Saturday, June 19, 2010

Recognizing Your Calling

Everyone dreams of having a job they love and can approach day after day with passion and pride. Add to that the material demands of a style-conscious twenty-something and a good job becomes as illusive as a unicorn. But whether you're trying to pick a major, find a job, or re-evaluate your current employment, learning to recognize your "moments of flow" can go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction.

A moment of flow is one of those times when you get lost in something. You don't notice people walking around behind you. You forget it's time to go to bed. You put off eating. You're not even tempted to check you phone for texts. Or your email. Or that IM that keeps flashing on the bottom of your screen.

Start taking notice of when this happens for you. Is it when you're involved in photography? What part of it specifically? Is your passion for art or the technology that goes into taking gorgeous photos? For me, it's all about idea development. Sure, I can brainstorm ideas and polish final drafts of proposals, but I get most absorbed in projects where I start with the seed of an idea and get to grow it into something that I (or my company) can use. I think it's part of the reason I enjoy revising my novels more than drafting them, and part of the reason my best ideas are often developed by tagging off of something someone else mentioned. Thankfully, I am in a position where I get to do this often at my job, and almost constantly in my writing.

Once you've figured out where you get lost in projects, look for career choices that will expose you to that as often as possible. I'm sure you can find a few options, once you get creative about it, because career choices are endless. Take me and my siblings, for example. My sister teaches English in China. I write novels. My younger brother is in the Marine reserves and works at an electronics shop. My older brother freelances as a computer programmer for local companies. Are you an art-loving fashionista? What about a career in clothing or wardrobe design, or makeup artistry? Passionate about the outdoors and gardening? How about becoming a landscaper? Ideally, you'll find a job that's lets you get in a state of flow as often as possible.

But what if you've already got a job? Look for ways to incorporate your passions. Volunteer for projects that will put you in a place to use and challenge your unique set of abilities. That's when you enter the state of flow and when you'll be putting forth your best work. Everyone will benefit from that - including you... hello, raise! And if you just can't find a way to get lost in the work at hand, it's time to seriously consider a new job. One that does line up with those moments of flow.

Of course, remember that jobs that really fulfill your mind may not come with the paycheck you wish they did. Get real about what you want out of your life. When you're on your deathbed, will it matter that you had a huge house, or will you care that you got to shape the lives of dozens of children who passed through the daycare you ran? When you're standing before God, will he excuse the fact that you ignored his call to be a missionary so you could close million-dollar business deals? I'm not trying to tell you that you won't be financially successful. In fact, your passions may make you rich. (Maybe you are called to make those million-dollar deals!) I'm just suggesting you make sure that whatever you chose, it's a decision that sits right with your conscience. There's more to life than money. Use your moments of flow to point you in the right direction.

1 comment:

  1. Haha your pride was warranted! Great message!
    I have to agree. And God surprises you! When I went into daycare I figured it was just a time-killer. I was good with kids, could make a little money at it, and wait for Prince Charming. But things took off there and I "moved up" (got more hours, eventually my own class) quickly. Then I branched out into being a nanny. I figured it would be better money, though not the greatest.
    Well long story short (I do have my own blog for this!) I discovered that for now at least, this IS God's call on my life and not only am I good at it, He's really blessing me! I thought a car payment would strain my budget, but for the second month in a row, He has provided the extra money and then some! Pretty sweet deal. :)