I recently followed a link on this site to a 2003 article in America that expanded my understanding of Ignatian discernment. I knew about discernment of the inner movements of the heart. But William Spohn, SJ, points out how important it is to discern the what is happening outside ourselves.
How does God call us to the right path? Usually this awareness comes through a process of discerning both the interior and the worldly poles of vocation. God’s Spirit works in the depths of our humanity to help us become aware of our gifts and aspirations, and the same Spirit works through our experience to point out what the world needs from us. Often the Spirit helps us notice those problems that our talents are uniquely suited to address. Grace connects these two poles like a spark that arcs between them. Reflecting with others on the experience of invitation helps to ground that call and “keep it real.”
For other good material on discernment, look at the IgnatianSpirituality.com page on vocations.