Do you want a life or a career? How does your career define you? Or is it a subset of your life? These can be uncomfortable questions we avoid because they hit ask us to question deeply our identity as persons. As a long-time member of the ordained clergy I used to identify my vocation with my life. I’ve since discovered the need to make some distinctions. My life is the sum-total of who I am with all my experiences. My work is priestly, in that I am a conduit for the goodness of the universe to flow in and through me. In my work, my intention is to enable people to make important shifts in their lives, yet my life is much broader that my work.
Very few people can allow a total overlap of career and life without harming themselves, or others, in the process. The Dali Lama comes to mind, as do some career scientists, researchers, medical personnel, clergy, educators, and military. This situation does not work for the vast majority of us, however.
Most of us need to be clear about our life purpose https://mpariselifecoach.com/2012/07/life-purpose/ and values are in order that we prioritize that which we do within the context of who we are. Often our values do not automatically translate into a career. My desire to help people integrate body, mind and spirit into a life of power, fulfillment and happiness might be carried out in many types of jobs. I happened to choose to be a life coach in order to accomplish goal. Others may find another avenue.
Life is too complex and valuable to allow a job or career to define who I am. As much as I might find pleasure in my work, relationship is central to who I am. My work is secondary. Who I am as a loving, caring person is far more important than any accomplishment, achievement or career move I could make.
What is your perception of life versus career in this moment? If you had no job or career, how would you feel about yourself as a person? What deeply held values define who you are?
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