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All You Need Is A Napkin To Find Your Calling

Shabnam Banerjee-McFarland Posted by Shabnam Banerjee-McFarland, Sales and Marketing Strategist, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. .

Shabnam is the Sales & Marketing Strategist at BK and coordinates launch campaigns for a few books per season. She is a San Francisco native born & raised, forever wandering the earth like a unicorn. 

All You Need Is A Napkin To Find Your Calling

Sometimes I wonder why there aren’t abundant possibilities to merge personal fulfillment with career choices and work. More often than not, I find myself, my peers, family and friends locked into a vicious cycle of sleep, work, and repeat - with limited chances for taking time for personal fulfillment and growth.

Two longtime BK authors, Richard Leider and David Shapiro, stopped into our offices to teach us a method for bringing together our work life and personal life in a healthy and satisfying way, detailed in their upcoming book, Work Reimagined. To find a way to incorporate our personal goals with our career trajectory successfully, we must solve the equation of finding our calling. Locating and living out our calling requires testing ourselves and asking important questions like “what are my gifts, passions and values?” and “what gets me up in the morning?” Adding these together is the central theme of Work Reimagined, which seeks to help readers solve the following equation:

Gifts + Passion + Values = Calling

The great thing about this test, as Leider and Shapiro have noticed, is that it can be done in less than ten minutes, and can be conducted mostly in casual conversations with the answers written down on a napkin. Solving this equation unlocks the power of our purpose.

Now it might sound heavy, unlocking the power of purpose, but in reality, it’s a way by which we can retrieve our inner gifts, passion, and values that exist within all of us, but might be hiding under stress, overwork, and exhaustion. Bringing these three crucial components to the forefront adds self-awareness, but also allows us to gain insight to talk about what we bring to the table. It’s not about what we do - finding our calling can be done in any industry, job or professional realm. It’s about opening the lens of how much of ourselves we bring to do what we do. 

This isn’t a book about finding a new job. Dropping everything to follow what may be a fleeting passion is a privilege, as many aren’t given the opportunity to become financially unstable for a set of beliefs. However, Work Reimagined seeks to do just that, reimagine how we conduct ourselves in both our current and future work settings, while still thinking of our potential as core to our well-being. Working with a sense of purpose shifts the focus away from the job at hand, and instead, the person’s attitude and lifestyle while at work. 

In other words, even in workplaces that are known to hinder imagination, say in an associate retail setting, there is potential for working with purpose. While working in my retail job, I created a Social Media job proposal that incorporated my writing skills, the company's goals to represent customers' stories beyond products sold, and build awareness for the charities we were involved with to create a fuller picture of the experience there. Identifying my gifts, passion and values opened up doors that I previously didn't consider, and now a wealth of opportunities and ideas have presented themselves to me, and ultimately lead me to this amazing internship with Berrett-Koehler. 

This stems from locating my central purpose, and constant evaluation of our G + P + V will ultimately guided me to my calling in pursuing and bettering my writing and working towards ending inequality. We must keep in mind what our gifts, passion and values are so that we can get up in the morning feeling refreshed and invigorated for a new day. 

How can you bring what you do best and what you hold dearest to your work?