Most of us would probably like to work with a deeper sense of purpose and mission; maybe prayer can help. This episode begins with story about a time when Jesus went off and prayed by himself in the early morning hours. You might find it has something important to say about a possible connection between prayer and the sense of purpose or mission we bring to our work. In this connection, we also discuss receptive prayer as a helpful spiritual practice.(Time: 7:20)
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The Entrepreneurial Calling: Perspectives from Rahner by the late William J. Toth of Seton Hall is an extraordinary theological reflection on the entrepreneurial vocation and the deeper significance of the entrepreneur’s hope, risk, and service to others. A central concept for Toth was that of “providential love.” This concept combines the idea of looking forward and anticipating the future with a desire to create something of value for others. The entrepreneur intends to create part of the future, but at the same time recognizes that success or failure will be determined by others who are free to accept or reject the offer made by the entrepreneur.read more
Finding meaning and a sense of purpose in our work is important. It is important for our effectiveness, for the satisfaction and fulfillment we get from our work, and for our overall life satisfaction.
One way to approach this is to think about whether our work can actually be our calling.read more
Underlying much of the “faith and work” movement and many of the books on the subject is the assumption that religious people want to connect their faith and their work. In a recent presentation to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Rice University sociologist Brandon Vaidyanathan questioned this assumption and made some very interesting observations based on his research.During his presentation, he raised the provocative issue that perhaps people usually see faith and work as two competing spheres with separate devotions and would actually prefer to keep them separate.
I think he is on to something important, but I think the problem is not so much that there is a necessary conflict between faith and work, but rather how we understand (or misunderstand) the nature of one or the other or perhaps both.read more
Work engagement — the degree to which we are engaged in our work — is an important issue. The level of engagement of employees and volunteers is critically important for the health of organizations. And from the perspective of the individual doing the work, whether employed or self employed, it would be difficult to find satisfaction and fulfillment in work with which we are not fully engaged.read more
A few months ago I attended a retreat that focused on Celtic spirituality. At one point, the retreat leader used a very appealing metaphor – find your own music. He told a story of Irish musicians who, before playing, would quietly listen inwardly “to hear the music.” He challenged us to listen for our own music, and then to play it through our lives. I took this as a metaphor for a calling. We think of a calling as something we are called to do, as a life mission of sorts. Sometimes we hear people express it as something that comes from beyond ourselves, as in “I was called by God to do . . .” But people also talk of it as something that comes from from deep within us, like our own music for which we need to listen.read more
Baylor University sociologists Jerry Park, Jenna Rogers, Mitchell Neubert, and Kevin Dougherty released a new study looking at the role of congregations in encouraging healthy work attitudes. The study found that there tended to be higher ratings for affective organizational commitment and job satisfaction if the respondent’s congregation placed a higher value on work and the respondent had higher involvement with the congregation (as measured by attendance). If either element was missing (less importance placed on work by the congregation or less frequent attendance) then there appeared to be no positive benefit.read more
We are pleased to offer on our Work as a Calling page (link) an article (link) by CFE friend Tony Mulkern on the value of business and business vocations. (Serious Business: Why It Matters). Tony summarizes some of the arguments made by Michael Novak during his CFE sponsored speaking tour a few years ago, and then concludes with his own advise to business owners:
“When you wonder if it is all worth it, remember that you are a symbol, an example, and one of the drivers of a free people freely creating wealth, a society, and a world in which all can pursue their dreams, consistent with the freedom of others.”read more
A friend passed along a link to the Neil Gaiman commencement address that has received a lot of attention on YouTube. I can see why — Gaiman makes a strong and inspiring case for devoting ourselves to “make good art”. A highlight is when he goes...read more
Abraham Zaleznik was a professor of leadership at The Harvard Business School for 43 years and a certified psychoanalyst. He was also the author of a very important, and famous, 1977 Harvard Business Review article: Managers and Leaders: Are They Different? To understand the impact of his article, one should remember that when written there was much less of an understanding that leadership is quite different from management; Zaleznik was on the leading edge of the wave. Zaleznik also had the ability to convey some of the psychological differences between leaders and managers and their formation and did so in a way that is still valuable.read more