One way to sharpen your focus is to put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—and craft a personal mission statement. It helps zero in on why you’re here (surely there’s more to life than worrying your mother). Which gets us thinking big thoughts about what we want to give and get out of life. Think of your mission as a beacon in the darkness that helps you navigate indecision. It prevents dreams from drifting off course and getting dashed on the rocks of inertia. Whether a single paragraph or a page, your mission can mean the difference between living a life of choice or a life of chance.
First things first
In the time it takes to see a movie, you can finish the first draft of your mission statement. It’s a small price to pay—skipping the latest action flick—for supercharging your own life story. To set the stage:
Find a quiet place and turn off the phones. You may even want to tape a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door.
Get in the zone
Close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths, and mentally go to a calm, peaceful place—a river valley, a mountain glade. Experience it with all your senses and let the tension melt away.
To the extent you can, temporarily suspend your analytical mind and material desires. Open yourself to a deeper source of wisdom. Sure, lofty profits and business awards are worthy goals. But you don’t stand a chance of fulfilling your destiny if your mission is grounded purely in egotism and material desires. As Carl Jung wrote:
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.
Putting it all together
After harvesting all these ideas, I sifted them around and mixed in a few more I plucked from my suddenly fertile imagination. Voila! My mission practically wrote itself. It’s a living document, but here’s my latest:
- To evolve toward an enlightened and loving state.
- To strengthen connections to my Higher Power, family, and friends.
- To grow via education that integrates body, intellect, psyche, and spirit.
- To develop my knowledge and communication skills.
- To build nurturing environments that contribute to the growth of family and friends.
- To contribute to colleagues by helping them develop their talents and productivity.
Next, working draft in hand, set aside ten minutes here and there over the next few weeks and revise. Keep turning ideas in your mind as you garden, golf, or rock on the porch. If you can, get quiet and ask yourself whether there’s any more information. Be still, listen. Keep a note pad ready. When you think you’ve got it, repeat your mission statement out loud a few times to burn it into your consciousness. But don’t just say it. Display it. Frame it and hang it on your office wall, or put it on your desk next to family snapshots. Make a wallet- size copy so it’s always in reach.