Mission Statement – Life On Purpose

When companies want to define their direction – define their values – they write a mission statement. I find it useful to write mission statements for personal projects, like my blogs… but then I thought,

Why don’t I have Mission Statement for my Life?

After all… its the biggest project of all!

But…what is a Mission Statement anyway?

A Mission Statement is simply a formal declaration of aims, direction, core values, and beliefs. Now that we have our personal Core Values in front of us, a Mission Statement is easier to prepare.

A Mission Statement keeps me focused – a decision either fits or doesn’t fit my Mission.

A Mission Statement isn’t complicated, it isn’t fancy –  its a simple statement – one or two sentences tops. Think of it like those header topics on an old-fashioned outline  – it keeps you on track, like a map when you zoom out and see the line from one and to the other.  A Mission Statement isn’t about the details, its not about plans or timelines – its a theme for how we want to live.

I tend to update my Mission Statement every year, just as I modify and update goals – it keeps me focused, it keeps me Living on Purpose.  

What does your Mission Statement Say?

Determining Your Core Values

Today we start to define our Core Values…narrow down 4 or 5 values that underpin our life…the ideas and beliefs that influence and inform the decisions we make and the actions we take. Our Core Values influence – or should influence – everything we do. When we work against our Core Values, we feel unsettled, unsatisfied, not right, not on purpose.

But how do I figure out what my Core Values are?

One way we can determine our Core Values is to examine certain aspects of our life so far. Try answering these questions and see where it leads you. A word of warning – you don’t want to get to caught up in reliving these moments – just observe them and appreciate what they brought to your life – and then put them back to bed.

What were the happiest moments in my life?

Our happiest moments can tell us a great deal about what we value  – examine these moments for common threads:What was I doing? Who was I with? Where was I? Was there a specific need that this moment fulfilled?

What were the proudest moments in my life?

Our proudest moments can also tell us a great deal. Again, examine these moments for common threads: What was I doing? Who was I with? Where was I? What did I accomplish? How?

What makes me – right now – feel the most peaceful and content with my life?

The moments we feel peace, contentment – the moments we feel like “ah, this is just right” are the moments we are living in our purpose. Even if we don;t know it. Even if what we are doing isn’t big and important. What does this for you? Close your eyes and imagine one of these moments – ask yourself: What am I doing? Who am I with? Where am I? How do I feel?

What were the moments in my life when I felt shame?

Those time when we felt shame can help us to identify the “un-priorities” – the people or activities that we want to be sure to avoid in future. Sometimes we can identify self-destructive tendencies by looking at these moments – but remember that this is not the time to get caught up in the past – just observe these moments and let them go again. Look for common threads:What was I doing? Who was I with? Where was I? What about this made me feel so bad?

Now, take all of this and look for the themes, the beliefs, the values that lie underneath.

This isn’t a pop quiz, its an exercise that should take some thought – perhaps a bit of pondering. Some values may pop right out – others may be more subtle. This is your life, so take the time to really think about what is important to you.

Not sure? Feeling stumped? Need a nudge? There lists of common values all over the web – a not very comprehensive list would maybe include:

Acceptance, Achievement, Adaptability, Adventure, Balance, Beauty, Boldness, Cheerfulness, Cleverness, Compassion, Curiosity, Dependability, Discipline, Elegance, Empathy, Faith, Family, Fidelity, Freedom, Generosity, Grace, Honesty, Honor, Independence, Intelligence, Intuition, Justice, Leadership, Love, Loyalty, Originality, Optimism, Patriotism, Perfection, Practicality, Professionalism, Prudence, Reliability, Resourcefulness, Security, Selflessness, Service, Simplicity, Strength, Teamwork, Thankfulness, Thoughtfulness, Tolerance, Trustworthiness, Uniqueness, Usefulness, Vision.

So select 4 or 5 words that seem to fit your patterns…

I know – all the words look good, they all look like values I want to have. And choosing 4 or 5 seems so…like I’m not choosing others, right? but not choosing, say, patriotism doesn’t mean you aren’t patriotic – it just means that it isn’t one of your most important values. We want to identify the most important – because those values are the keys to our purpose, to how we tick, And – surprise! – they will change over time. My younger self would have made some different choices…and that’s ok – its normal. We grow, we change, life around us changes – so why would we not shift the importance of certain values?

Values help us identify what our priorities should be!

What did you discover?

When to Say No

Living Life on Purpose means I have to define my priorities – I have to decide what is important and what is not. I also have to learn what sidetracks me, what distracts me, and eliminate those distractions that can be eliminated…or at least reduce them! I need to know when to say “No” … I need to learn how to say “No” … 

Saying “No” to non-priorities sets me free. (Tweet this)

Saying “No” was difficult for me – I’m a people-pleaser by nature, and setting boundaries was always my challenge. I hate to disappoint, I hate to feel like I’m not doing my share… so I always over-committed – I would say Yes even when No was the only sane option! Needless to say, this was a recipe for burn-out…

Saying “No” is an act of Love…

Learning to say “No” when I needed to is an act of Love – Love for myself, and Love for my family(who suffer when I burn-out). Learning to say “No” is also an act of respect – Respect for my time, yes – but also Respect for the person who was asking for my time. How disrespectful to say “Yes” when I can’t commit 100%!

Saying “No” frees me to say “Yes”…

Learning to say “No” freed me to say “Yes’ when “Yes” was the right choice. Saying “No” to time-wasters, saying “No” to projects that don’t bring me closer to my goals, saying “No” to distractions, saying “No” to activities or people that take me away from my purpose… saying “No” to all of this gives me space to breathe, time to think, options for “Yeses”.

But HOW do I say No?

Learning to say “No” was hard for me. Oh, it was easy when my son or husband wanted something and I was frazzled and snapped, “NO!: in frustration – but saying “No” to others? Saying “No” in a loving manner? That was hard. Remember, I’m a people-pleaser at heart – and saying “No” doesn’t give me that reward of having pleased someone.

I had to practice saying “No”.  I had to think about it, I had to rehearse it, I had to anticipate when I would be asked to do something I would have to say “No” to. It felt fake – like I was a child playing a game – but after some time it became real.

Today, take a little time out to see what you should say “No” to in your life – where have you over-committed? where are you shortchanging yourself or your family? where are you being pulled away from your priorities? your goals?

What can you say “No” to in your life?

Living Life on Purpose

Life happens to me and to you whether we pay attention to it or not – so why not choose to live our lives on purpose?
(Tweet this)

 

Welcome to 31 Days of Living Life on Purpose! 

But … what is Living Life on Purpose, you ask?

Well…what is purpose? Oxford Dictionaries defines purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” …

The Online Etymology Dictionary tells me that on purpose, meaning “by design“, dates from the early 1400s… and that the roots of purpose mean “intention, aim, goal“.

So…Living Life on Purpose is living life by design – with intention – with aim – with goals.

Easy, right? or maybe not so easy…

I know how easy it is to become sidetracked, to be caught up in life’s busyness and then suddenly realize “WOW – another year gone by…” 

That would be me living my life without a defined purpose, without direction – without the results I desire. In fact, that would be a lot of my life – time spent working really, really hard with not an awful lot to show for it, time spent running around in circles…too many moments of wondering where all the time went…too many regrets… 

and then I realized…

the time didn’t go anywhere, I just didn’t always choose where to spend it, where to aim, I far too often let my time – my life – slip away!

Now – I am certainly not perfect, and I am not promising a miracle cure – not for you and not for me. But I have learned and I have developed skills and created new habits that I want to share with anyone else who sometimes wonders where the days have gone.

My goal for the month of October is to explore Living Life with Purpose… Living Life Deliberately… Living Life with Considered Choices… 

Will you join me for this series?