“The first time I walked on stage, I knew that was what I was created to do. I knew that there was a calling and a sense of purpose in my life that gave me fulfillment and a sense of destiny.” –T.D. Jakes
Unless you’re a film buff, you may only have a nodding acquaintance with the Hedy Lamarr. The raven-haired beauty dominated the silver screen from the 1930s to the 1950s. Of the Austrian-born actress’s first American film, Algiers, one filmgoer said when she came on screen, “everyone gasped…Lamarr’s beauty literally took one’s breath away.” Fame and fortune based on her looks and acting talent followed Lamarr throughout her career, but she had a secret. Hedy Lamarr was a genius.
Off screen, Lamarr tinkered. She held no degree or formal training but invented a technology that improved the efficacy of traffic lights. Howard Hughes often consulted with her on aircraft designs. During World War Two, Lamarr developed a frequency-hopping signal generator for torpedoes that negated any signal-jamming efforts. This technology formed the basis for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-capable devices today.
There are two powerful lessons we can learn from Hedy Lamarr. The first is that she never accepted that she was “just a pretty actress.” The public recognized her for her films, but Hedy’s experiments were known only to a few. Hedy had a sense of self and mission that negated popular perceptions. Secondly, she used her “day job” to become a vehicle to dream and explore her penchant for technology. Even if we feel like our current career or position isn’t our passion, if we let those circumstances kill our soul, we can never achieve the kernel of greatness inside of us. Had Hedy Lamarr resigned herself to just being an actress, the technological landscape of today might look much different.
Everyone has a calling – a God-given purpose for why they were created. For some, their vocation is their calling. I know some pastors, counselors, health care providers, and others who make their living fulfilling their calling. For others, their vocation supports their calling. I suspect Hedy Lamarr was among the latter.
Believe in what is inside of you and not what others perceive you as. Connect your vocation with your calling, and you can change the world. If you struggle to believe that, think about Hedy Lamarr, “just another pretty girl” who changed our world.
Your True Calling Comes from the Inside: Accelerators
- What is your calling—your God-given purpose forbeing placed on this Earth? If you don’t know, startspending the time required to discover your calling.
- How does your vocation relate to your calling? Arethey synonymous? Or, does your vocation supportyour calling?
- In what ways can you link what you do every dayto the fulfillment of your calling?
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.