Loyal readers to this blog will remember my entry last week where I discussed mission statements and how to create your own personal statement without sounding like you took it from a random word generator. After I wrote the column I had planned on doing other things (like clean or watch television) but something about this exercise really got me excited and motivated. So I kept the TV off and ignored the dust bunnies and sat down with my favorite notebook and started writing. Using my friend Jaymi’s article as my guide, I began listing my goals, my legacy and my values and how I can wrap them all up into a tidy package consisting of one or two sentences.
As a former journalist, I used to write sixty-second stories about traffic accidents, political rallies and city council meetings. It was hard for me not to want to stop after I got my most basic values on paper. Things like honesty, laughter, exploring and working hard were a good start but I felt like I only scratched the surface and it wasn’t enough. So I continued listing values like helping people tap into their abilities, being creative, contributing, getting lost and LIVING! I was getting more comfortable with where the list was going so I added helping people along their paths, showing people their true potentials, enjoying music, being responsible and having something to show for my hard work.
I probably could have written three more pages of values (and maybe I still will) but I was beginning to repeat myself. Jaymi wrote about whittling the list down to 3 to 5 values so I did that and was ready to move on to the next step: Identify goals and what you want to contribute. I started with the most outrageous (contributing writer to the NY Times, future producer of Anthony Bourdain’s TV show No Reservations) to the most approachable (finish writing a book by the end of the year) to everything in between (developing and producing a podcast, making money writing, etc).
I re-read the list and liked the honesty about what I wanted (even if some of the things seem crazy at this point) and liked where it was heading. I summarized my ideas at the end of my goals and contributions page and put the notebook away for a few days. I needed to let it muddle together in my brain and form a flavorful soup.
A couple of days passed and I thought about this exercise as I was riding the train home trying to ignore the crazy people behind me. I brought my notebook with me that day and whipped it out and working on the the final phase of the exercise: Write. I wrote about what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I wrote about what I needed right now and what I could live without for a while (Tony Bourdain doesn’t know of my brilliance. Yet). I wrote and wrote until the light bulb went off and I had my mission statement:
To use my eclectic skills and interests to make the world a more creative and curious place.
It fits with everything I value and want and is adaptable as my needs and goals continue to change. It felt like someone had handed me a map and a flashlight and told me to start walking.
What about you? Did you follow Jaymi’s advice and create your own? I’d like to hear about your journey to find your mission statement. Maybe I’ll even write about it here. Comment and let me know!