Personal Mission Statement

It’s been a long time since I took a class, but I recently signed up for a year of classes through Franklin Covey. Cheesy perhaps, but I’m finding them just what I need in my life right now.  The “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is the basis for the classes (of course) and while I know these are really nothing new in life, it’s good to have them pointed out to us from time to time.

A few of the classes are interactive videos that walk you through the Habits; I just completed 1-3 last night.  One step in the process is to come up with a Personal Mission Statement.  The thought had never once crossed my mind. Sure, I’ve helped with our company Mission Statement, but the idea of a personal one was foreign to me.  Until I thought about it.  What’s the saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”?  I began to wonder if the choices I’ve made in my life would have been different if I’d had a Mission Statement of my own.  So, with the help of the Franklin Covey resources, I’ve started sketching one out.  There are 10 pieces to consider:

Performance:   I’m at my best when…

I’m at my worst when…

Passion:                What do I really love at work…

What do I really love in my personal life…

Talents:                What are my natural talents and gifts?

Imagination:     If I had unlimited time and resources and knew I couldn’t fail, what would I choose to do? (no brainer there, but even I was a bit surprised on what came out along with “be a writer”)

Vision:                  Your life is an epic journey and you are the hero.  What are you doing, who is it for, why are you doing it and what is the journey’s results?

Character:           It’s your 80th birthday.  Who will be there and what tribute statement would you like them to make about you?

Contribution:    What is the most important future contribution would you make to the most important people in your life?

Conscience:     Are there things you feel you should really do or change even though you’d dismissed them many times before? What are they?

Influence:         Name three people who have influenced you and name one quality/attribute for each person

Balance:          What is the single, most important thing you do for balance that gives the greatest impact in these areas:





These are the questions I’m answering to try and help me with my Personal Mission Statement…and each one is a volume of information on who I am (that’s the purpose, duh!).  Each one of these questions makes you stop and truly consider what is important and dig into who you really are.  What you want, what you desire, what you need to be completely true to yourself.  What if we taught THIS in high school?  What if every teenage child was asked to create a Mission Statement and to be true to it?  Think of the understanding they could gain from their lives.  Think of the direction it would give them in some of their most turbulent times.  Why AREN’T we teaching this?

I find the idea of a Personal Mission Statement much like spiritual guidance; we are asked to look deep within, pull out everything that truly means something to us, and put it on paper.  We are asked to live with truth and balance in our lives based on our OWN needs and desires.  Will it change as we age? Of course!  But the basics will always be there.  It’s a guide to our own heart, soul and deepest needs that no one else can provide.  People often live their lives based on religious doctrine set down by others, but rarely create their own.  If God is in each and every one of us, doesn’t it only make sense that He/She has given us our own doctrine deep within? We just need to dig down, find it, and live by it.

One sample was “I hope to be the person my dog already thinks I am”.  Think of the power that small statement has.  How it would shape your thoughts and actions towards yourself and others!  Mine is a work in progress and I promise to publish the finished product here 🙂  

Listen to Your Narrator

Is this real life, or is it just fantasy….

As a writer and avid reader I am always looking for the metaphor in situations; what does it really mean? In novels it’s rare that the main character sees what’s really happening.  People say one thing and mean another.  Sometimes, if we’re lucky, the narrator will tell us what’s happening in the other person’s mind. Reality doesn’t give us the luxury.  We have to try and figure it out for ourselves.   This is where my overactive, creative mind leads me astray. I try so hard to seek the metaphor that I completely miss the point.  I miss the actual WORDS and morph them into something else.  I run scenario after scenario around in my mind until I pick the one that fits snugly into the little world I’ve created.

But even in my own novels, while there may be twists and turns, the truth comes out in the end.  The truth eventually sets you straight and everything becomes clear.  Even in the world I’d created the truth finally reared its ugly head. I wasn’t completely surprised; deep down I had known all along.  No matter how many meanings I swirled around in my mind and no matter how I crafted my own world around them, I knew, I knew in my gut that I was fooling myself. I knew what the true reality was.  I just refused to listen to the narrator. Life does give us a narrator; not into the minds of the characters surrounding us perhaps, but into our own mind. It warns us when we are being foolish.  It warns us when we need to pay attention. We just need the ability to listen. I ignored those pangs of warning, the grumblings deep within telling me that something wasn’t right. Instead, I chose to soldier blindly on.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary:


noun \ˌin-tü-ˈi-shən, -tyü-\

: a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why

I think we all know what it means.  That little voice in your head…that little feeling in your gut that guides you or warns you that something isn’t right.  Hunch. Inkling.  I heard it. I just chose to ignore it.  But it only prolonged the pain.

Like learning to dance along to the music, I’ve learned the importance of listening to my narrator.  Listening to the warning signs bubbling in my existence. I need to get back in touch and feel the rhythmic hums warning me that all is not well. I was stupid, but I wasn’t blind. I chose to close my eyes.   But I won’t beat myself up. Like all good characters, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’ve grown.  Every experience is a blessing or a lesson.  The only difference is how you perceive it.