01 Feb 2017

Several years ago (2007-2008) I began to feel a shift, a tugging, a pull away from what I was doing and into a new path.  Our economy was on the decline. My event business at the time, The Laureli Group, Inc., was struggling and I found myself in a place where I had some space to consider both what I had been doing and what I might want to do.

So, I spent a lot of time looking at myself: my skills, talents, knowledge and experience. I thought about what I had been doing that I enjoyed. And I thought about what I hadn’t done that I might want to do. And I determined a few important things:  1) I love to work with people, especially in the realm of consulting, counsel, teaching and training.  2) I was fatigued from almost 20 years (at that time) of the day to day grind of event management and longed for change and  3) In my personal life, my faith and the expression of it in the world had become more and more important and I knew that somehow I was called to respond. With these three things in mind, I made some major changes in both what I do professionally and how I do it, and perhaps more profoundly, I embarked on a new path that will bring forth a vocational change for me.

In 2010 I began Pick My Brain Consulting so that I could make myself available to clients for consulting and training, primarily in the hospitality industry. Along with supporting our clients with information and guidance, we also continue to provide a variety of services to support their company or organizational events and training. Simultaneous to this, I began to feel a call into ministry.  It began with being certified as a Spiritual Director – a person who accompanies another on their spiritual journey (regardless of religious or denominational affiliation) and who in conversation offers listening and support. I have found these skill sets to be invaluable both as a Spiritual Director and as a Consultant. Listening is so very important to our relationships and learning to listen without wanting to respond immediately, or in a way that helps our clients to come to their own solutions (instead of just fixing things for them) brings forth powerful results.

After earning my certification, I still felt God tugging on my heart, pulling me even further into the world of ministry — particularly into ordained ministry. In my faith tradition, Christian and Episcopalian, ordained ministry includes serving as a Deacon or Priest, and after spending time considering all this with a committee, I discerned that my call is to be a Priest. To do this, a Masters Degree in Theology (M.Div.) is required, as are a variety of practical and experiential trainings that would prepare me to be a minister to a congregation in a church, or to anyone seeking pastoral care from me.  And so, I began school in 2015 and am half way through a 4-year journey of earning my degree and completing my requirements for ordination.

My path, however, hasn’t been a full time school adventure — but rather it has been a bi-vocational journey in which I both work full time and go to school full time.  Crazy, right?  Actually, not so much.  I am passionate and committed to Pick My Brain and continuing to serve my clients with integrity and excellent service.  I am equally committed to the successful achievement of my educational degree.  This is a time one might call “Liminal” – an in between space when one isn’t fully in one role, or another, but has a foot in both worlds. It takes everything I have to manage and do well in both worlds, and sometimes is extremely stressful and challenging.  Yet, at the end of the day, I am grateful that I get to be in both realms and to participate fully, to be able to respond to what I’m called to do.

So, you might wonder, why is she telling us all this?  What does this have to do with business or Pick My Brain?  I share this with you to demonstrate that change is constant, and that in our professional path we often experience shifts and changes that seem daunting and threatening.  Yet, if we pause to consider those changes, to see them as invitations into something else, we might find ourselves surprised where it leads us. I don’t know what ordained ministry will look like, or how I might serve after ordination.  I could work solely in ministry, or continue
on a bi-vocational path.  What I do know is that I have spent my career working in the hospitality industry — an industry that prides itself on welcome, generosity, making all feel at home and valued. And, what I discovered is that this is the same for ministry.  All the work I have done over 20 years has somehow prepared me well for my next vocation of serving people inside of a church instead of a corporation. Recognizing the connections encourages me, and helps me to feel more prepared for both worlds.

I encourage you, don’t be afraid of change. Open yourself up to what’s possible. Be courageous. Take what you have and know and use it for the good of others where ever you find yourself.

2 Responses to Shifting and Changing – A Part of Life
  1. Hey Laurel,
    Great reading, I have missed many stories of both your vocations and have not seen you often to catch up. Your thoughts have rung true with me. I too am midway between a new career and the old one both are similar, one where I work for another for a salary the other where I am now a licensed Real Estate Salesperson with the intent of one day working for myself and the broker I assign too. It is challenging, I understand the pressures of trying to do both well without sacrificing one for the other and keeping the balance of both. One day I feel I have more energy for one than the other and so on. The salaried position is also in real estate, commercially, with this position I do not earn a commission even though the duties assigned are completed as an agents assistant.
    I have seen you grow within your ministry towards becoming a priest and been fortunate enough to hear you preach on occasion. You made an impressive decision to become a priest a calling some of us only think about but don’t follow.

    • Thanks, Christine, for reading the post and for taking time to respond. Being in the in-between space vocationally can be
      a challenge and trying at times. When it’s time for you to step fully into your new vocation as a Real Estate agent, I know you’ll do well.



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