20 Graduation Quotes on the Importance of Finding Your Calling

High school grads, we hear you. Stepping into the next phase of life can be intimidating! You’ll face challenges, obstacles, and stand stills, but trust us, it’s all worth it to figure out what you are truly meant to do with your life. Take it from these 20 writers, politicians, comedians, influencers, and everyday folk with great advice on how important it is to find your calling.

1. “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.” – Oriah

2. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  – Jackson Brown, Jr.  

3. “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” – D. Jakes

4. “So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant stripping away of the inessential. I began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might have never found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free… I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling 

5. “There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born, and how you become truly alive.” – Oprah Winfrey  

6. “You can find energizing moment in each aspect of your life, but to do so you must learn how to catch them, hold on to them, to feel the pull of their weight and allow yourself to follow where they lead.” – Marcus Buckingham 

7. “At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.”- Christopher Reeve 

8. “If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger – something that matters.” – Blake Mycoskie

9. “Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible… Limit your ‘always’ and your ‘nevers’. Continue to share your heart with people even if it’s been broken.” – Amy Poehler 

10. “There is no straight path from your seat today to where you are going. Don’t try to draw that line. You will not just get it wrong, you’ll miss big opportunities. And I mean big—like the Internet. Careers are not ladders,…but jungle gyms. Don’t just move up and down, don’t just look up—look backwards, sideways, around corners. Your career and your life will have starts and stops and zigs and zags. Don’t stress about the white space—the path you can’t draw—because therein lie both the surprises and the opportunities.” – Sheryl Sandberg 

11. “Remember that while there will be plenty of signposts along your path directing you to make money and climb up the ladder, there will be very few signposts reminding you to stay connected to the essence of who you are, to take care of yourself along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder, and to connect to that place from which everything is possible.” – Arianna Huffington 

12. “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality…. You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” – Jim Carrey 

13. “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means you should follow that…. Be true to yourself and everything will be fine.” – Ellen DeGeneres 

14. “When you embark for strange places don’t leave any of yourself safely at the shore…. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.” – Alan Alda 

15. “Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here.” – Neil Gaiman 

16. “So long as you desire to explore is greater than your desire to not screw up, you’re on the right track. A life oriented toward discovery is infinitely more rewarding than a life oriented toward not blowing it.” – Ed Helms

17. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matter of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs 

18. “A failure often does not have to be failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it—Will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right?—because the difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, is about the mastery of rescue.” – Atul Gawande

19. “Too many of us think it is impossible, too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. Our problems are manmade – therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” – John F. Kennedy 

20. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman 

Do any of these quotes inspire you to figure out what YOUR calling is? Maybe reading this stirred up a thought or idea of something you’ve always wanted to do, or made you realize you’ve never really thought about it till now. Hold onto that feeling! There has never been a better time than now.

Take the next step by using our Discovery Questionnaire to find careers fit for you!

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