Rather than struggling to identify a specific vocation (or career) focus instead on this: What do you care about? What did you love to do when you were very young? Look there for clues to a particular vocation. What is compelling for you? What creates excitement in you? What do you consider an adventure? What will cause you to leap out of bed? There are clues here that point to specific vocations. The activities you are naturally drawn to, what you long to learn about or explore, will point you to your next career. In other words, follow what calls you and your career will find you.
• What do you love to do? You want to enjoy your work.
• What types of activities or situations bring you so much joy that you forget your troubles?
• What did you used to love to do, but have essentially forgotten about or given up on because it didn’t work out at the time or simply made no sense? Or you didn’t get much support for it? Revisit it. Re-engage it. These things, whatever they are, are yours. These are your gifts. They are to be used in service to others and for your own continuing development.
• What are you really good at? Again, what you’re good at is also what is fun and meaningful for you.
• What are you really passionate about? Where do your yearnings lead you? Your passion will get you over humps, writer’s block, self-doubt, waiting for an invitation, pretty much anything that rears its ugly little head and tries to talk you out of embracing your natural design. Or, put another way, your inclinations and your yearnings.
• What are you passionate about sharing or teaching others? If you don’t think this points to your vocation, think again.
• What have you acquired much knowledge in just because you enjoyed going there? In other words, what have you really been training for all your life?
• What are you really good at? Take stock here. What you’re good at is more than a hint of where you should put your time, energy, and attention. What vocations does this translate to?
Having said the above things, consider whether your passions and yearnings best express themselves through a single vocation. Or even as a standard, conventional vocation.
We have been enculturated to believe that one’s talents and passions can best be expressed — or only expressed — through a particular vocation. That may not be the case for you. You may not be here to do “normal” or conventional work or specialize in just one area. Maybe you are here to explore, experiment, and do many things! Your passions and talents will likely connect naturally to several types of vocations or careers, but it is best to steer yourself away from thinking that what is out there in the ordinary workaday world will necessarily be your perfect match. What is important is that you put your attention and energy into what calls you. Follow that, and you will make the ‘career’ connections you need. In other words, you can find the right path for your gifts.
Understand that it is not uncommon that what you do for a living does not always require or ask for the highest expression of your gifts. Your official job may not be as fulfilling for you as a “hobby” in which you find a lot of joy, and where others also benefit. Our way of thinking is that what we do for a living has to match up with what brings us the most joy, and where we have the greatest impact. This is actually not true, and in real life, such jobs are not always easy to get, though it may work out that way. What is important is that you create the space to use your gifts, even if you are also working a regular job. In this way, you continue to cultivate your unique presence in the world, and most importantly, be your most effective self. You will also have the peace that comes with knowing you are being and doing all you can.
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