Calling and Campbell


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This is an overview of a presentation that I made Nov 3, 2007 at the International Leadership Association Annual Conference in Vancouver, Can.

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Calling and Campbell

  1. 1. The Heroes Journey as a Metaphor of the Leader’s Journey into Calling and Identity Frank Markow, Ph.D. Life Pacific College
  2. 2. Research Questions <ul><ul><li>How is one's identity as a leader shaped by his or her sense of calling? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How do leaders experience and explain their sense of calling? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the antecedents and contextual elements of calling? </li></ul><ul><li>What contextual factors (e.g., significant relationships, organizational support, environment, etc.) impact the development of leader's sense of call? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Literature Review -Calling in the Christian Tradition <ul><li>Central to the Christian interpretations of vocation is &quot;the idea that there is something - my vocation or calling - God has called me to do with my life, and my life has meaning and purpose at least in part because I am fulfilling my purpose&quot; (Plachard, 2005, p. 2) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Dimensions of Calling in the Leadership and Career Literature <ul><li>Various writers have identified dimensions of calling. Dobrow (2004), Weiss et al (2004), Novak (1996) and McNeal (2000) have described the following as aspects of a personal sense of calling: </li></ul><ul><li>Passion for one's work that energizes and sustains </li></ul><ul><li>Identity centers on their sense of calling </li></ul><ul><li>Sustains over the life of the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Consumes the ambitions and goals of one's life </li></ul><ul><li>Gives meaning to work and this meaning is self-relevant </li></ul><ul><li>“ Fits&quot; one's skills and abilities </li></ul><ul><li>For service of the community </li></ul><ul><li>Unique to the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered through reflection, prayer, feedback from others and trial activities </li></ul>
  5. 5. Using Narrative to Understand Identity <ul><li>Since calling is intrinsic to one’s identity, theories of identity in general, and narrative identity in particular are useful means at getting at the phenomenological experience of being called </li></ul><ul><li>Sarbin (1986) proposed what he calls the narratory principle , the idea that human beings think, perceive, imagine, interact and make moral choices according to narrative structures. </li></ul><ul><li>Ricouer (1992) argues that the self only comes into being in the process of telling a life story. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Research Method <ul><li>Research Participants </li></ul><ul><li>12 one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with pastors with a proven record of leadership ability demonstrated via lengthy and successful service, and who indicate that they have been called. </li></ul><ul><li>The scope of these pastor’s responsibility (leadership level) ranged from smaller churches of 100 members, to mega churches with several thousand members and district-level leadership </li></ul>
  7. 7. Research Method <ul><li>Interview Protocol </li></ul><ul><li>Question 1: Life chapters / ministry career history. </li></ul><ul><li>Question 2: Key events - critical or significant episodes, turning points, epiphanies, etc. from each chapter of their stories </li></ul><ul><li>Question 3: Significant people - particularly people who intersected with their sense of calling. </li></ul><ul><li>Question 4: Future script - plans, goals, aspirations, hopes, and dreams for the future that relate to one's ministry. </li></ul><ul><li>Question 5: Life theme – a message or idea that ran throughout the entirety of their narrative as previously described. (It was notable that most self-described life themes had little resemblance to the previous stories.) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Results <ul><li>1. Individual level themes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Since everyone has a different life story, it is not surprising that each story seemed to revolve around certain themes unique to the individual. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In each individual case a specific issue presented itself and recurred throughout the story in a &quot;theme and variation&quot; pattern. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Individual level themes <ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reconciliation with my father </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding someone to trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Breaking away from my mother </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing “gangs” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’m an outcast with no friends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Am I a musician or a pastor? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Letting go of career aspirations </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Universal themes <ul><li>Themes clustered into five discernable life stages. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Stage 1 – Awaiting Pre-call antecedents / family / life circumstances <ul><li>Most felt that childhood was important because it often set the stage for latter events which were germane to their call. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 1a. Congruous Early Environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 1b. Rebellion. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 1c. Early leadership opportunities. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Stage 2 – Awareness Recognition of the call through spiritual awakening or involvement <ul><li>This second stage covers the years that the participants typically became aware of the fact that they had a call. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 2a. Calling as an epiphany / supernatural signs </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 2b. Calling as a by-product of serving. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Stage 3 – Actualization Realization of the call through experience, mentoring, and /or preparation for vocational service <ul><li>In this stage, the participants describe a series of events, experiences, people or preparation activities that supported the fulfillment of their calling. These sub-themes are: </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3a. Having a Personal Mentor OR </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3b. Mentored from Afar. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3c. College to Prepare OR </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3d. College to Discover. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3e. Newfound Passion for Serving </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3f. Success in ministry. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3g. Supernatural or Spiritual Indicators. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Stage 4 – Anguishing Struggle to separate from previous roles and identities / dealing with &quot;pre-call&quot; stage issues <ul><ul><li>This next stage is characterized by two phenomena: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a personal conflict with a significant character in their story (a mentor, parent, a pastor, etc.) and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a struggle to release a previous role or identity. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 4a. Personal Conflict and Release. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 4b. Identity Conflict and Release. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Stage 5 – Acceptance Identity integration and role merger of faith and work / subsequent wrestling with preferred roles / possible selves <ul><li>This stage came primarily from the portion of the narrative describing their hopes and plans for the future, the &quot;next chapter&quot; of their life stories. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 5a. Satisfaction with Current Role </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 5b. Dissatisfaction with Current Role </li></ul>
  16. 16. 5 Stage Constructive Developmental Model of Calling Stage 1 Awaiting Stage 2 Awareness Stage 3 Actualizing Stage 4 Anguishing Stage 5 Acceptance
  17. 17. Campbell’s Heroes Journey <ul><li>Campbell (1949) explores the theory that important myths from around the world that have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, which Campbell called the monomyth . </li></ul>
  18. 18. Campbell’s Monomyth Structure: Refusal of the Return The Magic Flight Rescue from Without The Crossing of the Return Threshold Master of the Two Worlds Freedom to Live The Road of Trials The Meeting with the Goddess Woman as Temptress Atonement with the Father Apotheosis The Ultimate Boon The Call to Adventure Refusal of the Call Supernatural Aid The Crossing of the First Threshold The Belly of the Whale <ul><li>Chapter 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Return </li></ul>Chapter 2 Initiation Chapter 1 Departure
  19. 19. How do the 5 Stages align with the Monomyth? <ul><li>Departure </li></ul><ul><li>The Call to Adventure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Calling often sensed in ordinary circumstances of life – church, camp, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Refusal of the Call </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rebellion from parents values / church life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stronger identification with secular work / role </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Supernatural Aid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding a mature mentor (either personal of national level figure) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Epiphanies, visions, Holy Spirit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Crossing of the First Threshold </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early leadership opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beginning ministry service as a volunteer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Belly of the Whale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If one clung to previous identity, this was a period of wrestling with this, struggle with sense of call to ministry, unhappiness with life </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Initiation <ul><li>The Road of Trials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict with a nemesis – mother, father, pastor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ambiguity of life’s direction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Meeting with the Goddess </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marriage(?). Usually very little detail offered </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Woman as Temptress </li></ul><ul><ul><li>N/A </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Atonement with the Father </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often a reconciliation with a a father or father figure (boss, pastor, etc.) which is a significant turning point </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Apotheosis (breakthrough expansion of consciousness) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The rejection of the previous identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sacrifice of prior dreams to embrace the call to ministry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Full acceptance of the call, moving forward with plans for vocational ministry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Ultimate Boon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feelings of success in ministry </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Return <ul><li>Refusal of the Return </li></ul><ul><ul><li>N/A – usually eager to return / be involved in ministry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Magic Flight </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsequent wrestling with ministry expression, how calling is to work itself out, struggles in college, temptation back to secular vocations, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rescue from Without </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confirmation of calling from others / mentors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Crossing of the Return Threshold </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Entry into vocational ministry as one called </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Master of the Two Worlds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feelings of God-sustaining ability to overcome challenges in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Freedom to Live </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One lives free in the sense of calling </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Aligning the 5 Stages with Monomyth Departure Initiation Return Stage 1 Awaiting Stage 1 Awareness Stage 1 Actualizing Stage 1 Anguishing Stage 1 Acceptance
  23. 23. Postscript <ul><li>While typical narrative structures end with nice, happy ending, the reality of lived stories is that they are still incomplete and thus have rarely reached the happy ending. </li></ul><ul><li>Most participants expressed ambivalence about their current role, were still questioning if they were in the right place, etc. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Ongoing narrative Stage 1 Awaiting Stage 2 Awareness Stage 3 Actualizing Stage 4 Anguishing Stage 5 Acceptance The key to contentment versus dissatisfaction in the current role may be in how identity and relational conflict issues were dealt with in stage 4. Dissatisfaction leads to persistent revisiting of previous stage issues
  25. 25. Discussion <ul><li>Existing definitions infuse calling with many positive and noble ideals such as meaning, purpose, passion, work with special value, commitment to career, uncovered personal destinies, true understanding of self, and metacompetencies, (e.g. Filley, House & Kerr, 1976, Fleischman, 1994; Fry, 2003; Hall, Zhu & Yan, 2002; McNeal, 2000; Novak, 1996; Palmer, 1999). </li></ul><ul><li>This research suggests that these are only tangentially part of one’s understanding of calling. Individuals typically dwelt over stories of conflict, struggled to relinquish previous hopes and dreams, struggled with personal demons, and questioned where they were going in life. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Discussion <ul><li>A calling is more often seen as a source of ongoing challenge: a challenge to overcome, persist in the face of obstacles, breach the personal on social conventions that one has come to know, accept an identity that challenges and reconfigures previous self-conceptions, and to find contentment in one's role. </li></ul><ul><li>A more sober definition of calling in light of the evidence uncovered would suggest that a calling is: </li></ul><ul><li>An ongoing process by which one comes to terms with and overcomes both interpersonal conflicts with significant others, and intrapersonal conflicts with the self over competing identities, the result of which is the removal of barriers which would otherwise prevent them from finding personal sense of destiny and purpose in life. </li></ul>