What is a calling? If you think a calling is fitting and meaningful work that inspires passion and a sense of purpose, you are not alone. But that view is incomplete. Calling is also a way of living and working. This richer and more complex view of calling adds value at multiple levels (e.g., individual, work and society).
My extensive scholarship reveals that a calling is a way of living -- the ultimate form of engagement, meaning and intrinsic motivation, which I describe in my book, "Conversations About Calling: Advancing Management Perspectives" (Routledge Press). Engagement and intrinsic motivation matter to organizations because they are the most powerful, sustainable and cost effective way to energize excellent performance. This is critical given Gallup poll findings that only 30% of employees are fully engaged at work. Further, a sense of calling is personally enriching because it ennobles all types of work and provides compelling reasons to pursue your full potential in all circumstances. Consequently, approaching life and work as a calling has profound practical implications and psychological value.
Calling is intrinsic motivation that drives performance!
How do you cultivate and live your calling? Education, reflection and specific actions -- and it's never too late! To help you more fully live your calling, I've developed seminars for leaders and adults from all walks of life. I have conducted these seminars in non-religious, interfaith and Christian contexts including: Executive Education, professional meetings, churches, college campus groups, and community groups. I tailor the focus of speeches and seminars to meet your organization's need for: leadership development, motivational retreats, systematic on-boarding, helping people navigate transitions, or to begin anew.
What is the evidence? My work related to calling spans 20 years, resulting in:
A Book, "Conversations About Calling: Advancing Management Perspectives" (Routledge Press), provides an exhaustive interdisciplinary analysis of this historic concept and its contemporary relevance. It was an honor to receive an endorsement from the late Andre Delbecq, a founder of the Management Spirituality & Religion movement in the Academy of Management.
Peer reviewed presentations at academic conferences in the U.S. & abroad.
Metrics & Research The "Specialist with Spirit" Scale, provides empirical support for my theory. The scale, piloted with 200+ healthcare administrators, clinicians and support staff, indicates that the "Specialist with Spirit" measure is valid and reliable. More research is on the horizon.
Evidence-based seminars grounded in social science and adult learning theories. Content is customized for any audience (e.g., profession, gender, age, non-religious, Christian, religiously diverse).
Feedback from seminar participants of different backgrounds, faiths, and no faith.
"As I began reading, I near-scoffed at this case study being used in a top business school. But oh how my arrogance was laid low. Once all of the “business leaders” came into focus, and the comparison was drawn between them, it became rather evident why this was quite an astute case to use in studying leadership/calling… [T]he story makes a great point about how calling can serve to lead you through uncertainty and ostensibly dreadful situations in order to realize your full potential.”
“Being from eastern culture, I have not read this story but it is interesting to see how many of the legendary stories that we have in the east (India), talk about similar tales of a person going through a lot of hardships and yet not compromising with his integrity and faith in God. I think these stories serve as inspiration to us all.”
“The case discussions were interesting—analyzing the various characters and their actual performance was useful in deciding how those people faced ethical challenges and how they could improve their performance.”
“I was originally a bit skeptical about this case but it turned out to be interesting and thought provoking. It makes me think about how important it is to reflect on decisions and how they affect people. If one doesn’t actually take the time for thoughtful reflection on their decisions they will never grow. There are many lessons to be learned from the case, but I think the most important lesson is that someone needs to be adaptable and reflective. "
"The exercises were great and meant more personally than I ever thought they would."
"Having been raised in a culturally Jewish and atheist home, by two historians of the ancient Middle East, it was important for me to recognize that with so much of world familiar with religious stories, using the story of Joseph might resonate with a very large number of people and enable them to effectively critically engage with issues of diversity, inclusion and leadership.”
Religious Focus (Managers, Working Adults & Graduate Students)
"Finding and keeping in-line with our calling starts with being quiet. Self-examination is key since the job/"calling" market is ever-changing and unpredictable." “I was laid off from a highly professional technical job and struggling with depression. I attended Dr. Myers’ session. Her class changed my life. I started to market myself after it and just started a new job. I thought you should know.”
"The integration with Joseph's story was helpful and unique. I appreciate the scriptural foundation for the discussion related to learning from his story."
"My most important insight - calling is more than merely purpose and position." "I discovered what was missing in my current work. I feel like a lot of what I do is drudgery, and what I learned is that even the drudgery should be done with a good disposition because that has a role in your calling."
"I enjoyed reading and discussing scripture passages in small groups and talking about how they relate to calling. Acknowledging that we need to "unplug."
"That I need to be intentional about contemplating my calling and figuring out whether I am living my calling in multiple areas of life. I need to be thinking about what I am doing with the opportunities God has given me."
Huddled on a Hilltop in Durban, South Africa Working with this terrific group of young adults (and a youth) in the Chesterfield Township was a life changing opportunity. Supported by an academic fellowship, I facilitated a 6 week intervention at St. Francis A.M.E. church to help young adults cultivate their callings. We learned a lot from each other; perhaps I learned the most. It was in South Africa that I discovered the intersection of calling, diversity, inclusive leadership and the value of being deeply curious.