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What is Vocation: Exploring Your True Calling

By Remy Meraz October 13, 2023

What is Vocation: Exploring Your True Calling

Have you ever pondered the question, "What is my purpose in life?" If so, you're in the company of countless human beings who've grappled with the meaning of their existence. It's a question that leads many to explore the concept of vocation. Derived from the Latin vocātiō, the word vocation is often described as a "calling" or "occupation," but its implications stretch far deeper.

Understanding your vocation, be it a particular occupation or a religious life, is not just about settling into a career or profession. It's about discovering your fundamental and innate vocation, the unique purpose that gives meaning to your life. Recognizing this not only enriches your own life but also allows you to contribute positively to the world around you.

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The Broadest Sense of Vocation

While the term "vocation" often evokes images of specific careers or religious callings, its essence captures something far more universal. In the broadest sense, vocation is your life's true calling, extending beyond the boundaries of a mere job or career. It is your fundamental and innate vocation, rooted deep within, that paints the grand canvas of your existence.

This calling isn't confined to what you do from nine to five; it permeates every aspect of your life—from personal relationships and community involvement to the quiet moments when you ponder the meaning of your existence. Vocation is not just something you do; it’s a part of who you are. You may express this calling in different ways: through your particular occupation, your religious life, or your roles in family and community.

By appreciating vocation in its broadest sense, you’re not just earning a living but creating a life—a life filled with purpose and meaning.


Particular Occupations as a Form of Vocation

So, you’ve landed a job or chosen a particular occupation. Congratulations on your new job, but let's dig deeper. Have you ever wondered if your work is more than just a way to pay the bills? The reality is that your job can be a significant expression of your broader vocation. In fact, many find their true calling in the specific skills and talents they bring to their professional life.

Imagine a musician whose fingers dance gracefully across piano keys, or a social worker who brings light to the marginalized corners of society. These are not merely jobs; they are vocations in action. Your natural skills and talents are clues pointing you towards your own vocation, revealing how you can contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

Remember, your particular occupation isn’t just about making money; it’s about making a difference. By aligning your job with your broader vocation, you're not merely surviving; you're thriving, offering your unique gifts to the world and finding purpose in the process.


Religious Life and Vocation

For some, the term "vocation" carries spiritual gravity. In this context, a religious vocation isn't just an occupation but a divine call, a summons from God to live a life dedicated to serving others and enhancing the spiritual well-being of the community. Whether it’s through priesthood, monastic life, or active lay ministry, religious life is a path paved by a sense of divine calling.

Think about it: When God calls, the concept of vocation takes on eternal significance. A religious vocation is not something one stumbles upon; it's a commitment made after deep contemplation and spiritual discernment. In this sacred undertaking, you're not just choosing a career; you're embracing a way of life deeply intertwined with your beliefs.

In the grand tapestry of vocations, religious life stands out as a choice that transcends worldly considerations. It’s not about what you do but about who you become in the eyes of God and how you contribute to the well-being of human souls around you.


Different Types of Vocations

When it comes to vocation, the narrative often centers around career paths and religious callings. However, real vocation is not limited to these areas. Let's delve into less-discussed but equally profound forms of vocation: family life, married life, single life, and consecrated life.

Family life, often overlooked in discussions about vocation, is indeed a calling. Raising children and fostering a home environment is a significant form of contribution to the world. Similarly, married life is another authentic vocation where two individuals commit to a life journey together, shaping each other's souls in the process.

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On the other hand, single life offers its own set of unique opportunities for vocation. The freedom to focus on personal growth and community service in a distinct way shapes it as a real vocation. Then comes consecrated life, where individuals pledge themselves to religious service, often choosing celibacy and a life of devotion.

So, whether you are bound by family ties, married, single, or consecrated, each lifestyle has its role in the expansive landscape of vocations.

The Divine Call - Understanding Religious Vocation

In the realm of vocations, one area that captivates attention and curiosity is the concept of a "divine call." This is a profound, otherworldly summons that feels as if God calls you personally to a particular path. Often associated with religious vocation, the divine call leads individuals to roles that serve a higher power and a broader community, such as priesthood or other forms of Christian vocation.

The priesthood, for instance, is a calling that requires deep spiritual commitment. It's not just a profession but a way of life, embodying a unique set of duties and responsibilities that serve the Church and its congregation. In Christian terms, answering God's call often means dedicating oneself to the teachings of the Bible and the community of believers.

In essence, a divine call is not a choice but a revelation; it's an intimate conversation between the individual and God. Understanding this helps to decode the gravity and the spiritual dimension of religious vocations.


Finding Your True Calling

The journey to discover your true calling is often a winding road, but it is one that promises fulfillment and purpose. Understanding your vocation, in its broadest sense, is about aligning your life with what makes you come alive. Whether it's a particular occupation, a religious vocation, or family life, each is a real vocation with the potential to enrich your existence.

Here are some tips for discovering your true calling:

  • Reflect: Take time to understand your skills, interests, and what drives you.
  • Consult: Speak with mentors or people who embody the vocation you are interested in.
  • Act: Small steps lead to big changes; don't be afraid to start the journey.

Read more about: Professional Development

About Remy Meraz

Remy Meraz, co-founder, and CEO of Zella Life, is a visionary leader who leveraged corporate glass ceiling challenges as a woman of color to drive systemic change.

While leading and cultivating high-performance teams from VC-backed startups to Fortune 500, she consistently faced obstacles such as inadequate mentorship, lack of psychological safety, and non-personalized training. Taking matters into her own hands, she turned to executive coaching and NLP training. This life-changing growth experience led to breaking leadership barriers and a passion for cognitive psychology.

Motivated by her experiences, she co-founded Zella Life, an innovative AI-driven coaching platform bridging the talent development gap by enhancing soft skills and emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace.

Her vision with Zella Life is to transform professional development into an inclusive and impactful journey, focused on the distinct needs of both individuals and organizations. She aims to promote advancement and culture change by ensuring every professional's growth is acknowledged and supported.

Today, Remy is recognized as an influential innovator, trainer, mentor, and business leader. Under her leadership, Zella Life has delivered significant measurable outcomes for numerous well-known brands. This track record of positive outcomes garnered attention and funding from Google for Startups and Pledge LA, establishing Zella Life as a pivotal force in the learning and development arena tackling and resolving fundamental talent development issues for organizations of all sizes.