Today, you will need your list of values from Day 17.
Our goal today is to write a personal mission statement that you can use to guide your decisions in a consistent way that is in accordance with your values.
For example, here is my mission statement: “By expressing myself honestly and without hesitation, and by listening to and learning from others, I can improve my own life as well as the lives around me and the whole world.”
When I make decisions, I can envision my various choices and decide whether or not each is congruent with my mission statement.
If it isn’t, I simply will not do that thing.
This is a very simple method that prevents me from doing a lot of the stupid things that I shouldn’t do, and helps keep me on track with my goals.
A mission statement is not written in stone. As your values change, so too will your mission statement.
That being said, it will probably remain fairly stable for long periods of time. Regardless, it is important to get a quality mission statement on paper that reflects you right now, and we can always change it when your values change later.
Start by finding a place where you can be undisturbed for a lengthy period of time.
Perhaps your office, perhaps out in nature somewhere, it doesn’t really matter so long as you can be alone and it fosters a good contemplative mindset.
This won’t necessarily take too long, but you should allow yourself a few hours because you don’t want to rush yourself. This is your life, and its worth spending the time necessary to have a good mission statement.
Think about your various interests, goals, and values.
See yourself embodying them, and notice how you feel.
Think about a grand purpose that you could dedicate yourself to, one that combines your current values, goals, and interests.
This is not easy, but visualization helps. If you envision yourself doing various things and notice how you feel about them, you can gauge how congruent that vision is with your life.
Take your time. Play with the images in your mind, and try out as many as you need before you feel comfortable with that grand purpose (it need not be perfect, but it should be very good).
Next, envision your heroes and heroines doing what they do. Notice the feelings you get when you think about them.
See yourself doing the same things that give you those feelings.
Imagining heroes is helpful because you already have an image of them in your mind. It is easier to picture them doing certain things than it is to imagine you doing them.
But once you are thinking of them, you can put yourself in their shoes more easily.
By now you should have a pretty clear grand vision of yourself doing what it is you want to do, or acting out your purpose.
Imagine yourself acting out this grand vision. It should feel good to do, and you can adjust the mental “movie” any way you like to make it more clear. See how your values fit in well with this vision.
When you have a vision, write it down. Describe it in detail.
Visualize your grand vision again.
Imagine in your mind’s eye different specific directions that your vision could go. Most likely, you can accomplish this grand vision in a number of ways, and let images of them go through your mind.
As you do this, formulate your one or two sentence mission statement describing how you go about accomplishing your vision.
You will probably have to “try on” a number of mission statements before arriving at a good one. What I mean by this is to picture yourself going about attaining your vision while acting by your mission statement, and seeing how it feels.
When you have found a good mission statement, it should arouse strong feelings within you.
Finally, mentally “step into” your vision. See yourself doing everything in your vision as it unfolds, and repeat your mission statement to yourself throughout this process.
I would like to point out that this method for developing a mission statement seems sort of “new age” and may not be methodical enough as some people would like.
That is a fair complaint, because some people would prefer a more formulaic way of developing their mission statement.
However, I believe that the best mission statements will come from having an emotional connection with your vision of what it can do for you.
Even if you come up with a solid mission statement, it means little if it doesn’t resonate with you internally. That is why today’s exercise is far more powerful than other approaches to creating mission statements.
Continue to Day 19: Hobbies.