Love, Passion and Your Work
Trade Secrets for Finding Your Calling
In his 2012 bestseller Mastery Robert Greene tells the story of Leonardo di Vinci. Di Vinci’s father was a notary; an educated man and a respected member of the powerful bourgeoisie. However, Leonardo himself had been born out of wedlock and subsequently he was not allowed to enter university, excluded from the so called ‘noble’ professions and given relatively little schooling. As a child he was therefore left to his own devices, free to chase his whims and shouldered with virtually no expectations.
What emerged was a deep passion for observing and drawing the natural world; a passion that Leonardo was free to pursue and develop. And as he wholeheartedly and unreservedly chased this passion he eventually emerged as the greatest talent of his time; a genius whose ideas would bless the world of art, science, mathematics and engineering.
Greene points to da Vinci’s illegitimacy as his greatest gift; for it liberated him from the career paths common to men of his status and allowed him to follow his heart and search for the glorious intersection between his deepest joy and his highest abilities. The steadfast choice to always do what he loved would define da Vinci’s career as time and again he extracted himself from established patterns of patronage and ladder climbing and escaped to lock himself away with his notepads and his imagination.
Greene’s point, and indeed the whole point of his book is that each of us is uniquely shaped to fulfil a role in the world; a role that no one else can fulfil with the same level of mastery and passion. But in our world, as in Da Vinci’s, our social structures, our economies and our workplaces are generally set up in ways that discourage or even damage our ability to discover this unique vocation and most of us will never be blessed with the space, time or support to take that journey.
There is a word for this special role. We often refer to it as our “calling”. And yet this concept has taken on a peculiarly religious sense. When we speak of a calling we tend to imagine it as a call from God to leave our ordinary jobs in the mainstream economy and rush off to work as a religious professional.
The spiritual baggage attached to this word has created a strange hierarchy of professional worthiness; where those with “callings” to work in religious leadership are deemed special and are encouraged to live out their love for God and His world through their work. Whilst everyone else is expected to go out into the real world do whatever work will pay the bills (and fund the religious workers in the pursuit of their calling!). It’s a strange and unfortunate dichotomy that has robbed our world of so much creativity and talent that might otherwise have been used pursuing the good, the true and the beautiful.
Perhaps its is time to rescue this word ‘calling’ from its religious captivity. What if all of us got serious about the idea that the choices we face in our working lives are not simply between following a religious ‘calling’ or progressing within a secular ‘profession’? Could it be that the good life is one where we fight to align these two ideas and take more seriously the struggle discover what it is that we are uniquely able to offer as our deepest and most meaningful contribution to the world.
And yet, as attractive as this idea may be; we all have bills to pay and people who depend on us. We have usually invested deeply in getting to where we are now. For most of us an impulsive and sudden change of career is impossible. And so, if we do want to discover our calling we much treat it as a journey; a gradual alignment of our loves, our passions and our profession; a journey of courage and persistence.
And, as in any successful journey we will need to be guided along the way.
We have invited three such guides to join us at CHOW this month. They will share with us the secrets and lessons they have learned on their path towards love in their workplaces. What connects them is that their own passions and work help to fuel the passions and work of others
y significant number of us in Jersey. Coopers is one of the oldest remaining locally owned Jersey companies and trades from three sites
Marie – Clara Thaureux co-runs GLS Recruitment, who help their clients make ch
anges in their working lives which draw them nearer to their calling. She also blogs eloqently about matters of life, work and meaning.
And Gerard le Feuvre is a world-renowned musician and composer sharing the passion-inspired music of the great masters of the past and whose orchestra is inspiring their audiences to a deeper connection to the human spirit and to God.
Join us for what should be a lunch and discussion full of inspiration and from which you should leave a little bit more determined to do what you love and to love what you do.
We hope to see you in Church House from 1-2pm.
Please note that you must register to attend CHOW. If you do not register we cannot guarantee you a seat at the event. Please reserve your place here