Is Your Career Your Calling? Reverend and Former Basketball Star Paula McGee Explains the Difference between What You Do and Who You Are Meant to Be. (Peak Performance)

By McGee, Paula | Black Enterprise, February 2003 | Go to article overview

Is Your Career Your Calling? Reverend and Former Basketball Star Paula McGee Explains the Difference between What You Do and Who You Are Meant to Be. (Peak Performance)


McGee, Paula, Black Enterprise


THE REV. PAULA McGEE FIRST CAME TO NATIONAL ATTENTION as a member of the University of Southern California's national championship basketball team. After she and twin sister Pamela led Flint, Michigan's Northern High School to a pair of state championships, they joined a college team anchored by Cheryl Miller to win back-to-back NCAA titles in 1983 and 1984. After college, McGee pursued a professional basketball career that included a tryout with the Harlem Globetrotters, a season with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's American Basketball Association, and five seasons for teams in Italy and Spain, where she learned both Spanish and Italian.

It was a fantastic career, but it was just that--a career. McGee knew that it was not her life's calling. She ended her basketball career to become a preacher and is now an ordained minister, motivational speaker, and life coach who is "inspiring people of all ages to be their best. "A former dean of chapel at Fisk University, she is also president of Paula McGee Ministries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people "to recognize, accept, and fulfill their call to greatness."

Recognizing her calling, McGee says, was key to her realizing the success that transcends job titles and career changes. In this shaky environment of layoffs, salary freezes, and overworked, disillusioned downsizing survivors, finding a sense of purpose and an answer to the question, "What am I doing here?" has become of urgent importance to many professionals. McGee sheds light on why it is important to accept the challenge of discerning--and responding to--your calling.

IN HER OWN WORDS

As children we are bombarded with the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" We are not only expected to answer this question with clarity, we are also encouraged to choose a career. And there are hundreds of books, tapes, and workshops to guide us. Our goal, however, should not be to choose a career, but to choose our calling. If we choose our calling, we will find our career.

Your vocation or calling is your purpose in life--your gift to the world. As the saying goes, "Find a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." People who choose a career, instead of their calling, wake up regretting that they have to go to work; they hate facing another day. But if you find your calling and pursue it, life will become an adventure.

Many of us have been working at our careers for so long that we are numb. We go from appointment to appointment and have overbooked days that are full, yet empty of passion and joy. Days and years go by, and still we find ourselves unfulfilled. We climb the corporate ladder and, after many years of sacrifice and long hours, wonder if it's worth it. Many of us feel empty and live lives void of passion.

* Your passion directs you to your calling. Your passion is the beacon of light, no matter how faint, that will lead you to your calling. The search may take some time. You must be open to accept that God has something just for you--a divine purpose. When you are confident that your life has a purpose, you will be receptive to your calling.

One reason many of us do not know what we are called to do is that we are taught that only a priest or a minister is called. Each of us, however, has a calling. God does not discriminate. We must expand our understanding of being called to reach outside the walls of the church, cathedral, or synagogue. God's invitation is extended to all.

God has something for each of us to do; there is no shortage of work No task or job is too big or too small. We must resist the tendency to put God in one of our boxes and limit the many possibilities. When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come. When we are open, we begin to hear the divine whisper of God leading and directing us or, more specifically, calling us.

When I am working with people, the first question I ask is, "Who are you? …

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