Getting to Yes, And

Dr. Nicholas Pearce: The Purpose Path


Nicholas Pearce

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Kelly talks to Dr. Nicholas Pearce - who teaches business at Northwestern and serves as an associate pastor on Chicago's South Side - about his new book "The Purpose Path."

You write in the book that: ‘How I express my relationship with God is just as important in the public square as it is in my private prayer.’

“For many people, regardless of their faith tradition, they are convinced of the fact that we are more than just flesh and blood, that we're here for more than  genetic reproductive purposes, that there is a transcendent reality to our existence. And that is really at the core of many people's identities more than race, more than gender, more than sexual orientation, more than documentation status, and all of the various diversity dimensions that are getting so much play in the corporate space and rightly so. But for many people, more deep and more core than all of those identities is their faith and their spirituality.

Talk to us about ‘vocational courage.’

“I like to think about vocation in its truest sense. The word vocation becomes a euphemism for blue collar trade work: things like welding and being an electrician and all of these sorts of things that people learned in ‘vocational school.’ It's really become a synonym for job. But when we look at the original rendering of the word vocation, it comes from the Latin meaning “called” or “calling”. So the idea of vocation is really about one’s calling or one's life's work. That's vocational courage: having clarity about one's authentic life's work and then having the commitment to faithfully pursue it, which involves making difficult decisions about how to align what I do every day with what I believe I've been called to do with my life.”

In the book you talk about the fact that there is some science to the idea of a mid-life crisis.

“There are many people who approach the midlife stage and, unfortunately, we see high incidences of depression at midlife because people look back reflectively at what they had hoped to accomplish by a certain age or life stage and they may not have accomplished it. So they look back with a sense of regret or a sense of, ‘what have I been doing?’ ‘Have I been wasting my time?’ ‘Is my life even important?’ ‘Do I have time left?’ ‘Am I going to make that time count?’ ‘I don't know how many more years I have left, so I need to be about the business of making sure that however many days, months, years, decades, I've got left then I'm not wasting time.’ And so it does create a sense of urgency in people because we've become a lot more in touch with our mortality as we age. And that's not intended at all to be morbid or somber, but it is intended to be an urgent call to not waste a single day. Every single day is a gift. And if we waste our days and then hope that magically our life's work will have been accomplished, that is a bit fallacious. What we will have done with our days is going to be what we will have done with our lives.”

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