After college, I immediately settled into what I thought would be my lifelong career at a large regional bank. And, for about 11 years, it was my career. My time at the bank taught me a number of lessons about what I loved to do, what I hated doing, and what I longed for. I felt most fulfilled when I was helping people – when I was making a difference. I learned that this was a deep intrinsic need of mine. I also found that I loved the thrill of developing processes and implementing new systems. I found deep satisfaction in seeing something that I pictured in my head come to life in the processes and systems around me. I found that I deeply loved seeing people grow and develop. I was most joyful when I was developing my team.
In 2008, when the economy took a turn and there was not a lot of funding for new technologies, I found myself in a role that had me working as an independent contributor (no direct reports) on a project called application consolidation. It was as painful as it sounded. I was neither developing new technologies, nor developing people. I was no longer making a difference. A few weeks later, I quit. Surprised? I’m not. I was no longer meeting my intrinsic needs.
My next job, also a career, was in politics. It is not as scary as it sounds. I was able to help get an amazing man elected to the Senate and I was back to developing people and making a difference. When I transitioned to his Federal Office, I was able to manage a team (still developing people), making a direct difference in the lives of constituents, and was able to have the thrill of developing processes for a new office. Was I happy? You bet. I was meeting my intrinsic needs and I was further learning what I needed to thrive. I would say this career was a vocation. Career + Purpose = Vocation.
In 2012, I knew it was time to move on from my Senate position. Though I was still managing people, the office had largely settled into routine. For me, routine is a dirty word. I got bored. Hmmm, was that a clue? Yes. Note to self: do not work in a place that feels routine.
Again, I started searching for vocation. I had gained some additional clues about what was necessary for me to thrive in my vocation. I started working through our unique coaching process with my coach. This process created further clarification. I saw my strengths and motivations emerge clearly. After completing my LifePlan, which put all of the pieces and lessons into perspective, I had my action steps forward. A LifePlan uses several constructs to point you in the direction of vocation. It used life clues and learnings to pare down the choices. We whittled down my learnings into a purpose statement. The process was transformative. I now had a purpose statement, a vision, and action steps forward. My LifePlan directly led me to my vocation. It was a journey to get here, and I believe this journey will continue to be clarified for as long as I have breath.
What lessons have you learned along the way that is leading you to your vocation? If you have not yet discovered it, we would love to help you along your journey. It would be an honor.