Why look for our calling?

Posted on December 12, 2009


It has been a while since my last post, and I’m wondering why motivation and creativity keep avoiding me, dodging and running when I start thinking about posting.  I do feel some post-Nano blues.  Writing that sucker was almost like having a baby, now, having no reason to skip TV (and no excuse to avoid washing dishes) I feel a bit adrift.  But, what I’m really wondering is . . . what about Tiger???

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Ok, before you groan and surf away, hear me out.  I’m not interested in drawing and quartering the guy, and the arguments about his private life and his morals and our morals and advertisers morals have all been pounded to death elsewhere.  The reason Tiger’s dilemma troubles me is this: here is a guy who is the best golfer in the world, who has changed the way golf is perceived by so many people, who is doing what he loves to do with his God-given talent and doing it incredibly well.  By all (external) measures he has found his calling, he is pursuing his calling, he is a blazing hot star in his calling.

Soooooooo, little Idealist me, pre-hullabaloo, the Idealist who believes that finding one’s calling is the PINNACLE of existence, that knowing and pursuing one’s calling is all you need to be happy, I thought THAT guy had found his calling.  Ergo, he must be happy.  Supremely, insanely, intensely happy.  And then he goes and mucks up his life and his wife’s life and his kids’ life and probably some of those women’s lives.  And even if there was a degree of satisfaction in all the conquest, that most infamous voicemail message suggests that Tiger the Great was feeling some anxiety, some nervousness, some unease with his life.  Not insanely happy.

And Tiger’s unhappiness makes me unhappy.  Because if Tiger the Great, who found his calling, is not supremely happy, then . . .  what’s the point of finding one’s calling?

I have some ideas on the importance of finding a calling:

  1. Spiritual/moral: Pursuing your calling is your duty, is the way you steward your divine talents and your gifts.  Because you have been given these gifts by God, you please God and fulfill your spirit by finding, developing and pursuing your calling.  (Sounds rather like a chore, doesn’t it?)
  2. Economic: By pursuing your calling, you maximize your contribution to the marketplace, thereby increasing the overall value of the economy.  But most people, myself included, could care less about the overall economy – unless it’s paying me big bucks.  And I don’t think the point of following your calling is about making the big bucks.
  3. Personal: Following your calling is fun, delightful, fulfilling.  This is the reason that most appeals to me.  And this is the one that is most weakened by Tiger-Gate.

But maybe, just maybe, the reason Tiger got into trouble is that he didn’t treat his personal life with the care, the joy and the authenticity that he handled his professional life.  I do think you can have more than one calling and that you can act with the same passion, vulnerability, intensity and drive as a husband, wife, mother, father, daughter, sister, son, brother, or friend as you can as a golfer, writer, tiger-tamer, doctor or plumber.  I think Tiger’s focus showed clearly in his playing – when he was happy and focused, he was unstoppable, when he was distracted and stressed, his shots resembled a weekend duffer’s.

Sooooo, my lessons from this whole fiasco:

  1. Treat your personal life as a vocation, with the same intensity, love, passion and authenticity as your professional life.
  2. If you’re not already, treat your professional life with intensity, love, passion and authenticity.
  3. You can have more than one calling.
  4. Success in finding and pursuing one calling in your life does not (gulp) guarantee happiness (but the process can help you find satisfaction).

Not sure this wraps things up for me.  I still feel bad for Tiger and his family – and disappointed.  I’m kind of pissed that he toppled my idealistic views about discovering my One True Vocation.  But I do still believe that finding my calling is worthwhile, just a little more fuzzy on the connection to ultimate bliss.  How about you?  I’d love to read YOUR thoughts on the importance of finding a calling.  Please share in the comments!

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