Identifying your vocation is one of the most important things you can do in life. After all, once you find and pursue your true calling, you can do the work you feel you were meant to do. Following your passion is not only personally fulfilling but can also put you in a great position to help others.
Once you identify your vocation and begin taking steps to commit to it, you’ll find there are a wealth of activities and education options to help you learn and grow.
What Is a Vocation?
“Vocation” comes from the Latin word “vocare,” which means “to call.” Rather than simply what you do for a living, it has to do with your purpose in life—what you feel “called” to do. However, you can earn a living while pursuing your vocation.
Your career can be an excellent vehicle for living out a vocation you are passionate about. For example, if you feel called to guide, teach, and mentor others, you may choose education as your career and pursue teaching or ministry. Similarly, if you feel called to help the ill or elderly, you could follow health care or social work as your vocation and pursue a medical or counseling career.
How to Find Your Calling
Given how much of your life is spent working—approximately 90,000 hours, according to one work-life researcher—it makes sense to find your calling. From there, you can fully explore your career options and pursue challenging and fulfilling roles.
Take the following steps to identify your vocation and pursue your life’s calling:
Discover your “why.”
Finding your true calling doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but rather by asking yourself questions about your purpose and what would allow you to use your talents most effectively. This discovery process lets you consider what truly inspires you and aligns with your passions.
As you reflect on your “why,” it may be helpful to think about past experiences that were particularly fulfilling, such as jobs, projects, and volunteer work. You may also find it beneficial to think about your dreams for the future, such as what you would like to do five years from now.
Explore new activities.
Try getting involved in activities that align with your interests and help determine your fit in a specific vocation. For example, you can attend training and seminars, volunteer, and read about your potential career options.
Get input from others.
Talking to people already practicing the vocation you’re considering can help you discover potential career paths. By talking with a mentor or getting introduced through mutual friends, you can gain valuable information from those who know about the day-to-day challenges and opportunities you’re likely to encounter.
Pursue a vocational degree program.
Even if you already have a college degree, you can continue your educational journey by pursuing a degree related to the career path you are considering. For example, graduate and professional degrees in service-related areas such as social work, ministry, teaching, and health care are all great ways to get vocational training and set yourself on a path to success in your chosen field.
Keep in mind that pursuing a fulfilling new career doesn’t mean you need to quit your job or put your life on hold. You can get your degree online and enjoy a flexible schedule that fits your education into your busy life. Some of the many online degree programs you can consider include:
- Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Christian Ministry
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration (MBA-HCA)
- Master of Arts in Education (MA Ed.)
Remember that finding your vocation doesn’t mean you must stay in a particular role for life. You can grow and advance in your career path while continuing to pursue your vocation. As you expand your knowledge and gain new experience, you can look for lateral and promotional opportunities that align with your passion. For instance, after completing a degree in ministry, you may start as a youth minister. But later, you may be ready to transition into other roles, such as a director of religious education or pastor.
Take the Next Step with Your Chosen Vocation
Finding and following your vocation is no small undertaking. But when you take the time to think about the paths you can follow, explore related activities, and look for ways to learn, you can develop a clearer picture of what’s right for you.
A great way to explore a new path is by continuing your education. A degree program that aligns with your calling can provide relevant coursework and prepare you for various career paths after graduation.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University offers a wealth of undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to help you expand your knowledge and pursue your vocation. With online options and flexible schedules that fit into your busy lifestyle, you can take the next step toward your true calling. Contact us today to learn more.