Answering Your Call [Book Review]

Below is a book review (my style) of Answering Your Call, by John Schuster.

Only by discovering, and then somehow creatively deploying, our unique combination of gifts, can we ever feel the deep satisfaction of a life well lived.

And so begins John P. Schuster’s book, Answering Your Call.  My father actually gave me this book after it was recommended to him by one of his mentors at the Schuster Center (I don’t think there’s a relation).  I have always (it seems to me at least) felt that I had a unique calling and purpose for my life.  I wasn’t always sure what that purpose was, but I have nearly always felt an urgency to accomplish a few things in my life.  

Anyhow, the book itself claims to be for the people that may not be totally clear about their calling in life.  I would probably say this describes most people that I know.

This post aims to summarize a few of the key points that I pulled from the book and would like to implement in my own life.  

Finding a Calling

To anyone who is putting some mental energy into finding their calling (or purpose or destiny or reason or passon), here’s some advice for you from the book:

It is absolutely certain that you will never answer your call if you don’t mightily believe, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that you have one to begin with.

And here’s a thought that has haunted me in the past:

Not responding to calls also brings feelings and consequences, like boredom and anxiety.

John’s Six Memorable Principles from the Book

So here are a few other key points that I wrestled with from this book.

  1. In a leadership calling, the biggest factor that limits growth is courage.
  2. The slow times are the times when you need to search for reasons to continue forward.  Uninspiring moments pass if the belief is strong enough.
  3. “The called life is not an easier life than other kinds, only a better one.”
  4. “The saboteurs who make your life so difficult, unwittingly invited there by you, teach you what you need to work on.”
  5. It’s okay to find things that need to be changed and then to fight for the right ideas and principles to change those things (this would make you what the author calls a provocateur—I have these tendencies)
  6. “The mistakes we make later in life, after we have had time to become more discerning, though still forgivable, are less so, because they are less about discernment and more about courage.”

You Don’t Have to Be a Superstar

I have to say this little book (under 150 pages!) had an impact on me and I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who reads this and wants to live an intense life.  Additionally, the author pointed out that many people get faked out by believing that accomplishment must include becoming a “superstar” in what a field.  However, some of the greatest callings include parenthood, service, or encouragement, which are often under-appreciated endeavors.  See Chapter 2 for more on this.

A final word, quoting George Bernard Shaw, from the book:

The true joy in life is being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being a force of nature instead of a selfish, feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

Go become a force of nature.


  • A calling never quits.

    • John Mashni

      I know! If we don’t listen now, we will hear the call later.