Vocal About Vocation

Another stellar review from @brainpickings about something close to the TMWK heart: Fulfilling Work. Such a concept is heavy at the heart of our approach to personal branding. If we can describe to others how we manifest our genius – who we are, the skills we offer – they can better help us in the direction of our vocation.

As relayed by @brainpickings:

Roman Krznaric, author of How to Find Fulfilling Work says; “a vocation is not something we find, it’s something we grow — and grow into.”

He further defines vocation as “a career that not only gives you fulfillment — meaning, flow, freedom — but that also has a definitive goal or a clear purpose to strive for attached to it, which drives your life…”

This is especially relevant at a time when “[w]e have entered a new age of fulfillment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning.”

Work is not enough

If we settle just for ‘work’, then we take the ‘grin and bear it’ approach. According to Krznaric:

“This is the view that we should get our expectations under control and recognize that work, for the vast majority of humanity — including ourselves — is mostly drudgery and always will be.

“The history is captured in the word itself. The Latin labor means drudgery or toil, while the French travail derives from the tripalium, an ancient Roman instrument of torture made of three sticks. …”

Yikes. By that etymology, work is not for me. We need something(s) more.

@brainpickings has more. “Krznaric considers the five keys to making a career meaningful — earning money, achieving status, making a difference, following our passions, and using our talents.”

Each on the list is more relevant than the last. As Krznaric comments, “The lack of any clear positive relationship between rising income and rising happiness has become one of the most powerful findings in the modern social sciences.”

However, when we combine our values and talents we arrive at an idea attributed to Aristotle: ‘Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.’


Most of us have a pertinent challenge in these times of change and meaning. We will increasingly have to upskill and retool as the “inexorable forces of commoditization” sweep away many parts of the knowledge economy to automated processes and cheaper time zones.

As we process these changes, why not reflect (maybe for the first time) on what we are here to do; how we find meaning; what pure and unique gifts we have to offer; and then work out a way to find help on that new journey?

At TMWK, we believe personal branding should be F.R.E.S.H., but we do not underestimate the powerful impact it can have on people’s lives. There is important work to be done.

←This Much We Know.→

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