I think I’ve told you before that I love to read. Mostly books that make me think, so lots of “self-help” or “self-growth” type books. Every now and then I will find a good fictional book that I find I relate back to my life as well. Yes, this brain of mine really is a beautiful thing! I very rarely watch the movie made from a book because it taints my image of the characters or leaves out what I deem the most important parts of a good read (sorry movie producers). To date, I can proudly say I have not watched one Hairy Potter movie!
Anyway back to the current book. It’s called “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. It is very much a business type book related to great leaders inspiring everyone to take action. As I am reading it, I am finding I am once again relating it back to my everyday life (I know, you are all probably shocked!) It is almost the perfect book for me, in that I question almost everything! Annoys the hell out of people that question very little. I am forever asking why. Why did he do it that way? Why was this done this way? Why, why, why. I use to actually cause a lot of grief in classrooms asking why. I believe it was grade 4 or 5 that I challenged a math teacher. We were learning some theory or another. Frustrated that I wasn’t grasping the concept, I spoke out (I know, again those that know me, reading this, are probably shocked!). WHY do we have to do it this way?? WHY can’t I do it a different, easier way?? The answer (from an equally frustrated teacher… BECAUSE THAT IS THE WAY IT IS DONE!
Mumbled under my breath, I asked once again… but why?? It’s dumb this way.
I have been searching for a new job lately. One of the first things I do when researching a company I am applying to or that I have an interview with is search their website for the “why”. Why are they doing the business they do. This is usually found in a mission or vision statement about the company. Of course that got me thinking… why do we not have vision or mission statements for our personal lives? Maybe some do. In their heads. Maybe some people have a very clear vision of where they are heading personally. Not related to business or their careers, but in their personal life. I would venture a guess that most do not. Hence all the personal growth books out there. Or the memes that are inspirational. Or the quotes that we like that relate back to us. But what about a personal mission and vision statement about you?
I have had the experience of writing both a mission and vision statement when I owned my own corporate event planning company. It’s not as easy as you think! One of the first questions I would ask a client when considering if I would take them on as a client, was the why of the event. Most times the answer was because they had always done it. Or it was needed. Yes, I understood all that but WHY?? More times than not, they could not come up with a very valid why.
Back to my own why. Why do I do the things I do? Why do I act certain ways in certain situations? Why do I choose one way or another? Why? Why? Why?
Wikipedia states that…
A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person, its reason for existing.
WOW! That is a lot of stuff to think about. My reason for existing?? That would be a pretty bold statement, don’t you think? Well, I certainly do. It’s not like I’m going to get graded on this (right??). Let’s break this into easier steps…
• What are your values? Do you believe in honesty, justice, kindness, and self-reliance?
• Who has inspired you? Do you want to have qualities similar to those folks? Figure out what those qualities are and list them.
• What big events impacted your life? Reflect on these big moments and the lessons you learned from them.
• What do you love about your life? Your work? Your family, friends, and other relationships?
• When are you at your best? Your worst? What would you like to improve about yourself? What would you like to share with others?
• If you had unlimited resources and unlimited time, what would you choose to do?
• What promises would you make to yourself?
Got this off of http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Personal-Mission-Statement
Point #1 – My Values
I have always been one to cheer for the underdog. I believe that you are only as good as your word. I believe that you should be honest to yourself, the rest will follow. I believe that you should be open minded enough to not miss out on an opportunity, but not so open minded that you allow your life to be led by others. I believe that a smile goes a long way. It doesn’t cost extra to be kind. Have words of encouragement along with criticism. There is absolutely nothing wrong with losing or winning. Be gracious at both. I wish I had patience, but am learning that. There is never an excuse for being mean just to be mean.
Point #2 – Who Has Inspired Me
That is a pretty long list. From teachers I had in school to team members I have worked with. I am the type of person that cries happy tears for someone else’s accomplishments. Anyone that has set a goal and overcome obstacles with integrity is my hero.
Point #3 – Big Events
The birth of each of my children – just like they are now, each one so different.
The baby we lost when I was 5 months pregnant
My Marriage and also my divorce
Purchasing my house
Sending my oldest son away to school
Job beginnings and job endings
The over lying theme in each big event in my life has been that mistakes are made, learn what you can, and strive to move forward. Preferably with a smile.
Point #4 – Loving Life
I truly do love my life. Yes, there are ways to improve. I feel like every day should be a lesson to grasp something. I have some pretty awesome kids. My brothers and I are not as close as I would like but we do get along. My Mom and Dad have been there for me in some of my most life changing situations. I have a great group of people I call friends. Some relationships have ended but I learned from those.
Point #5– All About Me
Well, this is a little more difficult because I am a work in progress. I know that I am at my worst when I am tired. When I feel I am cornered. When I can’t see the good in things. I am at my best when I have a smile on my face. When I feel like I am meeting life’s challenges. There are so many things that I am learning as I go through life. I could not narrow down one thing I would like to improve on, there are many. Not that I think I am a bad person, but there is so much to build on!
Point #6 – Unlimited Resources and/or time
I have played the “what if I win the lottery” game many times. The first thing I would do is travel. There is so much world to see! The second is to ensure my loved ones were taken care of. I would never leave my kids a large sum of money. That wouldn’t make them hungry to carve out their own dreams. I would ensure they had just the right amount to be able to do the things they needed but still had to strive for what they wanted. There are no free rides in life and the only place you ever get to start at the top, is when you are digging a hole (don’t know who said this, but man was he/she smart)
Point #7 – Promises to me
First and foremost I promise to keep learning. To keep searching. To keep aspiring for more. But most of all I promise to forgive myself for what I view as my flaws. This promise in itself is a continue work in progress.
So that is step 1 of creating my personal mission statement. I will continue to work on this and bring you more in future blogs. I think the hardest part will be to narrow all these things down into one statement. I am a believer in writing things out though. It seems more real to me to see it written down on paper. So I wonder if there are other brave souls out there willing to take a hard look at themselves and do the same…