Select Page

“Describe your ideal job,” Bob Suttles, the then-vice president of human resources for Central Florida’s Health First Inc., asked me during a casual networking conversation.

Thrilled that such a leader would pose this type of question, I described that job on the spot with clarity and passion—and Bob’s response was something along the lines of, “Well, guess what we have available?”

Two weeks later, that ideal job was mine.

It was no accident or simple stroke of luck. I’d spent a considerable amount of time that year (2005) contemplating the focus of my vocation. I was working in financial services after transitioning out of church ministry, and found the volunteer coaching, facilitating, and public speaking I was doing on the side far more fulfilling than my “day job.” Health First offered a position that paid me for these same types of activities, and I was beyond grateful.

Vocation, from my perspective, is ultimately about a spiritual (not religious) calling. It’s a larger sense of purpose and joy, constantly fueled by mindfulness activities (see the next chapter). Parker Palmer asserts in his book Let Your Life Speak that vocation “becomes an act of will, a grim determination that one’s life will go this way or that whether it wants to or not…vocation does not mean a goal that I will pursue. It means a calling that I hear.”

Such a calling stirs us to certain core activities that, in general, tend to revolve around our work itself as well as constant learning, building community, and various forms of networking.

An outgrowth of the mindful, called individual is the desire to see stronger families and neighborhoods; more economic development; thriving non-profits; and so forth. When true calling is entrenched within our hearts, we are not just satisfied with our own success, but with the holistic progress of the planet. Our work is also at its best, I believe, when truly a stewardship of our strengths; a dynamic confluence of our natural talents, ongoing knowledge, and accumulated experiences.

When we know what we do best and actually do it every day, the “ideal job” is at hand and we remain vibrantly, spiritually engaged because we aren’t “going to work” but participating in an unfolding calling.