How to Follow Your Calling in Your Career, with Lisa Zigarmi

Listen On:

Transcript

Find Your Dream Job, Episode 148

How to Follow Your Calling in Your Career, with Lisa Zigarmi

Airdate: July 18, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts, Leila O’Hara and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

This week we’re talking about how to follow your calling in your career.

Many people feel disconnected from work. One reason, says this week’s guest expert Lisa Zigarmi, is that we don’t find our calling. Instead, we let the expectations of others shape the jobs we choose. Lisa says you’ll be happier in your career if you follow your calling. She and

I talk later in the show about how to do this.

One of the toughest parts of a job search is getting clear about your career goals.  Job boards offer you so many choices and it’s hard to resist applying everywhere. Leila has found a tool that can help. It’s a career road map published by Rasmussen College. You can use it to figure out what you want, the skills you offer, and where to look. Leila tells us more later in the show.

You spend two years getting a master’s degree in education. But the experience makes you understand that you don’t want to teach for a living. How do you explain this to employers when you apply for non-teaching jobs? That’s our question of the week. It comes from listener Daniel Willis in upstate New York. Jessica offers her advice in a moment.

As always, let’s start by checking in with the Mac’s List team.

First up is Leila O’Hara, who is out there every week poking around the nooks and crannies of the Internet. She is looking, on your behalf, for websites, tools, books, anything you can use to make a difference in your job search and your career. No pressure there, Leila.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, no pressure at all.

Mac Prichard:

It’s been another week and you’re coming up out of those nooks and crannies, taking off the miner’s hat. What have you found for our listeners this week?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, this week I have found a really great resource; whether you’re a new grad deciding what career path to take or if you’re in the middle of your career and you can’t decide where to go next, this resource should really help you out. It’s from Rasmussen College, and they have this tool called a career road map that takes you through a 21 part Q&A that outlines the career that’s best suited based on the responses you give.

The first step you’ll take is to define your motivation, your goals, and your interests. Just taking a step back and thinking about what really motivates you and gets you out of the bed in the morning and gets you all excited. What are the things that you’re passionate about and the things that really interest you? Then what are the goals that you have? What do you want to accomplish in your career; what are the things that are going to make you proud at the end of the day?

Next, you’ll take a look at your abilities, your personal preferences, your experience, your education, and your skills. These are the larger picture things that will help you think about what the things are that you can bring to the table when you’re looking for a job.

Then you’ll think about the industry, career stability, competition, and location. These are things that will come to you based on the kinds of jobs you apply for but they’re also good things to think about. Can you work at a job, or in an industry, where there’s not a ton of career stability or are you comfortable with that? Can you work in a really competitive industry or do you want something that’s a little less competitive?

Finally, you’ll think about  the role and organization more specifically. This will make you think about your salary preferences, what type of working hours you ideally want to have, what work environment would be best for your career, and the culture and benefits that matter most to you when you’re looking for a job.

Each step of this process comes with a series of questions and prompts that you can use to write down your answers and think about each category very specifically. As you’re going through this exercise, if you decide to do it, I think it’s really important to get specific with your answers because that will give you a really good sense of what careers are right for you.

Each “stepping stone” on the map also comes with guided resources if you need more information on that category. Everything from salary help, what kind of salary you should look for based on the career you’re pursuing to resources on company culture, like what company culture is typical based on the type of career that you’re looking for.

Even if you’re not in the middle of considering a career change, or thinking about changing your entire career path, I think that this exercise would be really beneficial for anybody that is looking for a job. Having focus in your job search is one of the trickiest parts of searching for a job when there’s hundreds of new job listings every day online. I know that I myself, personally, was very tempted to apply for everything I came across when I was looking for a job earlier this year. Just because there’s so much out there and I thought, “Oh maybe I can make this work. Maybe I can apply for this job just to check it off my list.”

Really though, it’s more valuable to only focus on the things that make the most sense for you. I think if I had spent a few hours completing this exercise and defining what my goals are, what are my interests, and what are the things that motivate me, right from the jump, I think that would have been a lot better way to start my job search. I would have started with a lot more focus.

As you’re doing your job search, think about what are the most important accomplishments you want to achieve in your career? The jobs that you’re looking for, do they match those personal goals that you have? Do you want to move forward in your career? Do you want to manage a team? Do you want to take it to the next level? What are those next steps you’re looking for in your career?

Taking a step back and looking at the big picture can really help regardless of where you are in the job search. That way you know if the jobs you’re applying for are going to help you meet those personal goals.

Jessica Black:

I really love this. This feels a lot like a personality test, which I know it’s not.

Mac Prichard:

You love personality tests, don’t you, Jessica?

Jessica Black:

I do. We’ve talked about it a lot and I am a big fan of them because of the same reasons I love this. It’s helping you get clear about what it is that you’re looking for, who you are, how you operate in the world, all of those things. Specifically for this resource, I love this because it’s less of a personality test and more of a…I liked that they used the word roadmap, because it is putting all of this down in concrete form. A guide for helping you when you are in those decision-making parts of your job search of, “Oh this job does sound really interesting”, and you can use that as a reference to look at, “This matched my goals that I wrote down of what I’m actually looking for in my big picture life.”

I think that that’s really helpful, but I also think that doing these types of exercises, spending time doing the really focused, big picture thinking, is really beneficial to help you be clear with yourself about what you’re looking for. I think, like you said, Leila, it’s beneficial for anyone in any stage of their job search or career development. Even if you are really happy in your career and you are not looking for a job change, I think it’s still a really good thing to sit down and check in about yourself. It can help you decide how you are going to set goals for your next steps of growth, whether that’s in that same company or lateral moves, or whatever it is. It’s never a bad idea to take time and sit down and think about what you’re looking for, and what your goals are, and how to keep growing and getting better.

I think this is great, I love it.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I like this resource too. There are phrases frequent listeners will hear a lot on this show. One is, “Don’t apply everywhere.” “You can’t be everything to everyone”, and “Your time is your most valuable asset”. Thinking about those three principles, it means saying no and you need a strategy for saying no. What you’ve shared gives our listeners a tool for doing that because it takes them through a process that helps them get clear about where they want to go. It also helps them understand the things they don’t want to do.

It is tempting. We’ve all been there; you look at a job board and there are all these great jobs and you think, “Oh I could do that, I could do this.” But in fact, you need to focus on your strengths and play to your strengths because that’s what an employer’s going to look for. This helps you figure what those are and where you want to go and what you can give yourself permission to say no to. Cool tool.

Leila O’Hara:

Thanks. I’m really glad I found it because I think it is really valuable.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Thank you, Leila. If you’ve got a suggestion for Leila, please write her. We’d love to share your idea on the show. Her address is leila@macslist.org.

Now, let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jessica Black has been poking around the Mac’s List mailbag all week long. It gets bigger and bigger every week, doesn’t it?

Jessica Black:

It actually really does. Yeah. I’ve been getting a lot of emailed questions which is great. Thank you everyone; keep sending them in.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, we’re grateful whether it comes by email, or old-fashioned postal mail, or by the phone.

Jessica Black:

Anyway you want to send them, we’ll take them.

Mac Prichard:

Jessica’s standing by, so which question did you pick this week?

Jessica Black:

We have a question this week from Daniel Willis. He wrote us from upstate New York. He let us know about his situation that he wanted some feedback about. He says,

“I just finished getting my Masters degree in teaching. However, after two years of intense coursework and practicums, I’ve realized that I don’t really want to teach. How do I explain this drastic change in career direction to employers–especially right after investing so much time, money, and energy into a specialized educational program?”

This is a fantastic question. It’s a really tough one also because, what a conundrum. Like he says, he’s spent a lot of time, energy, money, and it feels like a complete about-face. It is, so it’s good to be able to know how to broach that conversation with employers. I don’t think this is as big of an issue as it might seem.

It goes back to having some messaging and having a narrative of why you made that decision and ultimately knowing what you want instead.

  

I also want to address that it’s really unfortunate that in this situation there weren’t more opportunities for Daniel to be able to recognize that teaching wasn’t the ultimate goal before he invested the couple of years. If perhaps there were more hands on opportunities…that’s why I’m a big advocate for internships and volunteering and things like that. Sometimes you just have to go through the experience to know and I’m definitely that type of a learner as well. I have to learn the hard way so I understand this completely.

But I also know that Daniel is probably feeling a little bit of a sense of failure. I want to combat that. It’s not a failure, you have learned from this experience and you can use that learning and growth that you went through. Your years in this educational program were not a waste because you came out of it knowing, hopefully, what you want to do instead and especially that you don’t want to do something very specific.

I would like to encourage Daniel to be clear about what kind of work he is seeking now. I know I’ve talked about this a lot, about finding the common threads you have in the positions and the opportunities that you’ve sought and pursued. Taking some time to think about what that thread of your “career” history has been, or your educational history, or just the opportunities that you’ve pursued.  Find that thread so that you can identify that narrative and share that, “I learned that teaching wasn’t right for me, but it makes so much sense because of my history pursuing these other opportunities. This other program only made me realize it more.”

That’s exactly what I would recommend. Being upfront about the fact that you did go through this program, and that teaching is not right for you, but again, use that as part of your story to tell how that decision and that experience and the eventual realization that you do not want to be a teacher has led you to figure out what you really do want to do – which, ideally, is the job you would be applying for, or somewhere in the same vein of what you are pursuing and applying for.

I also want to reiterate, don’t carry this as a negative experience, because we’ve all have done things that have seemed like or sounded like a good idea at the time, or seemed like they would lead to something that would “Solve all your problems”, be it a long-term plan, that once you go into it didn’t pan out that way. I think that’s ok. I think it’s okay to realize that the thing you thought was the right answer at the time is not anymore. But again, I want to encourage you to use this to pull out what it is you do want to do. Use your experience in grad school to figure out what made you excited in that program? Because you made it through several years of a program and there were things that you really, really enjoyed. Teaching isn’t part of that but figure out what areas it is that makes you excited, and engaged, and passionate. Identify those and pursue those and use them as part of your narrative to explain to potential employers why you’ve made this “drastic shift.” Also, back up why this new direction that you’re going in is actually the right direction and how you’ve learned that.

What else would you guys recommend for Daniel’s position?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I think you totally hit the nail on the head there. That was some really great advice. I would also just add that there might some skills he learned from this program that he can mention in this interview process with these new employers. That it gave him a really great work ethic, or he learned some lesson about himself that has manifested itself in some certain way where he has new skills to show for it. Focus on the positive parts of the experience rather than the negative of, “This didn’t work out.” Just having a positive approach and being passionate about it, I think that will come across well when he’s interviewing with various companies.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I agree. Pull out the things that he did gain from that experience and use those to tell that story.

Mac Prichard:

Kudos to Daniel for finishing the program.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I think that’s great. That’s a huge accomplishment.

Mac Prichard:

It is and it’s not uncommon for people to enter a graduate program or to pursue a degree as an undergraduate and then decide at the end of that course of study that it’s not a good fit. But because they’ve reached that conclusion, chances are they’ve also figured out what they want to do next. Daniel might be struggling with that, what might be happening next, but I think your advice was spot on, Jessica.

You need to explain why you did this originally, why you discovered it wasn’t a good fit, where you want to go next, and how that experience and the other things that he’s done in his career have prepared him for that next opportunity in the jobs he will apply for.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, that’s good. Thanks.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. Also I would add, I’m sensing that Daniel is early in his career, but I think we have all seen those statistics that most of us will change careers, not jobs, careers, four, five, maybe even seven times during the course of four decades in the workplace.

Jessica Black:

Yes, absolutely. I think that’s a really good point. We’re not in the era anymore where a person stays in their career for forty, fifty years and never changes even the company. I know my parents’ and my grandparents’ eras, a lot of folks stayed in the same organization even, for twenty, thirty, forty years, and that’s just not the case anymore. That’s a benefit for Daniel especially, but I think all of us in this generation who do enjoy change and determining what exactly we are looking for in careers.

Mac Prichard:

The odds are good that most of us will go through the kinds of transitions that Daniel faces now and following the advice that you shared, whether you’re coming out of a graduate program or you’re getting ready to switch careers or sectors, but following your advice will serve them well as they make that move.

Well, great. Well thank you, Jessica, and thank you, Daniel. If you’ve got  a question for Jessica, she’d love to hear from you. Her email is: jessica@macslist.org. We’ve got that listener line we mentioned earlier; it’s 716-JOB-TALK. We love to play recordings of questions on the air. Or post your question on the Mac’s List Facebook group.

However you reach us, if we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

We’ll be back in a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert. It’s  Lisa Zigarmi and she’s going to talk to us about how to follow your calling in your career.

I meet with thousands of job seekers every year. People who struggle to find meaningful, rewarding work that matters. I find that many of these people make the same simple mistake in their job search. It’s a fatal error. It makes the hunt for work longer and harder.

What’s this critical mistake? People don’t have a clear job search goal.

You might think it’s wise to apply everywhere. But the more you narrow down your job search, the easier everything gets, and the happier you will be in your next gig.

Stop chasing every lead. Instead, put all your energy into the opportunities that you really want. Of course, setting your goals is easier said than done. Especially when all you know is what you don’t want to do!

That’s why I created a new resource that can help. It’s called Finding Focus in Your Job Search. This free step-by-step guide will help you figure out what you want in your career and in your next job.

To get Finding Focus in Your Job Search, visit macslist.org/focus.

Now, let’s get back to the show!

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Lisa Zigarmi.

Lisa Zigarmi is an organizational psychologist and executive coach. She helps leaders relate more deeply, decide more efficiently, and think with more creativity.

Lisa was one of the first 150 people to earn a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her corporate clients include Salesforce, Roche and VMware. Lisa is the co-author of Positivity at Work and a regular contributor to Forbes.

She joins us today in the Mac’s List studio in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Thanks for coming down.

Lisa Zigarmi:

I’m glad to be here Mac.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I love these interviews but it’s always great to do them in person.

Lisa Zigarmi:

I agree.

Mac Prichard:

Our topic this week is how to follow your calling in your career.

Let’s start, Lisa, by talking about what is a calling?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Yeah, that’s a great question, Mac. Calling is really the mysterious pull that we feel to find a way for our unique strengths to serve the world. It’s really not your conditioning, which I know we’re going to talk about later in the show, but it’s something that you would do or work on, no matter what. I often tell my clients that it’s something that makes you feel authentically connected to yourself and others. That’s a calling.

Mac Prichard:

Where do callings come from, Lisa?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Great question. They don’t come in the form of a huge epiphany. I think they come through quiet messages, Mac. When you are quiet, when you are connected, when you are really in flow, that’s when you get hints about your calling.

Mac Prichard:

Give us examples of, either with yourself or with your clients, where people have been in those situations and they’ve received those messages. What’s happening? What are they doing?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Yeah. They are aware of a creative impulse or a desire for self-expression that can’t be masked. They are aware that what they are doing is giving them energy. That it’s serving the world. I think that callings really beg us to get curious and sometimes, to get brave.

I think that you’re really in alignment when you’re hearing your calling.

Mac Prichard:

Do people sometimes not hear those messages? Do they ignore them?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Absolutely. We ignore them all the time. We really ignore them because of our conditioning. Our conditioning is the patterns, and the standards, and the roles that make up who we are but they are really insufficient in terms of us making meaning of our lives.

Mac Prichard:

I love the point you make about conditioning in your article on Forbes because, just to paraphrase, conditioning is what people…our parents, colleagues, maybe our spouses…the other people in our lives expect us to do, isn’t it?

Lisa Zigarmi:

It is. Yes, and they’re useful to some extent. Conditioning is the patterns that we run that have helped us become successful and they’re the roles that we play, but it’s not all of us. Callings, really, are a bigger, better, higher expression of who we are.

Mac Prichard:

When we know our calling, how does that benefit our career or job search, Lisa? How does that help us?

Lisa Zigarmi:

I think it helps you claim your narrative. I think it helps you work with your strengths rather than trying to protect yourself or others from your limitations. I think that knowing your calling puts you into, hopefully, a work culture, a job, and a position that is most aligned for you where you can serve.

Mac Prichard:

So you can do your best work.

Lisa Zigarmi:

You can do your best work.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. How do you feel when you don’t know your calling?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Well, speaking from personal experience, I think you feel disconnected. I think you feel adrift. My clients that come to me from not knowing what their calling is feel uncomfortable. They know that the ways they’re working right now, Mac, aren’t right, or don’t feel good, but yet, they don’t know what they want to move towards. That’s mysterious and that also carries with it discomfort.

Mac Prichard:

Sometimes, have you found, Lisa, that when people have those uncomfortable feelings because they don’t know their calling, they’re still enjoying professional success?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Yes. A lot of high performers can feel disconnected from their calling even though they’re hitting their sales goal every month or they’re delivering on the project that they’re responsible for. They can feel bored; they can feel, “Wow, I’m not really best utilized here. My strengths and gifts really aren’t getting tapped.”

Mac Prichard:

That’s how you feel when you don’t know your calling. You talked about how when people do find it, they do their best work. Let’s talk about how conditioning affects people in their careers and the career choices they make. What kinds of problems do you see when people respond only to conditioning in making job choices?

Lisa Zigarmi:

I think they feel empty. I think they feel insufficient. I think they are constantly working against a narrative that says, “I’m not enough.” That’s a hard thing to wake up to everyday. People want to feel utilized, they want to feel aligned, they want to feel like their unique gifts get to be expressed. When your conditioning is running you, I think you’re overly identified with the roles that you’re playing, Mac. You might be overly identified with the success metrics that are showing you that you are enough. It’s this endless cycle. It catches you.

Mac Prichard:

You’re always caught in this trap of proving your own worth, aren’t you?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Exactly.

Mac Prichard:

Is it a treadmill you find that people can get off of or do they have to do something different?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Absolutely, they can get off. I think the first step in getting off the treadmill is slowing down.

Mac Prichard:

Okay.

Well, let’s talk about how you find that calling. I know you work with clients on this and you’ve written about it, both online and elsewhere. What’s the first step, Lisa?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Yeah, the first step is, as I said, is to slow down. It is to find a place and a space where you can decipher your calling from your conditioning. You can parse those out and put them into two different buckets. I’ve found, that for me, that’s meditation but for many of clients, it looks like limiting input from social media, it can look like journaling, it can look like making intentional time to get into nature. So that they are really starting to disconnect from the conditioning and from the social views and the expectations and roles that they play and get more in touch with who they are.

Mac Prichard:

How long do you recommend people do that? Again, the folks you describe who are caught in this cycle, they’re high performers. I can see them listening and saying, “Okay, I’m making a list. I’m ready to check that off. How long do I need to do this and what happens next?”

Lisa Zigarmi:

Oh gosh, I wish I had that answer. I think it’s different for everybody. I don’t think that there is a one-size, Mac. I’m sorry for that.

Mac Prichard:

No, that’s okay. What kinds of steps do you see people take that make them successful in slowing down? You talked about practical steps. Does it really vary from person to person how long they need to do that?

Lisa Zigarmi:

It does vary from person to person. It also depends on how long have they been uncomfortable. How bad has this gotten? I find that people who are really uncomfortable are more apt to say, “Time out, let me see if I can remember more of who I really am so that the roles and the things that are overlaid on top of my daily experience aren’t the things that are running me.” I always say to my clients, “We are more than the roles we play and the patterns that we run.” That’s what we’re trying to get them in touch with. What’s underneath that? What would you do no matter what? Regardless of being a mom, of being a dad, or being a sister or a brother, or a caretaker, what would you give your heart and time to?

Mac Prichard:

When people find that answer, what happens next?

Lisa Zigarmi:

I think it’s helpful to do two things. One is, clarify your values because I think clarifying your values gives you language for why that calling is yours. It helps you say, “Is my calling showing up in my days? Are my values things that are evident that I get to live everyday?” For a lot of people, that’s not the case; their calling has been mysterious for a long time and therefore they’re not really in line with their values. A lot of people can’t articulate their values and then they, therefore, have a harder time living them. I would say that’s the next step after you have parsed your conditioning from your calling.

Then after that, a really practical step would be to investigate your calling. Really experiment with intermediate solutions that strengthen your agency or confidence about it.

Mac Prichard:

You identify the thing you really want to do. You understand what your values are. Then you go out and do this experimentation. What does that look like? Job shadowing people? Are you doing informational interviews? Are you volunteering?

Lisa Zigarmi:

All of those things. Perfect. You’re volunteering, you’re interviewing, you’re doing informational interviews, you’re talking to trusted friends and colleagues about how you could live your calling. I say that your values are the engine, they are the thing that powers your calling. Your calling is what you want to do, your values are how you’re going to do it.

Mac Prichard:

What other questions should listeners ask themselves as they reflect on this, and identify that calling, and pursue that interest? What else do you recommend, Lisa?

Lisa Zigarmi:

I think when we’re going after our calling, it’s really important to say what gives you energy, what begs you to get curious, to get brave, to get connected, to get vulnerable? Those are all avenues into our calling.

Mac Prichard:

You talked earlier about what you called flow and I know that’s a term psychologists use and I think our listeners are familiar with it too. It’s that state of mind where everything seems to come easy, doesn’t it?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Yeah, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was one of my professors at Penn and that flow state, he says [in his book Flow], means that you have to be challenged. It’s not that everything comes easy; it’s actually that you are so engaged in the problem or the challenge at hand that you don’t want to pull yourself away from it. Time just slips by. Callings should have that grit to them. They should have that toothiness that you don’t want to pull yourself away from it. You just want to get closer and closer to it. You want to solve the problem; you want to be the solution.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve found in talking to job seekers and professionals in general that people who find that flow state…And it doesn’t come that often in a career, but when they do, they again, do their best work and they’re at their happiest, aren’t they?

Lisa Zigarmi:

They really are at their happiest. You know, I think what’s important about flow, which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi always talked about, is it’s a practice. You can actually reach flow more frequently if you are in touch with your calling. If you’re saying, “I’m going to practice my values. I’m going to practice what I want to do everyday so that those moments of flow are more available to me.”

Mac Prichard:

Well, it’s been a terrific conversation, Lisa. Now tell us what’s next for you?

Lisa Zigarmi:

Thanks for asking, Mac. I am about to do a podcast pilot with another positive psychologist friend of mine, and also another big podcast producer, and we’re looking forward to Daily Allowance, coming out in early September. It’s the podcast where we talk about the self-care practices that help people stay free and open and be their best selves.

Mac Prichard:

Well, I’m guessing that that will be on iTunes when it goes live.

Lisa Zigarmi:

We hope it will, yes.

Mac Prichard:

I know people can learn more about you and your work by visiting your website. That’s lisazigarmi.com.

Lisa Zigarmi:

Perfect, Mac. Thank you so much for having me today.

Mac Prichard:

Thanks for coming to the studio. Take care, Lisa.

Lisa Zigarmi:

Thanks.

Mac Prichard:

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Jessica and Leila. What are your thoughts about my conversation with Lisa?

Jessica Black:

She had great energy. It was so good to have her in the studio. Like you said, Mac, all of the interviews are great but the energy that is produced by having someone in the studio is just so great. Especially her conversation around using energy to figure out what your next steps in your career development should be. It just hit home so much more because of that.

What stuck out to me was the fact that it’s just beneficial to talk about these types of things because I think a lot of times people can be going through their day-to-day and not really realize that they’re feeling flat like she mentioned. She gave a good example of a high performer who’s hitting all of their marks and they may not completely realize that the reason they are feeling empty or not quite engaged is because they’re not in the right career that they should be. Even though they’re excelling in the top areas of their career, that looks like success to some people and it is successful, but she talks about that conditioning side of things. That’s what society expects and that’s a certain aspect of what success looks like.

There is another component where you are fully engaged, where you are able to be whole and in your flow state and all of that type of thing. I thought it was really beneficial to hear about all of that and I liked about how she talked about how your values are showing up in the day to day, and how that’s a good way to recognize that you have found that space that you feel like is your calling. It’s an interesting concept because it’s really hard to define. I think everybody wants to define it.

Mac Prichard:

It is hard to define.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, everybody wants to find their calling.

Mac Prichard:

We all struggle with setting goals and getting clear about our calling.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely. It’s a good primer and I liked her focus and her encouragement on taking that quiet time to really take a step back and think about it and get clear about those goals.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve found that the people who do figure that out, and it’s hard to do, it takes work, and you may not get it right the first time, but when you do and you find yourself doing your best work, you’re in a place where you think to yourself, “I was meant to do this”, you’re not only happy but I think you’re most productive.

Personally, I have had that experience a number of times in my career, and I think, “Wow, I’m in the right place.”

Jessica Black:

That’s great.

Mac Prichard:

I find that the people who do figure out what those goals are, and what their calling is, do enjoy that, but it takes effort.

Jessica Black:

It does and sometimes it takes a lot of “missteps” of trying out various things.

Mac Prichard:

Experimentation.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, and that’s not a bad thing, and we talked about that earlier in the podcast about how that’s how you figure it out. I think that’s great.

Mac Prichard:

Leila, what are your thoughts?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, just to piggyback off of what Jessica was saying, I really liked what she had to say about how your calling can help you claim your narrative. Owning your career story and what you’re passionate about, and what your strengths are, just working with those. One phrase that really stuck out for me was when she said your values are your engine. I think that’s a good way to think about it, like those are the things that are kickstarting what your career is going to be, what your calling is, just having those in the back of your mind as you’re thinking about this big picture, nebulous thing.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I like that, and going back to the setting goals, taking that quiet time to determine what those values are so that you know. Going back to your resource that you shared earlier, about having a roadmap and being able to check in with that and just knowing.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. I agree about the importance of values as well because we spend so much of our time at the workplace and we want to make sure that what we do reflects what’s important to us. Values can take a lot of different forms but it’s important that we know what they are because they do inform both our satisfaction with our work and our performance.

Well, thank you both, and thank you, Lisa, for joining us today, and thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

If you’d like more ideas for following your calling, check out my goals-setting resource. It’s Finding Focus in Your Job Search.

You can download this free and  it’s a step-by-step guide to setting goals. You can find it on our website. Go to macslist.org/focus.

Join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Kirk Baumann. He’s the founder of Campus to Career and he’ll talk about how to stand out as an intern.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

If you’re feeling disconnected from your career, it may be because you’re not following your calling. This week’s guest expert Lisa Zigarmi says following your calling is key to unlocking a successful, rewarding, and happier career. Find out how to identify your calling and and how it can help your job search.

About Our Guest: Lisa Zigarmi

Lisa Zigarmi is a leadership coach and growth accelerator. She partners with executives and entrepreneurs who want to relate more deeply, decide more efficiently, and think with more creativity. Lisa helps her clients build leadership capacity by applying positive psychology, leadership science, and mindfulness practices. She regularly contributes to Forbes and her corporate clients include: Johnson & Johnson, Salesforce, Genentech and VMware.

Resources in this Episode: