Vocation, Vocation, Vocation

February 2, 2008

My birthday was this past Wednesday so I gave myself a gift.

Actually, I accepted and moved forward the gift someone else gave me. Gayle Scroggs let me know that a colleague in the Coaching world is accepting new members to a support group for those of us building Coaching businesses.

I contacted the Coach and then she and I had our first conversation Wednesday. I will be “visiting” the virtual group the next time they meet, and if we all agree I’m a good fit I’ll join them.

It will be an important step. Just planning that first phone call got me to move a little bit on thinking about how I want to structure my services and products. Getting a lot of individual Coaching clients doesn’t interest me right now. In fact, it sounds like I would be building my own cage. But planning ways to offer time-limited training groups and time-limited support groups, along with a couple of open-ended support groups, has me excited.

I was reading through 48 Days To The Work You Love by Dan Miller today and was reminded of something important. He discusses the difference between vocation (a calling), career (a path of related work within a field), and a job (one particular instance). I knew for quite a while that I want to honor my vocation, my calling, which I believe is hard-wired into my DNA and into my spirit. But I thought of a vocation as a special level of career, like a more meaningful career. It’s not just his career—it’s his vocation.

But Dan Miller’s view is that career is a subset that can fit under vocation, just as job is a subset that can fit under career. Once you find your vocation, that life calling, you can choose a career that fits with it. Discovering your vocation is not the same as discovering your career. It just helps narrow the choices and points you to the right aisle.

Now I already understood that a person could have a career and not satisfy his or her vocation, and that recreational activities and creative pursuits can help fulfill a vocation. But I had this black and white thinking going on: either your career is your calling or you have a calling that can’t be a lucrative career so you have a career that supports you and fulfill your calling in other ways.

His notion that a person can discover a vocation and then change careers while staying in the same vocation is transformational for me. My business doesn’t have to be everything in my vocation. It doesn’t have to align carefully and perfectly with every aspect of my calling. It just has to integrate with it.

I know my vocation. I love watching people grow and develop, gain new skills and new confidence, and find out what they’re capable of doing. I love seeing one person extend himself or herself to help another person get the vision and confidence to grow—that’s Mentorship. I love stories because they’re all about personal growth and development in their archetypal forms.

I have to be sure I honor and represent my calling in all my choices. I have to bring it into every aspect of my life. It will shape and help define my business over the years. It will also guide my personal growth and lead me to discover new things about myself that I can share with other people.

This takes some of the stress off of “getting my business right,” but it puts it more firmly on “getting my life right.”

Whew! Clarity and excitement and fear all at once. I must be on the right path again.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey


One Response to “Vocation, Vocation, Vocation”

  1. Natural Way Of Being : Twisting Road Travel Log on June 1st, 2009 2:19 am

    […] was a powerful realization which adds to the understanding of calling and career I wrote about in a previous post. At that time, I understood that a calling is the way we are drawn to express our natural gifts, […]

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