I am attending at a conference and had the fortune to participate in a seminar on vocational discernment.  To make sure we are all on the same vocabulary page, I am not thinking of entering religious life, my wife may have some strong objections to this life change, rather the seminar addressed the challenges and need for individuals to discern their vocation in life.  During the presentation I realized my blog usually encourages individuals to take action (and this is a good thing) but I should also discuss the need and benefits of unplugging to discern one’s vocation.

“Vocation” is a huge term.  One could claim his vocation in life is to be a good father.  One could claim his vocation is to be financial planner who helps clients to be good stewards of their financial resources.  One could claim his vocation is to advance environmental awareness so as to leave the planet in better shape than when he entered onto it.  Here is the catch – I could be talking about the same person in these scenarios.

One’s vocation is not just his or her ‘job’ and we should not limit ourselves to think so small.  There are many definitions for ‘Vocation’, such as: a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career. Often, “God” is included in the definition of ‘Vocation’ – call from God, talents and gifts from God – we should not ignore the spiritual side of lives when thinking of our vocation. We are called to be so much more in our lives than just the person we are during the work day.  When we focus on the 9-5 timeframe, we lose sight of the larger picture and we ignore the talents and gifts we have that we may not often during the work day.  We lose sight that God is calling us to be more.

Two quotes to consider:

“The place to which God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ― Frederick Buechner

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation.”― Aristotle

Several months ago, I wrote about Fr. Michael Himes, a Roman Catholic priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn who teaches at Boston College and previously at Notre Dame. Fr. Himes delivered a famous talk on finding one’s vocation.  He invites us to consider three questions:

  1. What gives me joy in life?
  2. Am I good at this?
  3. Is there a need for this in the world?

I hope if you find yourself at a crossroads in your career and are looking for a larger purpose or mission, ask yourself those three questions and take the time to answer them thoughtfully.


About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
This entry was posted in Career Management, Discernment, Job Search, Vocation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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