Let's Get Creative Articles

October 2020 : Issue #1

What’s Inside

These are the two articles from the first issue of October 2020:

  • 6 Steps to Creating a Personal Mission Statement

  • What Does Success Mean to You?

You can view the interactive version HERE, which includes all the content and links to download the worksheets.

Six Steps to Creating a Personal Mission Statement

" Tell me what you pay attention to, and I will tell you who you are." - José Ortega y Gasset

Your mission statement outlines who you are and guides your choices in life. It helps you live your life based on your personal values.

Consider these examples of personal mission statements:

A working parent’s mission statement: “I want to be the best parent I can be and still excel in my sales career. I intend to get involved in a charity foundation that helps other people live safer, more secure, and fulfilling lives.”

A counselor’s mission statement: “My purpose on earth is to assist others in resolving their life struggles and moving on to live their best life possible. It is important to me to spread knowledge through a variety of media such as speaking, writing. I want to experience what it’s like to love and be loved deeply.”

As you can see a mission statement isn’t long or complex yet creating your mission statement will enrich your life in many ways.

The following 6-step process will help you clarify your values and discover what is most important to you. Then, you can create goals that support your mission and move your life toward fulfilling your purpose. Once your mission statement is in place, it becomes a joy to live each day making decisions that are aligned with your values.

Use these steps to design your personal mission statement:

1.    Reflect on your values. Describe the top four or five values that guide your life. Use this worksheet to help you choose yours: Clarifying Your Values Worksheet.

2.    Identify what you want to learn. What skills or knowledge do you need to fulfill your goals based on your values? Do you require more knowledge to work toward achieving your value-based goals? If so, you’ll want to include something about continuous learning or education in your statement.

3.    Think in the short-term. Once you have clarified your values, what do you need to do now and in the near future to be true to your mission in life? What is it you wish to work on over the next year or five years?

4.    Think about your long-term goals. How are your values going to shape your choices for the remainder of your life? It doesn’t matter what your current age is. If you’re reading this, you can have goals for the future. Review your values and ask yourself how you want your journey to unfold.

5.    Ask yourself, “What do I hope to accomplish before I die?” Think in terms of a legacy or how you want to be remembered. This is not related to fame or fortune. This could be as simple as how you want your friends and family to think of you after you die. A mission statement based on your values describes the most important aspect of who you are.

6.    Use concrete language. Be specific about your values and mission in life. Instead of saying, “I want to help people,” describe how you will help. For example, you might say, “I want to help as many people as I can as a social worker in a large city.” Clear and specific language personalizes your mission statement and makes it easier to live by each day.

Naming your values and writing your personal mission statement not only gives your life focus, but it also provides meaning, purpose, and incentive for you to do everything possible to live your best life. You can carry your mission statement in your wallet, make it your screensaver, write it in your planner, or tape it to your mirror. It’s important to keep it front and center, so you can refer to it each day and make choices that align with your values.

Go ahead and create your personal mission statement today. You have a lot of positive living and giving ahead of you!

What Does Success Mean to You?

"I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time."  - Herbert Bayard Swope

Do you have your own definition of success? Too often we allow society to define success for us. As a result, we end up feeling anxious and frustrated because the success we are trying to achieve does not align with our values.

If you spend much time on social media, you will see all kind of posts scrolling through your feeds trying to convince you that this is what success looks like:

  • Fancy cars – Mercedes, BMW, Lexus

  • McMansions – Oversized homes with swimming pools, theater rooms, home gyms, in of, course, a gated community

  • White-collar jobs or owning your own business – something you can brag about that allows you to flash your title or your income in other people’s faces

  • Attractive family – the perfect spouse and kids and perfectly staged family photos

All of these are acceptable IF they represent your personal core values and align with your personal mission statement. However, I encourage you to take some time to define what success means for you. Your definition of success might include a less flashy but more satisfying life: a small garden, RVing, a few close friends, volunteering, backyard barbecues, or living in a warm climate and wearing flip-flops every day. If you pursue success on someone else’s terms you will end up miserable and dissatisfied with your life.

If you are ready to create your own definition of success, ask yourself these questions:

1.     What legacy do I want to leave my children and the world? When you look back on your life, what accomplishments will give you the most satisfaction? Will it be wealth, fame, or a vast business empire? Do you want to leave a string of good works? Do you want to look back on a life full of adventures? What do you need to be doing now to leave that legacy?

  • How do you need to be spending your time?

  • What financial resources do you need?

  • What skills, habits, or tools do you need?

2.     What are my values? Sadly, many people go through life on autopilot having never clarified their personal values. People often have a vague notion of what’s important to them, but few take the time to think about it carefully. Use the Clarifying Your Values Worksheet to discover your core values.

3.     What do I want to do? Make that bucket list! Write down all the things you might like to see and do. It could be something ambitious like climbing a mountain or as simple as learning to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.

4.     What type of life do I want to live? Do you want to be married? Have kids? Stay single and travel the world? Do you want to live in a big city or a small town? These types of questions are yours to answer. You get to decide how your life plays out. This is when knowing your values helps you define what a successful life looks like. Without that clarity, it’s easy to live the life expected of you by family or the life your friends have chosen.

5.     What it will take for me to feel successful? Imagine your life playing out in a variety of scenarios. Write down the scenarios that seem like the best fit for you. Incorporate these into your personal mission statement. Wishful thinking won’t help you succeed. Writing down your goals and mission will help you succeed.

6.     What if the symbols of success were invisible to others? What if you believe owning a Ferrari would make you feel successful, but no one will ever know you have a Ferrari? Would you still feel successful? Your feeling of success should not be dependent on the opinions of others. Create a definition of success that’s meaningful to you, even if others are unaware of your possessions and accomplishments.

There is not a one-size-fits-all definition of success. Success is not dependent on impressing your friends and family. Develop a version of success that is grounded in your values, regardless of society’s values. Striving for your own version of success is much more enjoyable and easier to attain.

How do you define success? At the end of your life, will you like the person you’ve become?