Bryan Dik, Ph.D., is a vocational psychologist, professor of psychology at Colorado State University, and co-founder and Chief Science Officer of jobZology. Bryan studies meaning and purpose in the workplace, calling and vocation in career development, and the intersection of faith and work. He has delivered keynote lectures on four continents, has published four books (including Redeeming Work and Make Your Job a Calling), and hosts the Purposeful Work Podcast.
Tune into my conversation with Bryan to find out how to explore your career calling on the Find Your Passion Career Podcast!
Unlocking a Calling
In college, Bryan found himself with too many interests and no singular driver, and purely by credit count, he ended up in psychology. Unsure where to go once he had graduated, he applied to graduate programs in psychology, and ended up at the University of Minnesota, which was on the cutting edge of research into Vocational Psychology. Finally, after questing for his own calling, Bryan discovered a deeply meta-level connection.
“I kind of was struggling to figure [my calling] out too, and so I looked at what psychologists had to say, and at that time they had said very little about it. I started to put two and two together and realized that maybe part of my calling is actually doing serious research into what it looks like to discern and live out a calling in life.”
That realization lead Bryan directly to the forefront of workplace and career research, and his discoveries there have advanced our understanding of how humans approach work. Perhaps most notably, Bryan’s research suggests that your search for a calling evolves over time.
Connecting Calling and its Chase
“It’s not like looking for keys that you lose in the cushions where you scramble to find it, and once you find it, you’re done because you got it. It’s an ongoing process, it’s almost a lifestyle of always engaging in this question of ‘what’s next for me’.”
In other words, knowing your purpose does stop you from seeking more or a different purpose, and seeking purpose does not necessitate a lack thereof. Discovering and possessing a calling happen simultaneously and drive us forward in our vocations together, not separately.
“We thought that having a calling, or looking for a calling and having a calling, would be negatively related. People who are searching for a calling are searching for one because they don’t have one, and so they’re on this quest to find it and then once they experience it or discover what it is then they’ll stop looking because they’ve got it.”
But Bryan’s research surprised him. His research showed that a career journey is just that, a journey. Even if you find a career that lights you up, you’re still continuing on that journey.
“…having a calling means you’re always looking for ways to enhance it, expand it, increase it, and find new opportunities linked to it.”
After listening to this podcast episode, think back to a moment you may have deemed as a failure and write down what you could learn from that experience. You probably didn’t do that at the time, so take the time now to get intentional, and pause throughout this week to think about what matters to you—leaving out the job title—focusing on your calling.
To hear more of Bryan’s story and the secrets of vocational calling, download my podcast interview with Bryan here on iTunes!