Vocation and Identity

Let Your Life Speak...

…Is the title of Parker Palmer’s small but potent book. It has become one of the most valuable books in my personal library. I first picked it up and read it in 2003 at the encouragement of a good friend.

This is a big statement, but anyone in a position of any kind of leadership role who has not read this book, is missing some important wisdom about what we are about with the parts of our life we call work…or vocation. Those I know who have read Palmer’s work have been nurtured, encouraged and hope-filled with what they are about with their lives.

He talks about vocation coming from listening. I quote from pages 4 and 5 of Let Your Life Speak:

Vocation “…comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.”

“That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live—but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.”

Palmer also states on page 74: “Even I have come to understand that for better or for worse, I lead by word and deed simply because I am here doing what I do. If you are also here, doing what you do, then you also exercise leadership of some sort.”

Within LDG’s Circle of Life Mentoring Model, we look at the Vocational Dimension, for everyone, as discovering one’s calling, helping to define one’s life work as their lives unfold with time, some establishing careers, some changing careers when necessary. Whether a person is in a job that pays, or not, the guiding question is:

in your day, your life,
is evidence of you being productive
with the waking, working hours of your day?

Parker further states, “The power for authentic leadership is found not in external arrangements but in the human heart. Authentic leaders in every setting—from families to nation-states—aim at liberating the heart, their own and others’, so that its powers can liberate the world.” (p.76)

Who am I?

Who are you?

Who are we together?

How are the people we live, work and play with experiencing liberation because we see what we do with our life as foundational to being life-changers?

Each day, what is our major purpose for getting up in the morning?

Do we absorb the fact, the truth, that each day we are here to make a difference in each life with which we connect in any way…large or small?

Are we willing to live liberated in all we say, do, believe?

Who are we together?

Who are you?

Who am I?

Within Leadership Design Group we are boldly suggesting, in all the 8 Dimensions of the Circle of Life we need to be about telling and listening to the stories of those we lead, those we mentor, those we love and care about personally. How have you answered the ten questions above?

We are encouraging new ways of thinking about who you are. We are about helping curious men and women, of all ages, to experience transformation and not settle with sameness. We long to see people released, fully, into their own unique, one-of-a-kind God-given design. This, we know, is the best of mentoring.

How may we help you
further realize why you are alive
on this planet at this moment in time?

Just how alive,
adventuresome and purpose-filled
do you dare to be?

In an hour, tomorrow, next year,
at the end of your life,
for what all do you hope to be remembered?

…this IS some of the best of whole-life mentoring…

Free Resource

LDG_ebook_coverFor more information on designing leaders through Intentional, Deep-Change, Whole-Life, Transformational Mentoring, download our free eBook.


Written by

Founder/CCO/Master Mentor Leadership Design Group. Wes is uniquely designed to encourage, grow, prod, and challenge others. He is wildly creative and able to imagine better futures for others and himself. Since 1967 his leadership mentoring has helped shape the future of individuals and organizations to grow their dreams into reality. Wes exercises his unique personality to serve others as Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Leadership Design Group, Leadership Design Associates and Three3rds Media. Wes has been mentoring individuals and teams since 1967 from a variety of backgrounds and on every major continent. The unique mentoring model that has deepened, enriched, challenged and changed many lives—in every third of life, is a cornerstone for all that takes place within Leadership Design Group, Leadership Design Associates and Three3rds Media.

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