It’s a question I’m asked often by coaching clients, readers of this blog, followers on Twitter, and Facebook fans: what exactly is a vital vocation? Let’s take a look, because understanding this is an essential part of solving the puzzle of your dream job.
A vocation, from the Latin vocare (verb, ‘to call’) is:
“a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn, or for which they are particularly suited, trained or qualified.”
So a vital vocation is one which is in some way essential to you; either because you feel a deep need for it in your life, or because it emerges naturally from your own particular unique way of being in the world.
A good pointer towards your vital vocation is to consider what you most love doing. What you love doing is a clear indication of where your talents lie, and your talents are a signpost to your ideal work. As Barbara Sher says, “what you love is what you are gifted at”.
A vital vocation is also vital because doing it will enable you to feel alive and vibrant – full of the vitality that a mediocre job just drains from you.
There’s nothing more exciting or fulfilling than working in a career which is just right for you. Many of us have had the experience of being in jobs which feel exactly the opposite! If you’ve been in that position in the past, or are in it now, you’ll understand just how important it is to make a change. That’s what finding a vital vocation – and this blog – is all about.
Two Types of Dream Job
There are two basic “types” of vital vocation:
1) The ‘perfect’ job, which uses one or more of your main gifts and talents in a deeply fulfilling and financially rewarding way.
2) The ‘good-enough’ job which uses one or more of your ancillary skills, pays the bills, doesn’t cause you too much stress, and leaves you with enough time to pursue your passions outside of work time.
You’ll notice that both types include an element of “pursuing your passions”. The reason for that is a simple one – doing at least some of what you love is crucial to you having a fulfilling life, whether or not you make a living from it. Famed mythologist Joseph Campbell called it “following your bliss” and saw it as an essential part of a well-rounded life.
Exactly what your passions are is something that only you can discover, and we’ll be looking at exactly how to do this in future posts.
Depending on the stage you are at in your life and career, one or the other of the two definition above will be particularly relevant to you. One isn’t “better” than the other. Some people will make a living doing what they love; others won’t, and will still be perfectly happy. In fact, many people will find that it’s nice to not subject the thing they love the most to the marketplace or corporate jungle (while others will thrive on it).
The nice thing is, you’re not restricted to one particular way of finding your vital vocation. There are some bottom-line things that need to be in place for everyone, but there’s a lot of flexibility too. In fact, many of us find that our career path winds its was between the two definitions, as circumstances change.
You may already know what your dream job is – but it doesn’t matter if you don’t. As this blog (and its accompanying book) develop, the information I’ll share with you, the exercises you’ll do, and the coaching questions you’ll ask yourself will all help you to build the outline of your own vital vocation, and then help you to colour in the spaces.
Best of all, you’ll be left with a tool which you can use to define your dream job for the rest of your life, as your life – and your dream job – changes. It’s an exciting journey to take!
In my next post, we’ll be looking at the specific components of your vital vocation. There are four quadrants and ten elements. Intrigued? All will be revealed! In the meantime, use the self-coaching questions below to begin the process of sketching out the outline of your dream job…
- 1. What do you know already about what you were born to do?
- 2. Name three specific things that would definitely be part of your ideal career – and three things that definitely wouldn’t.
- 3. If every experience of your life so far had been designed to train you for a specific “destiny” – what would you say your whole life so far has been preparing you to do?
- 4. What have you done in the past that has been the most successful for yourself, and the most beneficial to others?
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