Your Best You: Uncover Calling

Life Younique founder Will Mancini asks this question: 

Do you see your mission in life as something created, designed, and given by God? We are called not just to follow Jesus (a common call to all people) but we are called to accomplish something specific as a one-of-a-kind saint (your special assignment from God).

Is there a process of discovering and living out your unique life call?


Askinosie Chocolate is a small-batch, award winning chocolate company widely considered to be a vanguard in the industry. Known for sourcing 100% of his cocoa beans directly from farmers across the globe, Shawn Askinosie has pioneered direct trade and profit sharing in the craft chocolate industry with farmers in Tanzania, Ecuador, and the Philippines. In addition to developing relationships with smallholder farmers, the company also partners with schools in their origin communities to provide lunch to 1,600 children every day with no outside donations.

Twenty-five years ago, Shawn Askinosie was a successful criminal defense lawyer trying his first murder death penalty case that would later go on to become a Dateline special. For many years he found law satisfying, but after several high profile trials he reached a breaking point and found solace in the search for a new career.

In this inspiring guide to discovering a vocation that feeds your heart and soul, Askinosie describes his quest to discover more meaningful work – a search that led him to volunteering in the palliative care wing of a hospital, to a Trappist monastery where he became inspired by the monks focus on “being” rather than “doing,” and eventually traipsing through jungles across the globe in search of excellent cocoa bean farmers to make award winning chocolate.

Askinosie shares his hard-won insights into doing work that reflects one’s values and purpose in life. He shares with readers visioning tools that can be used in any industry or field to create a work life that is inspired and fulfilling. Askinosie shows us that everyone has the capacity to find meaning in his or her work and be a positive force for good in the world.


Assuming a normal lifespan and typical work patterns, individuals will spend over 80,000 hours of their lifetime at work. That’s a significant portion of our adult lives, especially between the ages of 20 and 65 or 70.

Does your work fulfill you? Is it enjoyable?

The quote attributed to Mark Twain is appropriate here: “Find something you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Your reason for being is certainly developed in your personal life, but it’s possible to create it with your work life, and in doing so, serve others.

We all need a reason to live, a reason to wake up in the morning. This reason can be cultivated in your personal life. But it’s also entirely possible to create it with your work life. In fact, it’s not only possible, it’s essential.

Vocation, as I define it, is the reason you do what you do. The impact of vocation reverberates throughout your life, both internally and externally, your business, your community, and the world by allowing you to realize your true self and by meeting and serving the needs of others.

Steps to Uncover Your Personal Vocation

Step 1 – Don’t try to find it by endless research.

Step 2 – Inventory your talents, your passion, and what the world needs.

Step 3 – Begin with your sorrow.

Step 4 – Serve selflessly.

Step 5 – Expect nothing in return.

Step 6 – Discover the internal space where you can ponder your next steps with clarity.

Shawn Askinosie, Meaningful Work


Author Shawn Askinosie has provided several exercises to help move through the six steps listed above. Here is a partial list:

  1. Reflection – a step 1 exercise

Have you ever experienced a moment that defined your next move, either at work or in your personal life? Write the moment down, and reflect on these questions: Where were you and who was with you? Describe your feelings.

  1. Writing “Prouds” – a step 2 exercise

Get a pen and one sheet of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Write a list of the “prouds” – the things you’re proud of that you’ve accomplished. Don’t stop writing for the entire 15 minutes. Include not only professional accomplishments, but also family, friends, hobbies – all of your life.

  1. Uncovering Your Sorrows – a step 3 exercise

Discover your joys by first looking at your sorrows. On a piece of paper, write “My great sorrow is” and fill in the blank. With short phrases, repeat again and again until you have emptied yourself of painful memories.

  1. Joy Meditation – a step 4 exercise

Believing that on the other side of sorrow is joy, voice this prayer: “From the depths of sorrow please reveal a place where I might serve someone who needs me.” You are doing this with the intention that a place of service or someone who needs you will rise up to the surface.

  1. Opening Your Heart – a step 5 exercise

In order to live, you must let go of yourself. Service to others can be the true bridge to your vocation. Where can you serve others without any expectation of benefits or advantages for your service?

  1. Seeing Through the Fog – a step 6 exercise

When you immerse yourself in serving others wholeheartedly you find yourself, along with many answers to the “what next” questions you’ve been seeking. As you serve others and listen, look for the space to find true clarity.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 106-2, released November 2018.


This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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