(Click here to read and/or save a .PDF of this article, Getting In Touch With Your Core.)
Just about every life management system I’ve seen says to start by writing a statement defining your personal mission, vision, purpose, core values, internal DNA, etc. (In The Two Page Life Plan, I just use all these titles and more… why reinvent the wheel? NOTE: If you’ve stumbled upon this paper without ever having seen The Two Page Life Plan, feel free to contact me and request a copy, or visit the Negative Splits blog – www.negativesplits.cc – where you can learn about it and download the file.)
Regardless of what we call it, the idea is to state, in just a few sentences, your best understanding of why you were put here on Earth. This is, of course, both simple and profound – enough so that I’m going to repeat what I just wrote. Please read slowly. The idea is to state, in just a few sentences, your best understanding of why you were put here on Earth.
This statement will later be used as your measuring stick, compass, tuning fork, plumb line, road map, etc. for decisions and activities that make up your life.
Overall Guidelines – How do you arrive at such an important statement? Here are a few guidelines that may help.
• Recognize that creating this statement is as much about discovery as it is about writing. You will be learning about yourself during this process.
• Accept that this will be hard work. You’ll most likely spend a good amount of time staring at a blank piece of paper or computer monitor, so be sure to schedule at least an uninterrupted hour. Distracting thoughts will flash through your head. You’ll be tempted to abandon the exercise and do something else. Stick with it.
• Environment is a huge factor. Choose a place that is conducive to soul searching and reflecting. If your home or office offers this, great. If not, I like libraries and parks.
• Get quiet. For the first few minutes, do nothing. Just sit, breathe, and consciously get quiet. This can be a very foreign, awkward-feeling experience. That’s OK.
Writing The Actual Statement… Some Techniques and Suggestions – From here the process gets highly personal and will be different for each person. Perhaps one of the techniques below will suit your personality. Or maybe you’ll come up with a method that works better for you. If so, feel free to share it with me. And please don’t think you have to try all these suggestions. Just pick the ones that interest you.
• Start priming the pump. Write down a few key words or phrases that you might want to include in your statement.
• On the top of a page write “The reason I was put here on Earth is…” and then just start rambling. Later you can edit, shorten, etc.
• Use the Franklin Covey Mission Statement Builder. http://www.franklincovey.com/msb/ In my opinion, the actual mission statement that this creates is not that helpful, but the ten-step thought process it uses is a great exercise. When you get to the end, print the results or have them e-mailed to you, and use them to craft your own statement.
• Nightingale Conant also has an online mission statement builder. Again, the final statement is not that exciting, in my opinion, but the process could be helpful. See… http://www.nightingale.com/mission_select.aspx
• Envision your life at age 80. A party is being held in your honor. Who do you want to be there? What do you want them to be saying about you? Etc.
• Think of people you admire – alive or no longer with us. Include those you know and those you never met. What about them impresses you? What would you like to emulate?
• Use other sections of The Two Page Life Plan to help write this statement. These include your beliefs, characteristics, activities that energize you, etc. There are literally dozens of books and hundreds of web sites covering how to write a mission statement, or whatever you want to call it. After studying a good percentage of them, the suggestions above are the best of what I’ve found.
The Next Step… Start Writing. (Then You’re Done For The Day) – Now just get something on paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. Review, edit, re-write, tear it up and start over if you wish. Eventually you’ll arrive at a “good enough” statement. When you get there, you’re done for the day. Pat yourself on the back, because you’ve just accomplished something extremely valuable.
Read And Revise. Then Repeat The Whole Process Periodically – Read your statement regularly, perhaps every day. Revise it as you wish, until you’re perfectly happy with it. That’s when you know you have a final statement (as least for the current season.)
Every six months, or at least once a year, go through this entire process again. If your previous statement still holds, that’s fine. Or you may find that something in your life changed and your statement needs to catch up.
That’s It – I hope this paper will help you get in touch with the core of your being and write a statement that reflects that. Such a statement can be a very positive factor in crafting an effective life. If you’d like to discuss this more, feel free to contact me.
Steve Fales … firstname.lastname@example.org