One of my core values is striving to coach and equip people in a way that helps them to thrive, reaching and exceeding their personal and professional goals and discovering new ones along the way. I spend most of my time at work coaching people 1×1, and there’s nothing I love doing more as a talent development professional. And the most fruitful coaching sessions, I have found, arise when I have the privilege of being a thought partner with an individual who has discovered or is in the proess of discovering his or her vocation.
Vocation, from my perspective, is ultimately about a spiritual (not religious) calling. It’s a larger sense of purpose and joy, constantly fueled by learning and fresh efforts. Parker Palmer asserts in 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 growth, community building, and various forms of networking. An outgrowth of a sustainable calling is a 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 it is 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 engaged because we aren’t “going to work” but participating in an unfolding calling. If you haven’t yet arrived at a place where your job mirrors your vocation, reach out to a coach (not necessarily your “boss,” but someone willing to invest time and thought partnership with you) to help you gain clarity on what you would love to do more of and begin to chart a course.