equation also take into account where you want to do what you love to do and who you want to do it for or with.

Add these three components together and they point to your Calling. A Calling isn’t necessarily the same as your ideal job/career.  A Calling is more about how you can combine those gifts, passions and values to discover a specific purpose for yourself. By following a Calling, you can bring meaning to your life which in turn can lead to increased liveliness, happiness, fulfillment and health for yourself.

My curiosity got the better of me so I decided to give The Napkin Test equation a try  to see how it works and if it really worked. Here’s what I came up with.

What are some of my Gifts?

  • Instructing, coaching, facilitating, teaching
  • Motivating and inspiring others
  • Listening to others so that they feel heard
  • Creativity

What am I Passionate about?

  • Following a healthy, work-life balanced approach to life
  • Training and helping others to be kinder to themselves so they are better equipped to help themselves, others and to reach their true potential
  • Learning
  • Exploring new ways to exercise creativity

What do I Value?

  • Self-respect, personal well-being, freedom, independence, creativity, compassion, diversity and inclusiveness
  • Partnering with individuals and organizations whose focus it is too to help themselves and others part of a community to improve their situation and reach their potential
  • Being able to make a direct impact

My Calling is not just one thing. I have come to realize I have at least several.

  • First, to lead a simple life that begins with acknowledging that I have much to be grateful for, the present is what matters most and I’m only human therefore it’s wise to embrace imperfection.
  • Second, to practice self-care, self-compassion and the freedom to make mistakes on a regular and ongoing basis. It’s just simple logic because in order for me to do the things I love most and am good at, I have to be operating from a place of balance…mentally, physically, socially, spiritually and unrestrained by shame.
  • Through conscious awareness and pursuit of the above, I have the energy and personal resources to pursue my other Callings like helping others discover their own full potential too and creating beautiful art.

My conclusion? The Napkin Test really is a useful self-awareness and self-discovery exercise to get you engaged and thinking about what kind of things really motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and one step closer to feeling like you’re living a life with purpose.

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