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Review the Table of Contents.

Table of Contents


By George Weigel


  1. The Story of Stories
  2. Listening to Lives
  3. The Way of Each Person
  4. Unrepeatable Love

Chapter One: Knowing Our Culture

  1. Liquid Modernity
  2. A Culture of Calculation
    • The Poker Game of Discernment
    • The Gift that Opens
  3. A Culture of Disincarnation
    • Grasping Snowflakes
    • Learning from Nature
  4. A Culture of Conformity
    • #ConformToMe
    • Forces of Conformity
    • The Anti-Rebel
  5. Toward a Culture of Vocation

Chapter Two: Our Unique Motivational Design

  1. Awakening to Motivational Design
  2. Tell Me Your Story
  3. Where Does This Approach Come From?
  4. Two Stories
    • Benton Parker
    • Rachel Michaud
  5. The Nature of Motivational Design
    1. The Pattern is Irresistible
    2. The Pattern is Insatiable
    3. The Pattern is Enduring
    4. The Pattern is Good
    5. The Pattern is Ordered Toward Love
  6. The Primordial Vocation

Chapter Three: Personal Vocation

  1. The Circular Movement of Vocation
  2. A Brief History of Vocation
    • Creation
    • Confusion
    • Convergence
  3. The Common Elements of Every Christian Vocation
  4. Call to Authentic Love
    • The Freedom to Love: A Promise
  5. The Last Word
    1. ‘Till the End

Chapter Four: Mentoring with Empathy

  1. Getting to Know Mentees
  2. Empathy
  3. Closed, Leading and Open Questions
    • Closed Questions
    • Leading Questions
    • Open-ended Questions
  4. The Power of the Achievement Story
  5. What If Mentees Say They Don’t Have Any Achievement Stories?
  6. The Good Fruit of Drawing Out Achievement Stories
  7. Empathic Listening
  8. Basic Elements of Empathic Listening

Chapter Five: A Culture of Vocation

  1. Education
  2. The Five Elements of a Vocational Culture
    • Personal Encounter
    • Language
    • A Culture of Wonder: The Antidote to a Culture of Calculation
    • A Culture of Incarnation: The Antidote to a Culture of Disincarnation
    • A Culture of Creativity: The Antidote to a Culture of Conformity
  3. The Practice of Active Love

Chapter Six: Keys for Guiding Effective Discernment

  1. Teach Personal Vocation
    • Teaching Through Language
  2. Help Mentees Find Their Own Way of Discernment
  3. Explore Connection Between Talents and Motivational Design
  4. Expose Them to Need, Orient Them to Service
  5. Help Them Secure Wise, Attentive Mentors
    • Marks of the Wise, Attentive Mentor
    • Finding Strong Mentors
  6. Cultivate Prayerful Silence for Listening
  7. Awaken Them to Self-Creative Freedom

Chapter Seven: Mission

  1. Vocation and Mission
  2. Universal Mission
  3. Particular Missions
    • Preparation
    • Focus
    • Action-Oriented
  4. Missionary Disciples
    • A Mission Year
  5. Mission Territory

Epilogue: A Prayer for Personal Vocation

  1. The Fisherman’s Prayer
  2. Prayer for Embracing Personal Vocation


Discover the book and the community of mentors and mentees that are cultivating a culture of vocation.


Develop new ideas, methods, training, and technologies within the community to help foster a culture of vocation.


Activate new training and tools in your community that will help foster a culture a vocation.

“for Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his, To the Father through the features of men’s faces.”

Gerard Manley Hopkins
Priest and Poet

Chapters Overview

A small taste of what's covered in each chapter of Unrepeatable.


George Weigel explains the significance of personal vocation and its connection to Pope John Paul II.


How did Bob Dylan respond when a fan called him Judas? The song of each life, the 7,484,325,476 ways of the Church, and the only Author truly worth reading.

Chapter 1: Knowing Our Culture

David Foster Wallace and liquid modernity. Hunting snowflakes. The divided brain. Pepsi commercials and mimetic desire. Our culture of calculation, disincarnation, and conformity.

Chapter 2: Our Unique Motivational Design

Created design as the seed of personal vocation. The soul's code. Core motivational drive, the primordial vocation. How to listen to a good story. Finding patterns.

Chapter 3: Personal Vocation

The great Exitus-Reditus. Anti-rebels. Why babies babble every possible phoneme and the Word that must be spoken. Personal vocation as the ground of decision making and vocation. A history and theology of vocation.

Chapter 4: Mentoring with Empathy

Knowing one another. Empathy as the key to unlock relationships and vocation. How to listen. Achievement stories.

Chapter 5: A Culture of Vocation

Building a culture of vocation. The adult version of Pinocchio. Why telling and living in the truth is essential for vocational discernment. Language, saint-making education, and the smell test.

Chapter 6: Keys for Guiding Effective Discernment

Keys for effective discernment. Language as instrument. Talents vs. Motivational Design. Silence. Personal vocation as hermeneutic. Self-creative freedom. Finding a mentor.

Chapter 7: Mission

Antifragility. A Mission Year Challenge. A Delta Force Operator on mission. Universal and particular missions. Fisherman in Cetara, Italy. A Personal Prayer.

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What People Are Saying

Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

From first page to last, this is a book rich in three vital ways: a keen grasp of our current culture, its challenges and what to do about them; excellent counsel on the nature and skills of mentoring; and a passion for awakening the unrepeatable vocation of every Christian soul. Beautifully written, compellingly personal, and a treasure to read.

Robert Barron


This spiritually grounded, easy-to-read treatise is a solid piece of research, and yet, is still packed throughout with supporting anecdotes that the reader will recognize and appreciate. Eminently practicable Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person is for every Christian, especially the teacher, counselor, or spiritual director, who is truly serious about sifting through the cultural morass to find the “right” vocation, rather than just a job.

Dr. Petroc Willy

Catechetical Institute

This is a wonderful and rare book. It communicates beautifully the truth of the depth of the person, the “weight of glory” each person carries. It should be essential reading for all involved in catechesis. The chapters carefully unfold how we can better serve each precious soul, assisting each person to find his or her unique worth and calling within the glorious metanarrative of our heavenly Father’s redemptive “plan of the mystery” in Christ.

Russell Shaw

Author & Theologian

Little by little the realization is sinking in among serious Christians that everyone has a vocation--the unique calling that each of us receives from God to play a unique and unrepeatable part in God's redemptive plan. Unrepeatable will do much good by hastening the spread of a hugely important insight among an ever growing number of people. This book by Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller is clear, practical, and very much to the point. I recommend it highly.

Bob Keith


Understanding and promoting personal vocations is one of the most important ways to unlock the potential for true human flourishing in our society. Unrepeatable is a timely book that outlines a unique process to discover personal vocation based on the wisdom of the Church and encourages all of us to embark on this game-changing journey.

Msgr. Martin Schlag

University of St. Thomas

Luke and Joshua use the power of narrative to tell the story of stories: the story of the happiness that Jesus Christ has brought us. In an amenable style they convey deep thoughts taken from the treasure of Catholic faith. I recommend this book as a guide on your own individual path of vocation.

Andreas Widmer


This book is a call to all of us, personally and as a Church, to help each person uncover their call from God and radically pursue it during their unrepeatable time on earth. A must read for young and old. Saint John Paul II would be proud!

Lisa Hendey

Author, The Grace of Yes

With Unrepeatable, authors Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller invite us into the cherished but often daunting role of helping those in our care to discover and embrace their own unique vocational callings. By delving beyond programs and policies into a unique appreciation of and respect for one another's stories, we learn not only the gifts we have to give, but also the ineffable bond which unites our common purpose. Pick up this book to help others, but be prepared to rediscover the blessing of your own story too!

James Checchio

Bishop of Metuchen

The work of Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller in Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person is a welcome and necessary fresh approach to opening up the rich tradition of vocational discernment. They accomplish breaking open the stale and entrenched idea that a “vocation” is a pre cast decision dependent on God alone and requires one to figure it out like a puzzle. Through story and metaphor, relying on the wisdom of spiritual masters, sound philosophy and theology, along with examples in pop culture, they demonstrate that every person has a vocation. And it is found in the form of a “story”, a person’s own story. It is written in an engaging style that will appeal to young searching hearts. I enthusiastically encourage this book as means to help foster a new culture of vocational discernment.

Fr. Larry Richards

Priest and Author

I loved this book! You have a personal vocation given to you by God when He created you. ``Vocation is a gift from God that brings joy to those who receive it,`` the authors write. This book will help you discover and live your personal vocation and ultimately find your joy. Read this book and start living the life you were created for.

Kathleen Cahalan

Saint John’s University

Burgis and Miller have listened deeply to people’s stories, people such as C. S. Lewis, Dorothy Day, and Pope John Paul II but also to ordinary people such as Sam, Rachel, and Tony. Through these stories, they teach us that vocation is God’s calling to each of us to be the amazing, inimitable, distinctive—yes, unrepeatable!—person that God longs for us to be. Why? Because vocation is the way we live out and live into God’s holy mission in the world.

Unrepeatable is an essential guide for those who seek to discern God’s calling in their lives and to discern how best to call forth God’s calling in others, especially young people searching to find their place in God’s intentions.

We can best live out our callings when we first discern God’s unrepeatable creation that is the beauty of each our lives, and then turn toward others and help them discover their amazing unique place in God’s plans and ways.

Tim Clydesdale

Author, The Purposeful Graduate

There are few conversations more important than those involving a person’s vocation. Sadly, these conversations are rare, even among the faithful for whom such conversations should be most natural and frequent. Burgis and Miller’s Unrepeatable is rich with vocation stories and thoughtful cultural analyses that readers will be eager to engage with others. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to facilitate more frequent and better conversations about life’s purpose and our mission at this extraordinary moment.

Mark Matlock

Author, Youth Pastor

Joshua Miller and Luke Burgis get to the core of how to help young people find their way toward adulthood in complex and changing culture. Filled with deep insight and practical direction, Unrepeatable will guide those working with younger generations to mentor powerfully.

David Schmiesing

Franciscan University

In their book Unrepeatable, Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller advance the Church’s gradually developing understanding and articulation of the importance of personal vocation in the lives of all men and women. Their combination of theological, philosophical, and cultural commentary with practical, actionable methodology is unique and engaging. This book is essential for those who work with youth and young adults as teachers, coaches, mentors, advisors, or guides. But it will also be profoundly helpful for every Christian, young or old, trying to answer the question in their own daily life: “What is God calling me to do?”

Claire Alsup

Food Entrepreneur

Bob Dylan, David Foster Wallace, and Dorothy Day all in the same chapter...I was hooked after the first page. I think this book is the start of a movement, a new way of looking at vocations.

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About the Authors

Co-Founders of INSCAPE

Each person is the way of the church.

Pope John Paul II said that each person, unique and unrepeatable, is the way of the Church. We want to make his vision a reality.
Luke Burgis & Joshua Miller - Authors

Luke Burgis is Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Catholic University of America and a 4x Founder/CEO of start-ups in Silicon Valley. He has spent time in seminary formation and integrated fundamental training in discernment as part of the basic HR processes for two of his companies. He holds degrees from the Stern School of Business at New York University and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Theology) in Rome. He is Co-Founder of Inscape, an organization that helps young people discover, embrace, and fully live out their unique personal vocations, with Joshua Miller.


Joshua Miller is a leader in the field of narrative based motivational assessment. For the last 18 years he has applied his expertise in a variety of applications, including executive search, organizational development, and talent management. His long standing desire to understand and help people develop their unique giftedness led to an MA & Ph.D. in Philosophy of the Human Person. He continues to effectively integrate learning from this study into his coaching and consulting practices.  Joshua also 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. He is Co-Founder of Inscape with Luke Burgis.


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