Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Find Your Life Mission (and then a job)

jesus ceo.jpgIn her newest book, “Jesus, Career Counselor: How to Find (and Keep) Your Perfect Work,” bestselling author Laurie Beth Jones cites a surprising statistic: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average 38-year-old will have held between ten to fourteen different jobs.
That’s a lot of resumes. And interviews. And resignations. But it doesn’t mean we’re all walking around aimlessly either. As Jones points out, a career is rarely a linear progression from point A to point B. Most of us wind up in unexpected places somewhere along the journey, only to discover a set of skills and some passion we didn’t know we had.
Jones gives us some examples: Successful televangelist and author Joyce Meyers was a secretary until the age of 42. Georgia O’Keefe was a school teacher in Canyon, Texas until she met the successful man (Alfred Stieglitz) who became her husband and prominent promoter of her artwork. And a tennis star ended up as an astronaut (Sally Ride)!
Having recently come to a crossroads in my own career, a time to consider all my options, I found Jones’s book helpful in identifying my mission–which, I found out, is different from my job–and trying to figure out ways I can fulfill my mission within a lifestyle that makes sense for me. The way to do this hinges on four foundations, or guideposts she presents in the book.
First, you must compose a simple mission statement, ideally containing three verbs and based on one of your core values. For example, my mission statement is this, borrowed from my Facebook page: “I am a mother of two, a wife, and a writer whose mission is to educate folks about mental illness and to offer support to those who, like myself, suffer from mood disorders. But I do all of this with a sense of humor.”
Second, you assess your personality profile. Jones works with the four elements, using the symbolism of fire (possessing leadership skills), water (possessing relationship skills), earth (possessing good habits and character traits), and wind (possessing creativity and innovation). I tend to use the Myers-Briggs Assessment here, as I am an ENFP (extrovert, intuitive, feeler, perceiver).
Third, you explore your four greatest talents. To help you with this step, Jones advises a person to ask himself two questions: What do people tell me I’m good at? What do I most love to do? In my case, I decided my best talent was making people feel less alone and scared by becoming transparent on paper or online. That means if the publishing industry doesn’t work any more for me, I don’t have to limit myself there.
Finally, you craft a vision statement. I like the way Jones goes about this. She asks you to imagine that you have just won the lottery and don’t need to work for money any more. On Monday morning of that week, she asks, what are you doing? What about on Wednesday at noon? Who are you having lunch which, and where? It’s Friday evening now. What are your plans?
Jones promises that if we keep these four guideposts in mind at all times, we will find satisfaction in our work and fulfill our vocation or calling, that “Jesus, our ultimate Career Counselor, has his door open and is eager for [us] to have life, and to live it abundantly.”


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  • Abby

    I loved this post because I often struggle with the fact that although I’m doing what I’m “good at,” it’s not something that I particularly enjoy or look forward to. I want to be inspired and feel like what I do matters.
    That said, although I agree with the theory of this post, there is a certain realistic element that has to be factored in. I am a single woman with a mortgage and bills. I don’t exactly have the luxury of being that choosy when it comes to a job. Although I may have talent and passion, it doesn’t mean there is a position out there that will pay my bills and fulfill my spirit. I have to be practical and take what I can get. Unfortunately, this reality and dissatisfaction professionally has led to a depression personally.
    While I would love to be working in my “life mission,” I first have to make sure that the life I have is secure financially…if anyone is hiring a sarcastic yet thoughtful writer with a passion for vegetarian food, sports and fitness, introspective thinking and the creativity of the human spirit, let me know 😉

  • Bernie

    Whatever happened to the advice of not reading too many self help books? Although they can be helpful, I look at them as a buffet of advice,choosing only what can be helpful to me and my situation. I am not mocking Laurie Beth Jones. I have one of her books from 2004-Jesus Life Coach. Therese, you have quoted a few books recently. Please don’t make any drastic changes in your life because you connect in some way to one of them. Your on-line articles have touched more people than you will ever know. Quit looking at the numbers that you use to measure your importance. The numbers don’t mean a thing. I am certainly not trying to come across as critical,if it sounds that way I apologize. I am just saying look before you leap. Please don’t overwhelm yourself,take time to stop and smell the roses. My mission is peace and serenity which your site has helped me to maintain. I don’t work not because I won the lottery but because I’m disabled from mental illness. This does not leave me idol. I am involved in many organizations in which I am able to follow my own passions at my pace. I have plans for the week but I keep it flexible, that way when god changes my plan I’m better able to cope with peace and serenity instead of stress.

  • Michael Frye

    Similarly to Abby, I too struggle between my passion and my paycheck. Other people are the factor most generally not included in positive motivational teachings. For example: in high school I played starting center on a championship football team. Half way through my senior year, I injured my knee – not seriously but enough to frighten my mother. My coach went over to talk with my parents one evening when I was out on a date with my now wife of 41 years. The conclusion of the meeting was I could do all the long snaps for punts, field-goals and PATs but I was not to play in the normal series of plays. Most of my team mates received scholarships but not offer came my way. For over twenty years I believed I had been a failure at my position but when my coach told me the story and also mentioned several colleges had approached him about my playing for them but my mother said no, I realized other people play as big a part in our success as we do.
    For several years I sought promotion at my current employment, to no avail. At last I reached out to someone outside the company for assistance. When I asked our HR department if I had been black listed because of some misdeed they assured me I had not been but after I did get a promotion my new lead said yes I had been put on a list. That list was the list of people willing to work, take on the difficult task and the new challenges. My old group was holding me down so I would get their work out.
    Not everyone wants to see you succeed in your dreams – some because they fear for your health, emotions or other noble reason, others because of their own selfishness. If you let it, you can become bitter and defeated. If you rise above it, you can enjoy wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
    Success is not fulfilling your dream. It is learning to be content where life takes you. The apostle understood this and said, “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Philippians 4:11)

  • Katrina

    I don’t have time to write much but this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I purchased the Career Counselor book a few weeks ago because of a call I felt God had put in my life and a lack of passion for my work.
    I have felt God calling me to ministry for years but lately I have heard him say, “This is the time”. But I have struggled so much about letting go of my job.
    I have been weighing pros and cons and gone on retreats and prayed and prayed. I kept hearing God tell me the same take a leap of faith and trust Him. He has books for me to write and ministry to women for me to partake of….more than anything…a new husband to spend more time with. But, I can’t do it while working full-time at this job. I am so exhausted during my time off and I am unable to keep up with just the ordinary every day things of life (after working each day/week). Then, I feel God calling me to the extraordinary. It made me so afraid.
    I have been confiding with a co-worker about this for the last couple months and even just this morning. I told her I was going to speak with my boss today. Right after I walked out of my co-worker’s office, she forwarded an email that she received with a link to this article.
    I am writing to you right after I just finished talking to my boss who told me that she knew it was coming because she could see my passions and knew they had nothing to do with my work here. She was so supportive. She goes to church with me and is a Christian and also believes this is a call from God that I have to answer.
    I have been struggling with this for months. Now I can finally rest in God’s will. God spoke to you to write this. Then He spoke to me through it. His perfect timing.
    Just FYI I am also an ENFP. I am a 42 year old secretary. I could have written this article myself! About the book, “Jesus, Career Couselor”. I started reading it but had issues with the “Earth, Wind, Fire, Water” portion so I stopped reading it. But I will pick it up again and read with discernment simply because I think it’s what God wants me to do.
    Thank you.

  • Sheila

    Recently my husband was hospitalized with what is believed to be bipolar with psychotic features. This spring he had an episode with depression and was put on the antidepressant Lexapro. That seemed to be helping but things changed around of May. His behavior was borderline manic and I thought maybe the medication was the cause so we cut his dosage in half. I thought that was the end of the problem until about two weeks ago. He began having episodes of extreme anger with little or no warning and things escalated to a level I never would have imagined on the morning of June 15. He became violently angry, very irrational and was physically abusive to me. He kept shouting that he was God and that he had to get the devil out of me. After several minutes of this, his brother just happened to stop by and probably saved my life. I had to call our local law enforcement and he was transported to the state hospital. I know that eventually he will be discharged from the hospital. While it seems that the meds he is on now are doing their jobs, I am terrified about him coming back home. We have two boys, ages 5 and 8. I am currently a stay at home mom and my husband farms with his brother. Part of me wants to give him another chance because I know if the meds are working, he will be his sweet gentle self again. The other part of me is scared. I am praying that God will be give a clear answer on what to do. If anyone out there has been in this situation I would welcome your advice.

  • Crystal

    I don’t work partly because my Husband prefers it and mostly because of my mental disability. It is hard to live on one income. My doctors say I would qualify for disability pay but my Husband makes a little bit too much money. It is surprisingly low how much too much money is. I sometimes miss work and would like to do it again especially to help us finacially. I do have a degree in Psychology but I never used it. I made the wrong career choice. While I loved studying about people and their behaviors I figured out too late that this degree wasn’t a good fit for me. Now I have no idea what I would like to do or even if I can do anything. I’m just not sure what I’m good at anymore. Anyway thanks for the article as it gives me something to think about in the way of a career or just a job. Crystal

  • Joaquin

    Bravo Therese. Bravo.

  • San

    I am ab out at the same point you are, Therese, except that I am 69 years old and retired from a 25+ year career as an addiction counselor. I did enjoy the work despite “the system” and its craziness. I decided to retire after the last job that nearly ruined me. Truth is: I came to see that I could not longer continue to do that work in that way because I did not have the energy or time (when I was feeling fairly well) to do it and also do what I prefer/love to do–or what I have felt called to do but could not figure out how to do and still support myself. Truth is I have lacked the self-confidence and/or knowledge of how to pull off a writing career, either in print or online. I now live on Social Security and in public housing, trying to stretch my check over the whole month. I chose that to give me time and energy to pursue what I enjoy and still have the basics. You and others who do what you do have given me hope I may still find an outlet for my creativity and talent, etc. in writing. In the meantime, I have gotten very involved in NAMI and its mission. That is good and gives me purpose, but I know there is more I can do and maybe increase my income so I can do more things I crave to do–and buy some new clothes, etc. The book you mentioned and your suggestions might help me with this.

  • Anne

    Therese, are you sure sure sure that ENFP is your best fit type?
    I would have guessed ENFJ before ENFP. The one letter difference is more significant than it might seem
    ENFP= dominant function is extraverted intuition (with auxilary introverted feeling)
    ENFJ= dominant function is extraverted feeling (with auxilary introverted intuition)
    Extraverted feeling is quite different from introverted feeling—Fe is focused on maintaining harmony in the surrounding social environment (with risk of ignoring one’s own personal needs) while Fi is focused on maintaining a subjective interior harmony (with risk of ignoring needs or conventions of the group).
    Someone with Fe would typically be acutely sensitive to social cues, feedback, affirmations from the surrounding environment compared to
    Someone with extraverted intuition Ie, who would be highly drawn to or distractible by new stimuli, new ideas, new people in the environment.
    Typical struggles of
    ENFPs — trouble focusing, sticking to one thing, seeing goals to completion,
    ENFJs — overworking, trouble balancing desires of the group with personal needs
    Type Dynamics is the name of the theory that goes beyond the 4 letter understanding of Myers Briggs
    If you decide to investigate—There’s lots of type literature available from, more than is available in the library or bookstore
    Consider checking out INFJ also
    BTW, yours is one of my favorite blogs!

  • Mike

    First, i just tell you: PRAISE THE LORD!!!…i know something good will come out of this, if you just dare to believe it.I know you don’y see it now, but will be.God did not intent to disturb your husband’s life or yours, make sure your put that in your heart.Second have the assurance that everything will come to past, DON’T BE AFRAID, God is with you always!!, “that his word”, he does not lie, ever,…i will never leave you or forsake you.
    3er- make sure that you don’t get in the rollercoaster of menthal drugs, it will never end, you have available the best phisician that ever exist: GOD,….and believe and your husband healing, with out doubt, not even a 00.1%, if you ask, it should be given to you, his word, dare to believe it.
    4th_ Use the power in you, use the God in you to healed your husband, anybody that believe will do does thing and even better ( Jesus said )
    5Th- You have the holy spirit in you, use that as your counselor
    6th_ You have the power within you, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, IT IS IN YOU!!!, you are able to cast out demons, you are able to deliever your husband from this illness, talk with the problem, literally talk and order the ilnesses to go away, to leave your husbad head, to depart your hasband brain, don’t doubt, find the faith in yourself, you are a mother, you have it, use it.
    An Angel of God for you

  • john m sandoval

    A Chinese proverb;
    Happiness is a job that you love to do – and a Japanese wife !


    Hi, my life was one of being in the wilderness for a very long time! I was taught about God but never knew that I must have a personal relationship with him. I learned this as part of my wilderness experience. God put a calling on my life to go into ministry, the last someone with my background should be according to the worlds thinking. According to the world I should of been a static in so many ways especially suiside. God has brought through that! I don’t work in a church but every job God allows me to have I count as my mission field. God has always blessed me even in impossible circumstances and I know he always will!! So I can relate to this article JOHN

  • Sir Daniel M.J. Tobin

    Welcome one and all to the blood drive at Westminster Rd. and Msgr. Smith Auditorium, St. Thomas The Apostle West Hempstead, and please contact the rectory for date and time. Please also promote my election to the 4th federal district NY State US Congress, as I have served honorably as Nassau County Executive Committee Chairman to The Constitution Party for years now, and need help to continue prosecuting Foreign War Criminals and their supporting financial Terrorist networks, of Iran, Libya and Syria,The Popular Front for The Liberation of Palestine General Command, and illegal alqaeda sleeper cells and violent illegals within the United States. Respectfully Yours in freedom, dan tobin

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