In 2015 Seth Godin shared his belief that we don't have a calling, but rather a caring. (You can read it in full here.) I've seen this blog post pop up from time to time and until I began coaching, I always cringed a bit when reading it.
What do you mean we don't have a calling?! If we don't have a calling, how do we find our purpose?
During this time of commencement speeches, advice and words of wisdom, I thought what a great time to revisit his post and share some thoughts from my coaching experiences on why we should help our teens figure out their cares vs careers.
Seth believes to have a "calling" signifies there is only one job you are meant to do. But to have a "caring" signifies finding something that is worth doing...that YOU find worth doing and care enough to show up, engage with and persist in...despite the obstacles that come your way.... and over the course of our lives there could be multiple ways to care about that thing worth doing.
There's much talk about finding your passions and developing grit. I believe when we find those things we "care" about, that's when we will persist, be disciplined, be resilient and find overall success.
As children we persisted when we "cared" enough about something, sometimes it was a passion, other times it was just a want. The key ingredient in either situation was "care".
As adults, we will persist and succeed over the long term when we care enough about something.... work, a mission, a group of people, a person, an organization.
During my time coaching I've come in contact with teens and young adults who, when they are given the opportunity to explore their interests, values and strengths and pushed to think deeply without judgement, they find their cares.... Isn't this what will ultimately provide the foundation to overcoming obstacles that come their way?
Athletics is an area that easily demonstrates this way of being. Athletes care enough about their pursuit of greatness - it's worth doing to them - that they persist through the many challenges that come with improvement.
Not all passions or strengths are created equal and just because we have a passion for something or are strong in a particular area, doesn't mean it should automatically become our career. We might have a "calling" or "passion" for many things - which do we choose? I sometimes wonder if by suggesting to graduates that they find their passion, we aren't setting them up for indecision and feeling stuck.
According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of the 5 million students who started PreK and K in 2014 will work in jobs that don't yet exist. Think about that.... that's astounding! So what jobs are we preparing our kids for?
Let's start a different set of questions... let's start asking our students what they "care" about...what change they'd like to see in their life...in the world... what is something they don't quite understand and find themselves thinking about... there are many versions of this question... all will help lead them to work that is worthwhile to them.... discipline is easier when we care, focus is easier when we care, resilience is easier when we care....finding a career is easier when we care....
From my experience, students will struggle with these questions... not because they don't have the answer, but because they've never been asked the questions. There is a first time for everything, will you be the first to ask your student a different set of questions?
That's Chance, my year old golden retriever, at the top. He reminds me daily how "caring" enough leads to positive results. I sometimes call him "relentless" because when we wants attention he won't stop until he gets it....imagine if we all found that work or reason to care enough that nothing would stop us from achieving it.
There are many lists provided by experts, 5 ways to this and 7 reasons not to that, but here's the thing about motivations and cares... they are completely individual. We won't find the answer in lists... we find the answer within. It's not easy work, but nothing worthwhile is.