Do You Have A Life Mission?
What is your purpose?
If you’re like most people, you have no idea how to answer that question, because you’ve never considered it. Or if you have considered it, you're probably like me, and the answer is always, "I have no fucking clue."
I have a good idea about what my life's mission is now, but it took me years to figure it out. It has a lot to do with what you're passionate about, and how you define success for yourself.
Writing a mission statement:
- Forces you to consider your life's purpose (because who hasn't asked "what's the meaning of all this bullshit?").
- Gives your life direction (which is something we all want, let's just be honest).
- And it gives you something to measure your progress by (without comparing yourself to others).
Want a few ideas about considering your mission, and your life purpose? Keep reading, cause I've got some doozies for you!
Determine The Person You Want To Be
Start by imagining your future. Are you a motivational speaker? Are you an author? Do you just want to enjoy vacations with the family?
Whatever your desires are, ask yourself what characteristics or qualities that person has?
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and assume that you can become anything you desire.
Who would you want to be? What do want to stand for? Most of us never consider what foundational beliefs we are willing to stand for. But if you write out a few that you know are true for you (and not just beliefs you've adopted from other people in your life), you can figure out what's most important to you in life.
Trip-up warning: don't let what everyone else's thinks should be important in life be important for you unless it's authentically what you consider to be important.
Consider Your Idols
Who are the people you look up to? The people you most admire can leave clues about what is most important and impressive to you. Whose life would you like to live? It can even be someone from the past. Whom did you admire when you were a child? It might be a relative or neighbor.
You can even search online for mission statements of people you admire. A lot of people post them on their websites. Is there a motivational speaker you look up to? Is there a spiritual leader who is the public eye that you look up to? See if you can pick out a few keywords that resonate with you in their "About" pages.
Trip-up warning: don't let yourself get into a place of comparing yourself with these people. No, they probably aren't the exception to the rule, and yes, you can do exactly what they do, but this is not an opportunity to dive into self-judgment, and comparison syndrome. Try to remain objective, and only look at what they tout as their mission, purpose, or the things they stand for in life.
Imagine Your Final Days
Picture yourself at the end of your life. What would you like to see when you look back on your life? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Are there specific people you would want to have met, or certain qualities you would've wanted to develop? Or maybe you realize that the most important thing to you at that stage of life isn't the collection of twelve cars you have parked in your garage, but the quality of friends you've surrounded yourself with.
Write Your Mission Statement
By this time, you probably have enough to start trying on different word arrangements, and picking out a statement that resonates with your heart and soul. Take a few of those keywords, and a few of those key beliefs, and the things that are important to you, and write them up in a short paragraph.
Try limiting yourself to three or four sentences. Hone in on the essential elements. Describe the things that are most important to you. There’s no reason to feel tied down to anything you write now. You’re in control. You can always make adjustments in the future.
Set appropriate goals.
Now that you have a general direction, set some goals that support your mission statement. Even if they're just tiny things, what can you do today to begin bringing your desired life into fruition? Remember the person you described in that first step way up above? What kind of goals would that person pursue?
Trip-up warning: just a quick reminder to stay away from that comparison syndrome stuff. It's sneaky, so keep a watchful eye.
This is always the challenging part. We're humans, and we love imagining, daydreaming, and even (for some of us) planning out steps to take. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we balk when it’s time to actually take action.
Remember to pick the easiest things to do first. Make a list of the steps you'd need to take in order to accomplish your goal, and then order them from easiest to hardest. I like to use number one as the easiest, and number-whatever as the hardest.
Trip-up warning: you can get stuck in Analysis Paralysis here. That means you could start numbering your items, and then start second-guessing ("Well maybe that one is actually the hardest.") Try not to do that. Just number them, one-to-whatever, and maybe take one or two more stabs at the easiest-to-hardest order. But after that, just stop thinking about which is which, and get going.
This is one of my favorite steps because I love doing self inventories! Every now again, just take out your list of steps, and see what you've done, and what you haven't. And at some point, maybe revisit your Mission Statement. Has it changed? Have you grown a bit, and need to rethink what's most important? Or maybe you've accomplished your goal, and now it's time to come up with another one.
How could you make your goals more socially conscious? What is working for you and what is not working?
As you grow, learn, and redesign yourself over and over, your experiences will teach you what is most important to you. Remember: it's okay not to put much stock in what everyone else says is supposed to be important. Maybe what they want just doesn't hold that much significance for you, and that's okay.
Want to know what my mission statement is?
I spent 30 years learning and re-learning spiritual techniques, technologies, and tools to express Spirit in my everyday life, and to empower and improve my life as a result. And I want to do that for other people, too. I want to teach people all the stuff I learned over the last 30 years that allows joy, adventure, and a greater sense of peace, faith, and happiness to permeate everyday life.