Mapping Your God-given Design
- 2010 4 Mar
Are you ready to make a job or career change? If so, you need a good map! On a road trip in unfamiliar places, you appreciate the value of a good map. A map enables you to determine where you are, the location and distance of your destination and the best route for getting there. An accurate map also gives you a sense of confidence when making decisions during the journey. As a career changer or job seeker, you are also on a journey. A good map of your God-given design-your Life Calling MapTM -- can make all the difference in the success of your experience.
You already have a "mental map" of how you see yourself and your design. Your mental map includes your beliefs about what you can do (and can't do), what interests you and what is important to you. In more than twenty years of working with people and their career issues, we have found that many people do not have an accurate or detailed enough map to help them find work that fits their design. Here are some common problems:
- Lots of data but little usable information about your design. Many people have a large file folder (sometimes several inches thick) of self-assessment tests they have taken, but still have little idea what is special about their design or what type of work would be a good fit. Usually, it is because they don't have a comprehensive enough picture of their design, don't have high quality information (all career tests are NOT equally valid or useful), or don't know how to apply the information they have gathered.
- A general "mental map" of your design with insufficient details. "I know myself-I like to help people!" or "I know what I'm looking for-something where I can be creative." While people who make these types of statements have begun thinking about their design, they need many more specific details of who God has created them to be. There are hundreds of types of jobs in which a person could "help people" or "be creative"! The more precise and customized your map, the more beneficial it will be to you in finding the work God created you to do.
- A map that doesn't recognize your most important abilities and qualities. Most of us have a mental map with at least some degree of inaccuracy. We have found, for example, that many people undervalue their most significant skills and abilities. When something comes easily to you, you may reason that "anyone can do this," which is usually not true at all. It often takes someone else giving an objective perspective to help you see the value of your design.
- A map constructed from other people's opinions. In developing an accurate map of your God-given design, you may also have to confront the "committee in your head," which is made up of those voices you've internalized from parents and other influential people in your past. If you are fortunate, you have some positive, supportive voices; but you may also have internal messages that cause you to doubt your worth and potential. Objective information and accurate feedback from people you trust can help you create a map that will support-not hinder-you in discovering and living your calling.
If you are like most people, your "mental map" is primarily constructed from your life experiences and feedback from others. While these are important in creating your map, many people make inaccurate determinations about their skills, abilities and interests because of limited exposure, negative experiences, inadequate training, or their own fears and insecurities. Is it time to take a fresh look at your God-given design?
Using Assessments to Create an Accurate Map of Your Design
As career counselors/coaches, we have seen first-hand how an inaccurate map of a person's design makes it very difficult-or even impossible-to find the work God had created him or her to do. We also recognized that there were many key "puzzle pieces" that need to be identified to create a full understanding of one's design. And, we saw the power of assessment tools to expedite the process and provide accurate information about the essential elements of a person's God-given design.
We wanted to create a system to help people develop a comprehensive and usable picture of their design. This led to our developing the Life Calling MapTM, which is both an assessment system and a format for recording information about your God-given design so that you have an in-depth portrait of who God has created you to be that is very helpful in every stage of career planning.
Developing a thorough understanding of your design requires using a variety of assessment tools to look at puzzle pieces such as your most-enjoyed transferable skills, core work values, compelling interests, personality type, preferred roles and spiritual gifts. Your design is too complex to be assessed by only one test, inventory, or exercise. Completing good assessments in these areas-and gaining a thorough understanding of what your results mean-will help you develop an increased awareness of how the dimensions of your design fit together, and how your intrinsic God-given design can be used in the world. In addition, it's important to think through what you need in a working environment to do your best work. The factors to be assessed for your "Ideal Working Environment" include the mission of the organization, types of people you want to serve, qualities you need in a boss, working conditions, geographic location and salary.
Assessments can assist you in developing an accurate mental map of your God-given design. They can help you fill in formerly blank areas (such as your ten most-enjoyed skills), clear up confusing or conflicting information, and bring previously unclear areas into focus. A good assessment process lays the foundation for determining which career or job would fit you best. Assess-don't guess-who God has created you to be. God calls you to be a good steward of your talents, but before you can invest them, you need to know what gifts and abilities He has chosen specifically for you to use in this world.
March 8, 2010
Excerpts from Live Your Calling (2005) by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck. Used by permission of Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint.
If you would like professional assistance with assessing your God-given design and creating your own Life Calling Map, you are invited to schedule a free consultation session. We would consider it a privilege to help you discover who God has created you to be and what He has designed you to do!