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Monday, October 1, 2012

Life is A Journey. And Your Mission Statement is Your Map...

“Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behaviour with your beliefs”
~Stephen Covey

October10th 2011 is the date that my world was shaken. I experienced something that made me realize today is not guaranteed and it also made me recognize that my goals (and changes) have to be in the “now” moment and not be postponed (or placed into the indefinite pile). Who I am? Who do I want to be? Am I where I need and want to be? And better yet; Am I doing what I need to do in order to be where I need/want to be? What is my purpose? These are all questions I really never took the time to really think in depth about and answer. I maybe believed my purpose would fall in place whenever the time came, after all, aren't we all put on this earth for a purpose? I do strongly believe that we are not here in vain. We are indeed here to serve a purpose but we all need at some point to take the initiative in finding out what our purpose is and what gifts we were blessed with.

I remember one night following that dreadful day, lying alone in my bed. I closed my eyes and pictured myself years and years down the road. I tried to visualize 20, 30 years from now and look at the person I would be; what I was doing, who I was with, what I had accomplished, what was important to me, and who was still around me. I wanted to know how it would feel to be me… When I opened my eyes, I examined my present life and who I was (at that moment) through the eyes of the me I had just finished visualizing. That’s when I knew I had to make the changes to not only make the vision of my future a reality but to also ensure that I’d live a powerful, purposeful life.

In Michael Gerber’s book E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work, he wrote a chapter on “finding purpose.” In that chapter, he asks us to do a visualization exercise where he wants you picture the day of your funeral. What do you want and imagine your eulogy to be? What would matter at the end of your life? What brought the most happiness to your life? Is it what you are doing now? Are you working on your lifetime achievements?  
Then I started researching ways to give myself direction and purpose; align all that I’m doing and striving to do into a purpose. In doing so, I came up with the 3 mantras I wrote about previously. Those are essential reminders, but then I stumbled upon Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and quickly felt the need to give my future life a better support system with defining my very own Mission Statement.

Stephen Covey writes that:
 “An empowering Mission Statement:
• Represents the deepest and best within you. It comes out of a solid connection with your deep inner life.
• It is the fulfillment of your own unique gifts. It's the expression of your unique capacity to contribute.
• Addresses and integrates the four fundamental human needs and capacities in the physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions.
• Deals with all the significant roles in your life. It represents a lifetime balance of personal; family, work, and community, whatever roles you feel are yours to fill.
• Is written to inspire you-not to impress anyone else. It communicates to you and inspires you on the most essential level."
“Creating a Personal Mission Statement will be, without question, one of the most powerful and significant things you will ever do to take leadership of your life. In it you will identify the most important roles, relationships, and things in your life – who you want to be, what you want to do, to whom and what you want of give your life, the principles you want to anchor your life to, the legacy you want to leave. All the goals and decisions you will make in the future will be based upon it. It’s like deciding first which wall you want to lean your ladder of life against, and then beginning to climb. It will compass – a strong source of guidance amid the stormy seas and pressing, pulling currents of your life.”

Your Personal Mission Statement should answer three questions:
1. What is my life about (Purpose)?
2. What do I stand for (Values)? Keeping in mind that values are not behaviors, but beliefs. There are a handful (financial freedom) which are a means to an end, not the end value itself.
3. What actions do I take to manifest my Purpose and my Values?

I’ve finally done this myself and it did put things into perspective as to how I go about pursuing my dreams/goals in life and leaving a meaningful legacy. I did my mission statement around 9 months ago after reading “The Leadership Challenge” and here is my personal mission statement:
“Provide when I have with no measure, protect with no failure and love my family with no boundaries. I’ll integrate my values into every fabric of my life. Allow the value of my life to extend beyond my accomplishments, what I’ve done, who I’ve touched, who I’ve affected, etc. Life isn’t about the product, it’s about the process. Enjoy and share the process so others can benefit and finally… Grow and love life to the fullest”

Having a life dear and essential to mine, almost being taken away was the exact moment I knew that without a defined purpose and goal, all will be in vain as nothing will be accomplished in the way it was meant to be.

“It is not what we get. But who we become,
what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives.”
– Anthony Robbins

Discover Your Life Purpose
The following are a list of questions that can assist you (as it did assist me) in discovering your purpose. They are meant to be a guide to help you get into a frame of mind that will be conducive to defining your personal mission.

15 Questions:
1. What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
2. What were your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
3. What activities make you lose track of time?
4. What makes you feel great about yourself?
5. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
6. What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
7. What do people typically ask you for help with?
8. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
9. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
10. You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.
11. What are your deepest values?
12. What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
13. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
14. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
15. Given your talents, passions and values; how could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? (to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
“To Live, To Love, To Learn and To leave a Legacy…”
~ Stephen Covey

To finding your purpose and mission in life,

Picture Courtesy of Elizabeth Kamm
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