Do you have a job, a career, or a calling?

purpose work Jun 25, 2020

Does it matter?  It might.  Depending on your answer, it might be the most important question you should be asking right now.  Your overall sense of happiness and satisfaction is tightly correlated to your answer.  

Before we get too deep, let’s explore what we mean by Job, Career, and Calling.  

When you have a job…

You have to do it.  It’s a matter of survival.  Your job is a means to an end.  You do the job to make money.  To make ends meet.  A job is mostly about you.  

Of course, as part of your job you provide service to someone else.  Every job is a service to someone.  But with a job you feel distanced from that service.  A job feels like “work" because there’s a disconnect between the what and the why.  

Chances are, you are pretty good at your job.  After all, that’s what allows you to keep it.  However, in this job, you are probably not hitting your sweet spot on a regular basis.  You probably sense that you’re being asked to do the wrong things.

When you have a job, you tend to identify with the benefits of the job more than the job itself. You appreciate the money.  Perhaps the prestige.  But you don’t identify with the work.  You see yourself as totally separate from the job.  

If another opportunity came along, there’s a good chance you’d take it and you might find yourself doing something completely different.  

When you have a career…

You’ve figured out how to arrange the system so you spend a good chunk of your time doing what you’re good at.  You find a lot of personal pleasure in what you do, day-to-day.  You’re able to make money while doing something that you are good at, and maybe even something you like.  Maybe even something you love.

You now begin to identify with the work.  Instead of saying, "I work for Dunder Mifflin", you’re more likely to say, "I’m the Assistant Regional Manager.”  

You now see your work as a part of you and you as a part of something bigger.  You probably have a strong connection and focus on the content of your work.  You might have a specialty or functional expertise that you use to differentiate yourself in the marketplace and within your organization.  This reinforces your identification with the work.  

When you have a career, you are more connected.  Connected to the work, but also to the people you are serving.  Your clients.  Your organization.  You begin to connect on a deeper level.  It’s not just about content.  You also start to realize there’s a common set of values that permeate everything.  This creates cohesion and stability.

You’re always on the lookout for great opportunities, but when you have a career, you’re much less likely to venture too far from home. Careers are comfortable.    

When you have a calling … 

Who you move into the realm of calling, everything changes.  It’s no longer work that have to do because you need it to pay the bills or to fund your retirement.  You have to do it because you can’t imagine what life would be like if you were not doing it.  It’s as if you’d be somehow incomplete if you were not doing it.  You would be less you…

The concept of identifying with your work paradoxically goes away.  You recognize the work is you and you are the work, so trying to identify assomething no longer makes sense.  The work is a fundamental part of you.  It would be like trying to identify with your arm or your leg.  

When you have a calling, you extend an invitation to the world to connect with you in a very different way.  You’re no longer trying to find your place in the world.  You know your place.  You allow your light to shine so that others may find their way through the darkness.  

When you have a calling, your priorities are clear.  Your direction is known.  Problems become challenges, which become opportunities.  Opportunities to serve.  

What’s the Point?

Here’s the point.  

I meet a lot of people who have a career and they’ve been cruising along, perfectly happy, for quite some time.  But at some point, they begin to realize that something is missing.  They begin to question whether there’s something bigger and better out there for them.  

The problem is … careers are comfortable.  And for good reason. 

People don’t want to jeopardize their career to go searching for a calling.  A calling they may never find.  

People are afraid that even if they find their calling, the cost of that calling may be too great.  

Most of these concerns are based on flawed thinking and a flawed model of what it means to have a calling.  Most people overestimate the cost of their calling.  

Most people fail to realize their calling is well within reach.  They simply need to see past their blind spots.  They need to claim their calling.  

Once you claim your calling, everything else falls into place.  Fire.  Drive.  Clarity.  Harmony.  Peace.  These are the benefits of claiming your calling.  

The Opportunity

If any of this sounds interesting to you, I have good news.  Starting on July 6th, I’m hosting the Consultant Calling Challenge.  The challenge will run for 5 days, for about an hour each day.  

Over the course of just 5 days, you will realize how close you really are to your calling and you’ll know exactly what you need to do to close the gap.  

I’ll warn you up front.  This is a CHALLENGE.  It’s going to be, well, challenging.  I’m going to stretch you into your discomfort zone, because that’s where the magic happens.  

If you are game, I’d love to have you join me.  If you know someone else who you think secretly (or maybe not so secretly) wants to claim their calling, please pass this invitation along to them.

Head over to and register today.  

But Mike … what if I’m not a consultant?  

It doesn’t matter.  If you show up and you do the work, you will reap the rewards. 



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