Personal Development
What's a Vocation? Find Certainty in Your Professional Life

What's a Vocation? Find Certainty in Your Professional Life

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What is a Vocation? 8 Tips for Uncovering Your Own

When someone talks about their career with enthusiasm and pride, it's usually because they have found their 'calling' and feel a deep sense of purpose in their professional life. This emotional satisfaction can help improve overall mental and physical health, offering a greater sense of personal growth and meaningfulness.

A vocation, or 'call' is an occupation or job that goes beyond simply earning money; it's something that gives a person a higher goal and a way to help and contribute to the greater good. This term originally referred to a spiritual and reflective way of life, often used within religious contexts such as Christianity, Judaism, Islamic faith, and Hinduism. However, the definition of 'vocation' has now been expanded to include any meaningful job or career.

Types of Vocations

There are two main types of vocation: personal and skillful. 'Personal' vocations involve contributing to society without getting paid for it, such as volunteering at a charity or providing exercise classes at an assisted-living facility. On the other hand, 'skillful' vocations involve leveraging your existing skillset to create a career that has a meaningful purpose, while providing value to your employer, coworkers, community, and society as a whole.

Four Skillful Vocation Categories and Examples

  • Helpers and healers - Human rights activist, nurse, doctor, therapist, hospice worker, speech pathologist, social worker, teacher, caretaker, yoga instructor
  • Justice seekers - Activist, lawyer, environmentalist, labor or community organizer, politician, diversity and inclusion officer
  • Organizers and builders - Entrepreneur, manager, scientist, engineer, urban planner, accountant, project manager, financial analyst
  • Creators and communicators - Artist, writer, musician, designer, filmmaker, public speaker, photographer, content creator, marketer

Finding your vocation starts with self-exploration. To avoid being overwhelmed, it's important to consider the interests, passions, and skills that you already have. Think about questions such as "What do I want to do with my professional life?", "What do I care about?" and "What do I find meaningful?" Simultaneously, consider the lifestyle you'd like to lead and what kind of work would enable you to achieve it. Answers to these questions will provide a solid basis for searching and finding a vocation that's suitable to you.

It's normal to feel pushed to act quickly or to pursue a career that you think is expected of you. Don't be afraid to take your time, explore different options and be open to changing your mind. Everyone's journey to discovering their vocation is unique, but the end result is worth it.

Unveiling Your Vocation

Storytellers bring the world to life through sharing their experiences and imparting impactful life lessons. This could include directors, painters, photographers, journalists, writers, actors, editors, content makers, podcasters or radio hosts, musicians, and first responders. Whether it's straight out of school or a career switch, finding work that speaks to you is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Uncovering a vocation begins with understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. Reflect on your previous experiences in school, work, and life in general, and take notice of the areas where you have succeeded. Ask yourself questions such as "What do I most enjoy doing at work?", and "What attributes do people usually compliment me for?" Doing so can help to shed light on new career paths that could lead to a vocation.

The next step is to visualize the ideal career that you'd like to pursue. Consider how your life might look like without the worry of financial stability? What activities make you feel energized and excited? These feelings can be indicative of what vocation you should be pursuing.

Discovering and Pursuing Your Vocation

No matter what your age or stage in life, finding and pursuing a vocation can be an exciting journey of self-discovery and fulfillment. Here are seven tips to aid you in discovering your vocation.

1. Consider Your Passions, Interests & Skills

The first step in finding a vocation is to ask yourself what you are passionate about, and what your interests and skills are. Think about what type of work you find most interesting and enjoyable, and what you have the most aptitude for. Take some time to consider the possibilities and explore different roles.

2. Habits & Skill Building

Once you have identified the vocation that is right for you, develop habits that even further your career goals. For instance, if you are aspiring to open a cafe, practice preparing a different recipe each week to increase your culinary skills. Dedicate yourself to gaining the necessary knowledge and experience to sucessfully pursue your chosen career.

3. Research & Training

Educate yourself by researching your career choice and speaking to people in the field. Reading up on the profession you want to pursue and taking advantage of internships and externships will ensure you are well versed in the job you have chosen. Learning is a process and there is no need to rush, take the time to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge.

4. Prioritize Your Vocation

Make sure to rearrange your schedule to accommodate your newly found career. Make use of online classes or adjust your working hours to strengthen your existing skills. Break down your main goals into smaller achievable tasks as this gives you a roadmap to success while avoiding feeling overwhelmed.

5. Ask for Support

Your chosen vocation is typically connected to a higher purpose that is larger than just you. Recognize that this is a team effort and that asking for help is necessary. Look for a mentor, coach, or vocational counselor to assist and guide you towards finding a more meaningful job.

6. Be Open to Change

Finding the right vocation takes courage and although there is no universal roadmap, you have already taken the first step by determining what your vocation is. Remember to be open to changes and allow yourself to explore other options or adjust your goals if need be.

7. Follow Your Passion

When it comes to finding a vocation, it is best to follow your passion. If you are excited and passionate when thinking about your career, you know you have found your calling. This enthusiasm will only add to your success, and embracing it will ease the process of building a fulfilling life.


Searching for and pursuing the right vocation is a journey of self-reflection and exploration. Everyone's path to success is different, but the ultimate outcome of finding your true vocation will often leave you with a life full of meaning and wealth.

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