Nov. 16, 2021

Motivational Design and Personal Vocation (with Dr Joshua Miller PhD): Part 3


EPISODE 35     

What is Motivational Design and how does it give us clues to the unique way we are called to live, work, love and serve?

This is the last of three episodes featuring an interview with Dr. Joshua Miller (PhD), Founder of INSCAPE Personal Vocation Centre and co-author of Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person

In Part 3,  Dr Miller and I talk about how living in alignment with our motivational design and Personal Vocation helps us not only live with greater joy and fulfilment but also allows us to pour ourselves out more fully in service of others and become more willing to bear difficulties and pain with greater love. 

We also address the questions of whether it is ever too late in life to begin discerning personal vocation, what the most common obstacle to discerning personal vocation is, and what if we struggle to believe that our stories matter or that we even have any significant gifts to offer to the world.

Guest Profile, Transcript and Chapter Markers at this episode page.

RESOURCE
Joshua Miller, Luke Burgis, "Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person"
The Motivation Code™
MCODE™ Coaching with Ann Yeong

CHAPTER MARKERS 
03:04 How Alignment with Motivational Design Impacts the Living of Priestly Vocation
07:31 The Need for A Culture of Personal Vocation
09:11 Alignment with Our Motivational Design Helps Us Love Better
15:30 Personal Vocation Helps Us Meet Challenges More Fully
21:23 Is it Ever Too Late to Discern Personal Vocation?
27:32 A Common Obstacle to Discerning Personal Vocation
30:49 Message to Those Who Think Their Gifts Aren't Significant
36:37 Praxis: Listen. Ponder. Act.

REFLECTION PROMPT
For this episode's reflection prompt, please see transcript.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Other episodes that would help you understand and apply the lessons in this episode:
- Ep 6 Listening to Your Life Speak
- Ep 18 You Don't Have To Care About Everything
- Ep 32 Your Unique Design for Thriving

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Transcript

EPISODE 35 | MOTIVATION DESIGN AND PERSONAL VOCATION (WITH DR. JOSHUA MILLER PHD): PART 3

What if you could live with greater joy and grow more readily in selfless, loving service at the same time? 

[00:00:13]
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me. 

[00:00:47] INTRODUCTION
Hello again, dear listeners! Welcome to the third and final episode in the series on Motivational Design and Personal Vocation with Dr. Joshua Miller, co-author of the book Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person. If you haven't yet listened to parts one and two, I suggest that you do that before listening to this episode. 

[00:01:12]
In part one of this series, we talked about what motivational design is and gave, you know, kind of like an overarching introduction of personal vocation. And in part two, we discussed why alignment with our motivational design and personal vocation is so important in order for us to live fulfilling and authentic lives of service.

[00:01:33]
We also talked a little bit about why some of us struggle to accept our pattern of motivation and giftedness and why helping each individual discover their unique call, their unique pattern of motivation, and helping them to align their life and their work to that, is actually going to bless the larger community. 

[00:01:53]
In today's episode, Dr. Miller and I talk about how living in alignment with our motivational design and personal vocation helps us not only live with greater joy and fulfilment, but actually helps us to pour ourselves out even more fully in service of others. And how that actually helps us to become more willing to bear difficulties and pain with greater love.

[00:02:20]
We also address the questions of whether it is ever too late in life to begin discerning personal vocation, what the most common obstacle to discerning personal vocation is, and what if we struggle to believe that our stories matter, or that we even have any significant gifts to offer to the world. So, this is a really rich episode today.

[00:02:44]
I really hope that you will take your time to savour what you will hear and that you will enjoy this as much as I enjoyed having this conversation with Dr. Miller, and listening to it again, as I was preparing this episode for you. 

[00:03:04] HOW MOTIVATIONAL DESIGN IMPACTS THE LIVING OF PRIESTLY VOCATION
Ann:
So, I'm curious because you also mentioned, I think, it's so true that without this understanding of personal vocation, we can get very bogged down with the ideal way that we think of certain roles – so like, you know, of husband, wife, or even being religious and priest. And I suppose you do your work too with religious and seminarians and diocesan priests?

Dr. Miller: Oh, indeed. 

[00:03:30]
Ann: Could you share something of, you know, what changed for them when they learn more about, let's say, their unique motivational design.  

Dr. Miller: Yes. Yes. I was just involved with a pilot program – coaching priests for a diocese in the Eastern part of the United States. And the Bishop asked 12 priests to enter into about a five-month period of coaching. 

[00:03:58]
And what he wanted us to pay attention to with the priests as we were coaching them – I had six coachees, six priests, and their colleague, and another six, and the vicar general – was to help the priest answer this question: God, why did You call me to be a priest? What's the connection between how You designed me and my priesthood? 

[00:04:19]
And many of them have not explored that connection. They had, of course explored the call of priesthood, the sacramental service, the focus upon prayer, and just other dimensions of diocesan and priesthood that they were drawn to, but they'd never fully explored the connection between how God uniquely designed them and how that informs and orients their priesthood.

[00:04:54]
And so, it was a wonderful, wonderful experience of priests coming up with action plans so they could live out their priesthood in a way that was authentic to them. And several stories – one of them is just delightful. One of them – all of the stories had to do with relationship building and collaborating and just the ministry of presence. 

[00:05:21]
Well, he's a pastor of a parish bogged down with email communication, bogged down with administrative stuff. And the action plans that we created were so simple, but so effective, and he just filled with enthusiasm. So, for example, a deacon and the deacon's wife was available to do administrative work around marriages and other sacraments, you know, the reporting to the chancery's office.

[00:05:50]
He, for the first time, put an email message, which set up "I'm not available". And he said, the thing that I most love to do is visit my people in their homes. So, we came up with very explicit action steps so this dear priest, who knew that he was a relationship builder – he knew he was collaborative, he knew he wanted to be in a place of building up the other relationship. 

[00:06:17]
All kinds of very rich action plans to make that happen. And he was just full of delight. That's one story among many, where the priest was able to name specifically his pattern of unique gifts and motivations, and then help that inform his priesthood.

[00:06:33]
So, the pilot program was a success – Thank God. And right now, they move very quickly to a second program of also coaching more priests. And one of them is taking this down into his whole parish. So, one final thing, and that's oftentimes the priest believes that he needs to do all things.

[00:06:58]
And the co-responsibility with a lay person is sometimes strained. So, part of the fruit has been building leadership teams, whereby the priests can live into their own unique, personal vocation, which includes the priesthood and then bring alongside other people who can complement who they are and what they have to bring. So, that's a – very, very pleased with that particular fruit of personal vocation coaching and formation. 

[00:07:31] THE NEED FOR A CULTURE OF PERSONAL VOCATION
Ann: Yeah. And it sounds like, I mean, I'm just listening to it – we're just hearing now, you know. It's like a simple story, but it must have required quite a lot of time and work to build to that point where – because it sounds like it's not just an individual thing, but you need enough people within the system, as well within the organization to appreciate this, for it to be able to really happen. 

[00:07:57]
Dr. Miller: Of course. Sure. 

Ann: So, for example, I suppose it was a bishop in this case who asked, who wanted this program, this pilot program, right? So, I guess in any kind of organization, I suppose you need your superior to understand that. If not, sometimes it's been harder if I get to understand my design and I do have that desire to lean into that design. 

[00:08:20]
But what if my boss doesn't appreciate that and doesn't have that same view, right? 

Dr. Miller: Yes. Culture building. We need to have the leaders of an organization really embrace the value, the teaching of personal vocation and to embody that. So, at Franciscan University, we started a conversation about that, where there's a whole strategic move at Franciscan to really make the school be a place where each student is the way of the school. Where there's a culture of attentiveness to each one, and what they bring in the community.

[00:08:58]
And so, we're doing work with leaders at the university – myself and several other people – around coaching them as well. 

[00:09:11] LIVING IN ALIGNMENT WITH OUR MOTIVATION & PERSONAL VOCATION HELPS US LOVE BETTER
Ann: Okay, I'm going to ask you a question that I think is very key for more – well, maybe more Catholics – more fellow Catholics to become more open to personal vocation. We’ve answered it partly earlier because I said, one of the objections I hear is: isn't it very self-indulgent or you know, a little self-absorbed to be trying to figure out what gives me life? Because that's often – that's one of the things we talk about, right? What is it that fulfils you? 

[00:09:45]
Then there's the other element that I think people often get confused. You see, well, Christianity is, you know, about dying to self, about taking up the cross, you know – sacrificial love. How can we reconcile this, you know, very fundamental teaching, or what you understand about Christianity and being a disciple of Christ with personal vocation?  

Dr. Miller: It's a great question. 

[00:10:12]
I'll answer it this way. First, I think is to make a distinction between pleasure seeking and authentic fulfilment seeking. And a typical theme in a lot of stories of fulfilment have to do with shouldering up a challenge or a difficulty connected with a fulfilment itself. So, that's one answer. 

[00:10:40]
So, one answer is that when we really talk about the stories that give people a sense of being alive, there's often a challenge involved, right? I felt called to get a master’s degree and a PhD as a married man with three kids. And I can tell you that there were many, many days of labouring at the desk and saying, Lord, I offer to You this bone wearing experience of not being able to understand, and yet I longed to understand.

[00:11:09]
And so, in one sense, I was – my whole self was present there because I am motivated to comprehend and express. I love that. But yet... So, I brought myself into the cross of trying to write a dissertation. And frankly, there was a lot of moments where I was just offering up great difficulty on behalf of people that I love. 

[00:11:34]
It's put me in a position where I can, you know, take the education and use it as service. And so, yes, it's personally fulfilling but in a way that drew out challenge significantly. The other thing, and this was recently brought my – more and more of my attention. I was working with a group of sisters, the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word in Birmingham, Alabama.

[00:11:58]
And one of the sisters pointed out that oftentimes the fulfilment that we're after doesn’t happen right away. And so, we can enter into something that is a good fit for our gifts, or how do I want to put this? – Sometimes it's the nature of personal vocation that the fulfilment is a bit further down the road.

[00:12:32]
And I'll give an example. So, Gerard Manley Hopkins who spoke about Inscape. So, Inscape is named after his idea of drawing out the unique essence of a thing. He became a Jesuit priest. He didn't write poetry for seven years, and then he was asked by superior to write a poem about the Wreck of the Deutschland. 

[00:12:57]
He went on to write wonderful poetry as a priest. But he subordinated that sometimes to sacramental service, but on the other hand, the sacramental service that he gave informed his poetry very significantly. So, 28 years after he died, a book of poetry was produced with 750 copies. It didn't sell very well. 

[00:13:24]
His literary executive, Robert Bridges produced it. A couple of years later, Bridges produced another book of his poetry, and it finally took off. And so, it's a story of where you had a person who's profoundly gifted to write poetry. And he did so, but he did so alongside of some other aspects of his vocation that were tedious for him, but he drew upon that tediousness to write some of the best poetry in English language. 

[00:13:51]
And in one sense, the fulfilment of that particular gift wasn't immediate, right. It took time for people to see the glory of his poetry. And I think when we think about our personal vocations in the context of, it actually might not be fulfilling in a way that we're immediately inclined to, in the here and the now. 

[00:14:12]
But if we're using our gifts for God's glory, He's going to have those gifts bear fruit. That's a long-winded answer, Ann – to your question. But is that sufficient? 

Ann: Yes, yes. When you were talking, I have this image of – it's like in this life, we see dimly, as if in a mirror, right?

Dr. Miller: Yes, that's right.

Ann: And we, we catch glimpses. 

[00:14:44]
And I think when we talk about achievement stories, I mean, when we – those moments where we feel like I was made to do this. I mean, those moments, unfortunately, never last. I mean, they're wonderful at that time. And then, you know, the same day, or maybe if it's an hour later, you could be in a very different place, you know, with how you're feeling.

[00:15:02]
So, but those moments of light and life, I think they keep us going, right? 

Dr. Miller: They do. They keep us going.

Ann: They give us – it's also is what gives us hope. And it helps us remember, at least for me, it helps me remember that I’m not an accident. I'm not an accident, I'm not a mistake. God created me for some purpose and this idea that –

[00:15:30] PERSONAL VOCATION HELPS US MEET CHALLENGES MORE FULLY
So, for me, one of the ways that I've come to try and reconcile the very question I asked you – is that there will always be suffering. There will always be challenges. 

[00:15:41]
Are we taking up the right ones? Are we taking up the ones that are meant for us as part of our story? And when we align our, I think our lives, with the gifts that God has given, the motivations that He has given. My experience is that I can actually go further in sacrifice.

[00:16:07]
I mean, if I'm doing – like the example that you gave – when you were pursuing your MA and your PhD, right? With all the difficulties and challenges that entailed. If you weren't also experiencing fulfilment in learning and understanding and comprehending, for example, you probably may not have lasted, right?

Dr. Miller: That's true. That's absolutely true.

[00:16:25]
Ann: I mean, that was a chore for you, you know? So, the fulfilment that comes with the gift that God gives us, I think actually equips us to carry the crosses that are meant for us. 

Dr. Miller: That's very well said.

Ann: Yeah. So, I've seen this whole discernment of personal vocation and getting to know our, you know, ourselves as a wonderful way of finding our place really where we can give God the greatest glory, I mean, through our lives. But also, where we can most closely imitate Him in laying our lives down. Because then, we would do so with love, not just out of obligation, not because we feel we have to, but our heart's in it.

[00:17:07]
Dr. Miller: I love that. No, it's so true. It's true. There's this sweetness of the cross when we're pouring ourselves into it. I mean, there's some crosses, they're just passive, like sickness, for example, which we all suffer, and we just have to offer that up. But this cross, the daily cross – you know, when we're relatively healthy – of doing work that we're gifted at.

[00:17:33]
There will always be inherent challenges there, but we meet them fully. And I think we pour ourselves out more fully. So, at the end of the day, we feel like we're holding nothing back in the offering. And that's how I felt with the dissertation and other work where my whole being is engaged in thinking and speaking and interacting with folks.

[00:18:00] 
Like this two-day workshop that I mentioned with all the faculty and staff of the high school, the other day. Profoundly engaging, but also exhausting and clearly an experience of, you know, having to be on for eight hours a day – and that's challenging – and then go for dinner afterwards and have to be on there. 

[00:18:22]
And so, being present constantly was certainly a carrying of the cross, but it was also very, very engaging and I hope a blessing to those that were there. 

Ann: Yes, that's excellent, I think, illustration of that. I mean, I share something similar too. I mean, the work that I'm doing with the podcast, or even the other work – cause there's a lot of digital work and I have to learn a lot of things from scratch because I'm doing everything myself at this point, right. 

[00:18:51]
And a lot of this is chore for me, actually. I don't enjoy.  But there are also aspects of that align with my motivational design. And I lean into that. I lean into the energy and the life that I receive. So, for example, you know, picking up all these things or learning some of the tech and the tediousness of let's, say building a website and landing pages, and all that – I don't enjoy. But I do enjoy learning new things and demonstrating new skills.

Dr. Miller: I know you do!

Ann: Yeah!

[00:19:24]
So, I just need, I just have to, you know, do things in a way that let me have that experience of, you know – I'm doing something with it. So, you know, I learned something, and I have to do something small to test it out and then I can use it. And I kind of like, oh, I get that hit of energy. You know, the fun. 

[00:19:42]
Yeah, that this is, this is why I can do this. You know, I mean, the grind is not just for the sake of the grind. It’s for a larger purpose and learning to lean into my motivation. Thank you so much. I mean, that's what, in terms of MCODE™, that's where it has really helped me learning, understanding my motivational drives and yeah – leaning into that, especially during the hard times.  

[00:20:02]
Dr. Miller: Sure, yeah. I hear you. It's helping you to keep going. You know, all the technical stuff you have to learn, you get that great experience. Oh, I can do this and do it well – delightful! 

Ann: Yeah. And then when I see the impact that it makes, right – when I see that it all comes together so that I can deliver a quality service or a product, and it's making an impact on people's lives.

[00:20:26]
And it makes me feel like, oh, see, it's worth it! Because that's what I want to do. All of this was leading towards, you know, helping me share, you know, and letting people learn and seeing that it benefits them. Yeah. So, okay. Let's just do a couple more, cover a couple more questions and then we'll be done for this session because I know. I'm also looking at the clock.

[00:20:46]
Ann: We could just go on and on with this forever. 

Dr. Miller: Yes. I always loved talking to you and Henry and the conversation goes quickly on. 

Ann: Yeah, well, I mean, let's hope that, you know, God willing, there'll be other opportunities down the line for more of these things. 

Dr. Miller: I do hope so.

Ann: Because it aligns – because it's both our mission too.

[00:21:06]
I mean, we share in this. So, see, that's a great example there. We experience fulfilment and we're also pouring out and it's also a service. 

Dr. Miller: I remember taking notes as I was training you and Henry, because I was learning so much from the both of you.

[00:21:23] IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO DISCERN PERSONAL VOCATION?
Ann: Has anyone ever asked you, like Josh, I am, you know – I'm not a young person. I'm not a young adult anymore. Is it ever too late to begin to discern my personal vocation? 

Dr. Miller: No, no, no. No. Not at all. I think there comes a time – well, in the States, I don't know how this is in Singapore, but the baby boomers, the post-war generation, they’re still retiring now. 

[00:21:55] 
Although less and less, but there's a group of people who have retired at the age of, let's say 60, 65. And for many of them, that can be an awakening to how to spend the last part of one's life very, very fruitfully. And I'm working with people who do coaching for retirees – focused on using those years for great service. 

[00:22:28]
So, I mentioned that just as a, almost like a sociological reflection – that there's a movement towards not just blowing one's retirement at the golf course or in pleasure seeking, but in real service. So,  a book by Bob Buford called Halftime, is another one about, you know, the third part of one's journey. 

[00:22:53]
But it's never too late to take seriously the application of one's gifts in new ways, at all. And most of my coaching has been with younger folks. But I've coached several too, who are in a place of career transition. And there, often the challenge is leveraging the established competencies that the person has with motivational energy that takes those competencies in a new area. 

[00:23:28]
So, for example, a story of working with a doctor who did not want to do medicine anymore, but had developed that competency, but loved writing. And so, the solution for him was actually to participate in a medical journal, you know, as an editor, where he needed to know some of the technical content to be a good editor. But it got him away from the practice of medicine and into a place where he could use his gifts of creativity and writing.

[00:23:58]
So, that would be one example of a kind of shift in a way that was life-giving for him and also a great service to the community. But the short answer is no, it's never too late. And there are a lot of examples of people who come alive into their personal vocation after kind of ignoring aspects of it for years.

[00:24:19]
Ann: And I would add to that, that those who may become aware of this later on in life – the benefit that they have over the younger folks would be that they have a lot more life experience. And you know, I find that sometimes it's easier for them to identify stories just because they've lived more, they have done more. 

[00:24:39]
Sometimes when people are still young, they have some of these stories. But you know, as with all data collection – I mean, the more data you have and you kind of have more confidence in what it is you see. And so, yeah.  

Dr. Miller: That's true. I've had the same experience. And oftentimes a young person doesn't understand the implications of making a bad decision or the implications of their stories.

Ann: Yes. 

[00:25:02]
Dr. Miller: But the older person usually does, particularly if they've made a decision that hasn't worked out well, and they've suffered from that.  

Ann: Yes.

Dr. Miller: And now they don't want to make the same decision again. 

Ann: Yes, yes. Yeah, because they've experienced exactly what was at stake, right? And they learned from that experience.

Dr. Miller: Oh, yes! 

[00:25:21]
So now, they're even more motivated. Because I guess if you introduce this to, let's say college-aged students, more of them would be interested, but more as a concept still. They haven't maybe really experienced, you know, how real this can be until you, you know – you've been bitten – I speak from my own experience.

[00:25:42]
I always thought it was a wonderful concept. I wanted to – I always wanted to know what my personal vocation was, or what my mission was. But I think living my way into it and discovered what was mine and what isn't. And sometimes it isn't until much later that I can look back and understand why something wasn't for me. That's what I find. 

[00:26:03]
So, I think both you and I, we have comprehend and express, and I think we mentioned this before, but I didn't finish my doctoral studies. I don't know whether partly it was because it was maybe the program wasn't really the right fit for me. But also, because I think part of my design, or the way that I express this uniquely would be I have a lot of broad interests. I love to see how things connect one with the other. 

[00:26:27]
Dr. Miller: This authentic gifts that you have.

Ann: Yeah. So, it's not so much to go into just one area deep. I like to see how they all connect. So, in the sense I'm picking up different tools from different places and then learning, seeing how they all build on one another and how this becomes a web rather than, you know, going as an academic, I guess, usually would be a lot more narrow, deeper into an area of specialization. 

[00:26:55]
So, but I only realize that much later. And then I was at peace with not finishing my PhD. You know, I didn't feel as much like a failure, even though I had already decided to leave. But now I understand that's just not the way God made me. Yeah. 

Dr. Miller: And He will use good from that experience. 

Ann: Oh yes, absolutely. 

[00:27:13]
Dr. Miller: Oh, He'll draw good from that. 

Ann: And I actually spent a lot of my time when I was doing my PhD, helping my friends, asking them questions to help them clarify their thesis, actually. So, you can see, I like asking questions.

Dr. Miller: And coaching. 

Ann: Yes. I enjoy asking hard questions.

[00:27:32] IS THERE A COMMON OBSTACLE TO DISCERNING PERSONAL VOCATION?
So, is there a common obstacle that prevents people from really making progress in discerning their personal vocation?

[00:27:41]
Dr. Miller: I think fear is a huge factor. And fear and a lack of trust that God will direct and lead them to a flourishing for themselves and for the communities that they're a part of. I think that that's a major factor. So, as soon as we live into God's grace and trust that He's going to take care of it, and He really wants our best then it's easier for us to live into the cultivation of our unique gifts and to pay attention to where those are supposed to be applied on a daily basis.

[00:28:29]
So, there's no responsive personal vocation that is a kind of pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Recognize the sort of internal trajectory, look around for needs and try to apply them.

[00:28:41]
We really have got to be open to the Lord's leading and trust that and not be afraid to take the leap. 

Ann: Oh, I love that! Because I think that paints so beautifully the whole reason why personal vocation, in the way we're talking about it, cannot exist outside of an intimate relationship with Christ. 

[00:29:06]
Because the more we get to know Him, then usually the more we can trust Him, and you know, the more we're willing to take risks into the unknown. And it's often in taking those risks out of our love and our trust in Christ that we live our way into that personal vocation that we are seeking, that you know, that we're trying to understand, right.

[00:29:28]
It's so – it's a wonderful blend and mix of our agency, but really is a response to grace. I think you would agree with that. It's often a dance and it's a response to grace. So, I love that. Fear and of course, perfect love, casts out fear, right? 

Dr. Miller: It does. 

Ann: So, the more we receive and encounter love, the more we are able to discover our unique calling in life. 

[00:29:53]
Dr. Miller: And when we do that, we actually – I think more keenly express our unique patterns of gifts because, you know, grace is given according to the mode of the receiver as the scholastics say. But when our hearts are open and we're in action, then we're giving Him as much as we possibly can rather than the crimped fear that holds back and is narrow.

[00:30:22]
So, we open ourselves and trust, He fills us. And then when we act, we're acting in a way that is more fully who we are. And frankly, probably more delightful, more joy filled.

Ann: Yes, and that's exactly why it's fear that holds us back from being our authentic selves a lot of time, because we're afraid of being rejected. We're afraid of being judged, that we're not going to fit in maybe where we are. Oh, I love that.  

[00:30:49] MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO THINK THEIR GIFTS AREN'T SIGNIFICANT
Okay. So, the last question I have is really an invitation for you to speak directly to the listener who may be listening to all this and thinking, you know, as Henry used to think: but I don't think I have any gifts, you know? Or there's always someone who could be struggling at this point in time to believe that their stories really matter. 

[00:31:13]
They could look at someone else and think, well, you know, well, you're a very gifted and I can see why, you know, your story would matter, and you would make a contribution. But I don't think my story matter. And maybe I don't think that I'm good enough to have a unique calling. Maybe I'm not talented enough or intelligent enough. What would you say to this person?

[00:31:34]
Dr. Miller: Well, in the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, he says after the incarnation, nothing is trivial. So, Christ came was silent and hidden doing mundane tasks for 30 years, before His ministry. And I think what we have to recognize is that God truly desires us to flourish in whatever time and space that we're in.

[00:32:04]
And that can be very mundane and common. But if we pay close attention to what we're really drawn to, sometimes we think, well, you know, I don't have high and mighty gifts. I don't have a great grade point average. I don't have stories of success in terms of business or school, and therefore, I don't really have gifts. But if we pay attention to the heartbeat of authentic interest, things that we simply enjoy doing and believe you do fairly well – you know, as we define well – have a sense of fit to task, authentic interest.

[00:32:42]
If we talk about ourselves in simple, but rich action, doing those things, what we'll recognize is this warm heartbeat of delight in that. And as we explore those stories, we'll also recognize in almost every case – it's been my experience – that there's contribution that's made, that there's good that is poured out in some way.

[00:33:11]
The light of goodness is in what we're doing and that it may not be again, a high and mighty gift that's expressed, but it will be, the light of an authentic pattern of motivation that's both fulfilling and also making some positive contribution in that sphere of influence, however small it might be. 

[00:33:36]
But again, the Lord is a Lord of every time and space in history. So, I encourage you to think of those stories where you've been engaged in some authentic interest, something you've enjoyed doing, and you believe you did pretty well. And again, it could be something not so significant, but pay attention to that. 

[00:34:01]
Talk about what you did, ideally share it with another person who can listen and make observation about what you did. And the light of your gifts will be present in that story. So, I encourage you to reflect upon it and share it with somebody and trust that the gifts will become more and more apparent. 

[00:34:24]
So, that would be my word. I've never in 30 years encountered somebody who doesn't have such stories.

Ann: Yes. And I think that's the privilege of your vocation – to help people see the beauty in their story. Even if they, you know, start off as not being able to think that there's anything significant in it.

[00:34:49]
Dr. Miller: Yes. Everything's significant. 

Ann: Oh, that's a yes. That's really, really beautiful. Wow. Oh, this has been such a blessing. Thank you so much for this time and sharing all the richness of your experience and your learning.  

Dr. Miller: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your podcast and to interact with you, which is always good and rich. 

[00:35:15]
And then of course, with your listeners too. So, thanks, Ann. 

Ann: There’s so much more that I wish that we could delve into. Maybe for myself, I'll contact you. I'm still – I'm learning. So, the student in me is like, there's so much more than I want to be able to understand in what you've shared.  

Dr. Miller: Well, it always meets the student in me too. So, that's great.  

Ann: Okay, that's great. Well, thank you so much, Josh.  

Dr. Miller: Thank you, Ann.  

[00:35:39]
So, that was Dr. Joshua Miller. If you have enjoyed the conversation that I've had with him, if you feel like he has so many deep insights about this topic, I really invite you to check out the book, Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person.

[00:36:01]
Okay, it's in the show notes, along with the other resources. Don't forget to read the book. Now, if you are interested in learning more about the Motivation Code, make sure to check the show notes for the links to the book, as well as the website on the instrument. I will also add the link to my own webpage on the Motivation Code, because it is one of the instruments that I use to help my clients come to understand themselves more deeply in their attempt to become more authentic and to discover their personal vocation. 

[00:36:37] PRAXIS: LISTEN. PONDER. ACT
Okay. Now, here are the praxis prompts for today's episode. One – Listen: As you listened to my conversation with Dr. Miller, was there any part that struck you? I invite you to notice what emotion or emotions were evoked in you.  

Two – Ponder: As you consider your life right now, how would you rate the following on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the fullest. 

A. You feel that you are living joyfully. 

B. You feel that your life is full of deep meaning.

C. You feel that you are making the fullest use of your gifts possible for the good of the world.

So, on a scale of one to 10, how would you rate your life on those three dimensions right now.

[00:37:48]
Three – Act: Review the scores you gave to the questions you just responded to. How satisfied are you with your scores? If you are feeling frustrated and restless or just stuck in your life, I invite you to think of one change or one action you can take right now to move towards increasing joy, meaning and authentic service in your life.

[00:38:18]
You know, sometimes this doesn't have to be hard at all. In fact, I think a lot of times, it isn't that hard to think of that one change or one action we can take. It's just that we don't even pause in our life. We don't slow down just for that little while for us to consider the most important questions in our life and what can be more important than living joyfully a life of deep meaning, where our joy comes from and spills out in fulfilling, authentic service to the world. 

[00:38:53]
Don't forget to check out the episode show notes to find some resources you can explore. Know that I am praying for each and every one of you who are listening to this episode. And really praying that you will find your way, that you won't give up. This interior journey is not – there's no quick fix for it, okay?

[00:39:12]
There are no shortcuts and it's always just one step at a time that I know that you can do it if you really, really desire to live an authentic life and journey into wholeness. 

[00:39:28] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. 

The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!

Joshua Miller, Ph.D.

Inscape Co-Founder and Head of Education

Joshua's life mission is to help people become who they were created to be, especially youth and young adults and those who mentor them.

His first book, Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person and the accompanying workbook, Unrepeatable Life: An Eight Week Program for Discerning Personal Vocation (both co-authored with Luke Burgis) draw on his 25-year history as a father, coach, teacher and consultant.

Joshua comes from a family and organizational tradition that emphasizes discovery of each person's unique beauty through a narrative approach called the System for Identifying Motivated Abilities or SIMA® developed by his grandfather, Arthur Miller, Jr. in 1961. SIMA® is based on the phenomenon that people's stories of deeply fulfilling activities reveal in them distinct patterns of innate motivated behavior.

Joshua's father, Arthur Miller III, trained him patiently to use SIMA® for helping others recognize their own motivational patterns. Since then he has used SIMA® in various professional applications including executive search, organizational development, and talent management, especially in the faith based sector.

His long-standing desire to help people understand and flourish according to their unique motivational designs led to an MA (Franciscan University of Steubenville) & PhD (Duquesne University) in Philosophy of the Human Person.

Joshua is a coach and certified at the ACC level through the International Coach Federation. He has coached a variety of professionals to achieve personal and career objectives but especially emphasizes the coaching of young adults seeking their own unique callings.

In 2013 he drew on SIMA® to co-develop MCORE (now MCODE™), the first on-line assessment that blends a person's own achievement stories with established psychometric constructs.

Joshua helped build The Center for Leadership at Franciscan University of Steubenville where he currently serves as a vocation coach and vocation coach trainer for faculty and staff of the institution.

Joshua is Co-Founder of Inscape and Head of Education for the company, which is devoted to helping young people identify, embrace and fully live their unique personal vocations.

Joshua and his wife Brooke of 19 years are joyfully Catholic and have six dear children. Together they share an interest in theater, music, and literature. Joshua enjoys cultivating his orchard and has a special taste for fresh, homegrown blueberries if his kids do not get to them first!