Your true vocation BEYOND the ever-changing cries of your impulsive wishes👩‍🎓💫

Your true vocation BEYOND the ever-changing cries of your impulsive wishes👩‍🎓💫
Source: David Steindl-Rast “YOU ARE HERE - Keywords for Life Explorers” 2023, pages 70-73

Seven years ago, the Managing Director of the WiSo-Führungskräft-Akademie (WFA) at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Mr Dietmar Bendheimer, asked me to accompany "Career & Life Strategies for the Brand ME” as a business coach. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Bendheimer for this inspiration. After 7 years, I have coached far more than 400 such strategies - in particular in 2 (part-time) Master's programmes at the University of Nuremberg and in English in 2 Master's degree courses at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences that are attended worldwide.

What is the essence of my career & life strategy coaching?

As we have already seen in my previous post, professional success is not primarily a question of effort and time commitment. The empirical results of the renowned Princeton University (No. 6 in the world) clearly point in a different direction when it comes to success 👉Link. If effort isn't key, then what is success in life and at work for young people all about?

In 2010, my intuitive answer was confirmed when I was allowed to sit next to the wise Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast for a whole day in Lausanne, Switzerland. There were over 200 managers from prestigious companies in the room who were also desperate for this answer.

It was part of a groundbreaking inspiration day for top managers organised by the ZfU International Business School, where I trained & coached Key Account Management and Neuro-Marketing for 7 years. There is simply no better way to answer the question of the intended essence of my career and life strategy coaching than David Steindl-Rast writes in his latest book. Here is an excerpt that answers the question crystal clear:

"Follow your Bliss!”

“We tend to speak of a vocation when someone's activity obviously implies an especial calling. We speak, for example, of great musicians, outstanding teachers, and dedicated public servants as following their vocation. But everyone has a vocation, namely, what Life is calling us to do. Our English word vocation comes from the Latin vocare, which means "to call." With a little extra attention, we can become aware that, moment by moment, Life gives us the opportunity for something and calls for a response from us. Simply put, vocation is on a large scale what the moment-to-moment calls of Life are on a small scale, plus what they add up to in the end.

But how are we going to respond when at a certain moment Life calls us to make plans for the future? How do I find my vocation at that point? Experience shows that we can simplify that process by asking three questions:

What is my deepest longing?
What am I specially gifted for?
What opportunity does Life actually offer me here and now to fulfill my longing and use my gifts?

We consider these questions one by one. At the point of having to choose a career, many young people ask me, how can I best serve the world? Their high aspiration makes me happy, and I would like to give an answer that will truly guide and support their choice. I cannot do better, though, than repeat an answer I heard from a spiritual teacher I deeply admire. When a student asked Howard Thurman, "How can I best serve the world?" his answer was essentially:

Find what really, really gives you joy and do that!
"What is my Vocation in Life?“ My daughter Linda🥰 by Portrait Photography, Playa de Bolonia 2024

The world needs nothing more urgently than people who do with joy what they are doing. Likewise, Joseph Campbell, known for showing how the "Hero's Journey" is the pattern for everyone's life, echoed Thurman's advice by saying succinctly, "Follow your bliss!" Everything depends on not confusing longing with whims and bliss with fun.

If you want to become aware of what this distinction implies for you, you will have to find a quiet place and make time for silence. The image that has often been used for this phase of decision-making is a pond with muddy water. There is nothing you can do to un-muddy it, but if you quietly wait, the mud will settle by itself and gradually you will be able to see what's deep down there. In the same way, inner stillness is necessary if you want to listen to the "small voice within," as Eileen Caddy used to call it. The voice of your deep longing is truly little, soft, and often difficult to hear, because your pet projects make so much noise. Each one of them wants to gain your whole attention. But only by listening to the steady inner voice will you truly be free in your decision. I call that voice "steady" in order to distinguish it from the ever-changing cries of your impulsive wishes. Maybe you could ask yourself:

If all my wishes were fulfilled, what would I still be longing for?

In order to distinguish your bliss from fun, you will also have to go into silence. What Campbell means by "bliss" implies a lot of things that are anything but fun. What heroic ordeals are you willing to undergo in order to reach the goal of your longing. Remember that the hero inevitably has to go through a process of dying—cruel dying and even dismemberment, in many forms of the myth—in order to attain the bliss of finding full aliveness and bringing it to others. The little frills you add to the dance give you a kick and are fun. But only your deep attunement to the music and the rhythm, and your attention to the movement of all the other dancers, will give you that fulfillment that deserves to be called bliss.

When you have become aware of your deepest longing, you can ask yourself the second question in planning your future:

What are my special gifts and talents?

It happens sometimes that we get carried away by our admiration for some role model and envisage a future for ourselves for which we are not sufficiently gifted. More often, however, we underestimate our own talents. With work and dedication, even the smallest talents can blossom forth into considerable ability, and no matter how gifted you are, developing your talents requires hard work. With so many people in the world, it may be difficult to believe that your particular combination of longing and gifts is truly unique. But not even your fingerprints find a precise match among those billions of others, how much more your inner life! Your contribution is as necessary for the whole as that of any single instrument for the orchestra. If just one were lacking, the music could not be the same. You want to find your own way, and it will be fully yours, only if you…

Do not imitate somebody else!

Even your shortcomings can trigger unique achievements. If you have to overcome an unhealthy habit, that will give you a moral strength that others who do not have to make that struggle will never develop. Your handicaps also can become a jumping-off point that others lack. Think only of Helen Keller. Were it not for the tragedy of having lost her eyesight and hearing at a very early age, she would never have become the inspiring teacher for millions of people who gratefully admire her.

Keeping both your longing and your gifts consistently in the back of your mind makes you ready to answer the third of our three questions and alert for opportunities you might otherwise have overlooked. Awareness of your genuine longing will be like a compass reading that gives you only the general direction on a hike.

The actual terrain to be navigated—obstacles and opportunities—is what Life is offering you at any given moment.

In many places of the world, the social arrangements give some young people so many options that they feel overwhelmed. The vast majority, however, have only a very narrow margin of opportunities. Millions of youngsters have no choice at all; they must concentrate on day-by-day survival. We must make every effort to change an unjust social order that offends in this way against human dignity.

What matters most, however, is available to everyone. It is not what you do, but how you do it; not your position in the circle of dancers, but the way you dance–with attention and respect for all others, but especially for the ones next to you.

It is too easy for us to feel compassion for those far away while overlooking those with whom we have to deal daily. Through those with whom we hold hands do we reach all other dancers in the circle.

Now suppose you have become aware of your genuine longing, have correctly evaluated your talents, and are following, step by step, the path that life is opening up before you. This is what it means to find your bliss— to follow your vocation. However, you won't get very far on that path before Life is asking for a commitment of one kind or another.”

Do you have a challenging question on this topic❓❓❓
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