Having a wealth of ideas to talk about today, I decided to discuss an issue that is extremely close to my heart: existentialism and existential thought. When I was going through my own mental health journey, I ended up reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning. It truly helped save my life. I had realized that my purpose in life had been (albeit not intentionally) to live for the approval of others. This purpose was at the very core of everything that I was doing and when I ended up getting rejected by the people whose approval I had been living for, I was completely broken. However, Frankl’s book showed me that I could redefine my purpose to something that would actually make my life worth living for. Personally, I decided to live for the love of my God and experience freedom in my faith. This has been the measuring stick to which I have gauged all else. Typically, when I find that I am suddenly depressed, it is because I have allowed some other purpose that is not in line with my identity or worldviews to usurp my primary one. Otherwise, I have forgotten it in the midst of this busy life.

It is also okay when a purpose in our lives dies. For example, when we retire, we oftentimes find that we feel like our lives suddenly lack meaning because we’re no longer working. Thus, a purpose in our lives may have been to work and have a rich career life. However, when we retire it is appropriate for the purpose to pass away and a new one to take its place (this is even congruent with Erik Erikson’s theory of developmental psychology). Therefore, the new purpose could be to mentor the younger generation or volunteer your time in a different vocational field to fulfill the career desires you never had the chance to develop (i.e. if you were a business person your whole life but wanted to work with animals. When you retire, you can volunteer at pet shelters and thus fulfill a previously unfulfilled career desire to be a vet per say).

So let’s shift over to career counseling for a bit and talk shop about mission statements. Yes, career theory sounds like it’s dry and awful, but I found it to be one of the most exciting classes I took during graduate school. When you think about it, career covers the entirety of our lives! Therefore, it is vastly important and worth discussing. It also has some strong existential roots.

To define your mission statement (which you could argue is a sort of purpose of life statement), we must start with your calling. Calling is defined as what you are called to be. Your mission is what you are called to do. Your vocation will reflect who you are and what you live your life for.

So even if you don’t have the “dream job,” take heart in that you can still live out your calling and mission statement no matter what vocation you have. So let’s do an example of what I’m talking about.


To define your calling, think about your personal traits that you enjoy best. This will include your strengths general words you’d use to describe yourself. For example, I’d describe my friend and colleague as compassionate, clever, intelligent, beautiful, mighty, powerful, heard, wise, and advocate. This might lead her to describe her calling as follows: “I am called to be an advocate.” Notice that there is no doing statement. This is simply dictating who she is. Not to be overly cliché, but we are human beings, not human doings. Defining who you are called to be is incredibly important when thinking about what you are supposed to do.


To define your mission statement, consider your calling and always hold that in the front of your mind. Then, consider activities you enjoy more than anything else. For my friend and colleague, I know she loves to be outside, be with friends and family, help others, talk logic and counseling, do arts and crafts (she’s very talented), and she’s a great listener. Thus, her mission statement might sound something like this: “I will provide love, advocacy, and safe attachment to the people in my life to help them maximize their potential.”

You see why defining our mission statement is so important. Even if my friend were not a counselor, she could still live out her mission in any vocation! She has not always had a direct counseling position in her career either. However, I have seen her live out her calling and mission no matter what job posting she has had.

I hope this has helped inspire you! Calling and mission can be very helpful in finding meaning and purpose in our careers. So even if you’re not in the job that you want, try considering who you are and what you’re supposed to do in your life and how you can live that out no matter where you are.