Crafting a Personal Mission Statement: Your Path to Purpose

To listen to this month’s blog, click here.

Have you ever found yourself wondering, in some quiet moment: ‘Is this all there is?’ Those whispers from within, hinting at a deeper yearning for happiness, satisfaction, or a clearer direction in life, are more common than you think. Life’s routine of paying bills and tackling emergencies may be balanced with wonderful trips, memorable family occasions and fun hobbies… but what truly fulfills us is pursuing these with an overarching sense of purpose.

Creating a personal mission statement is like drawing a map for the journey. Imagine navigating each day with a clear sense of purpose, leading to a life that’s not only more productive and happier, but truly fulfilling!

Without a personal roadmap, your life’s path can feel dictated by randomness, responsibilities and at times, the will of others. But it doesn’t have to be. A personal mission statement, crafted through curiosity, introspection and a bit of soul-searching, can illuminate your own vision and values, leading you to live your best life. 

Interested? Here’s a step-by-step guide:  

“Begin with the End in Mind” – Stephen Covey

To start, set up a folder or get a notebook devoted to the purpose. As you work with the steps below, jot ideas down and let writing flow. Anything you write down has a far more profound effect.  You can also record voice memos as ideas come, then make notes on what stood out after. The way this works is to mine for the thoughts and answers inside you, the place where your genuine resources reside. You’ll find by tapping into them they will organically take on a shape which you can hone into a truly authentic personal mission statement.  

  • Discover Your Strengths

To start, identify what you excel at, both professionally and personally. Highlight activities that bring you peace, joy, or that sense of being in the zone. Understanding what you’re good at and what brings you happiness is crucial for setting a clear focus.

  • Determine Your Values

Consider the question, “What is life asking of me?” Reflect on what meaning drives your responsibilities and contributions to your family and friends, in your community and at work. Now, think of your heroes. Which of their qualities inspire you or are ones you’d like to emulate. Pinpointing those contributions you find to be of worth and fulfilling will be the bedrock principles by which to guide your future actions.

  • Envision Your Best Self

Now that you’ve reacquainted yourself with your strengths and values and what makes you feel most useful and happy in each role, envision yourself at your best TODAY. It’s not about reaching back for attributes from younger years – you’ve already been there. Instead, reflect on moments you’ve felt most alive and fulfilled and jot those down as clues. It’s about who you want to be now, and how you want to make choices to effectively build the best life that is truest for you. 

  • Define Your Purpose

Assess these key areas of your life—physical, mental, social, spiritual—and how living your values should serve each. It can be clearer to you if you also list the roles you have, and do the same –two slightly different ways to get a well rounded purpose.  This isn’t an exercise about achievements you shoot for, but about detecting the principles you want to live by and who you aspire to become.

  • Envision Your Legacy

Fast forward to the future: What do you want to be remembered for by the people important to you and in each role you play? This vision can act as a powerful motivator for shaping your actions and decisions. When daily life can make you forget, or if you’re at a crossroads, remembering what you envision here can suddenly simplify your choices, often making the right one stand out clearly. 

  • Set Your Long View Goals

With all the groundwork laid, you can now articulate a few key, overarching goals. While we have many goals day to day or year to year, for this, look to broader, long range goals. Some examples may be: To cultivate a deep, trusting relationship with my life partner, to raise kids who know they are loved and valued for exactly who they are, to build a business that serves others and has a strong and satisfied staff, to be known as a person of integrity in business and my personal relationships. 

  • Write Your Mission Statement

This statement should be your guiding light, succinct yet comprehensive enough to give you direction both daily and in the long term. Whether it’s a flowing paragraph or two or bullet points, the clarity of your mission is what matters most.

A personal mission statement is more than words on paper; it’s a living document that evolves as you do. It’s about:

  • Leading a life aligned with your deepest priorities.
  • Navigating daily challenges with an eye on your long-term vision.
  • Steering clear of distractions that don’t serve your mission.
  • Becoming a creative force in your life and a positive influence on others.

In crafting your personal mission statement, you’re not just plotting a course for success but defining the very essence of your life’s journey. It’s your own constitution that aligns with your personal “Why’s” to guide both your daily actions and long-term outcomes – so worth investing a little time to do with interest and curiosity. Enjoy the process, for it is in this creation that you’ll find a deeper connection to your purpose and a more profound sense of direction in everything you do.  

And you’ll want to regularly review, revise, and refresh your mission statement to ensure it continues to reflect your deepest values and goals.

If you feel stuck or are struggling to define any of the steps above, it can help to flesh things out in conversation with a trusted mentor, teacher or coach. If you would like help to get started, to talk through any step where you may be stuck or need clearer vision, or want to revise a former mission statement, I’m here to help! Just contact me and we can discuss what best supports you on this very worthy endeavor.

 

How Creativity Enhances Your Ability To Lead

I coach leaders of all kinds, with a focus on their own development of themselves. Learning how creativity enhances your ability to lead is an important skill to hone, especially in today’s new work world. Several of my blogs speak to this, particularly February’s on adding self care to your leadership toolkit.   Seeking to add creativity into self care, elevates the benefits in your professional roles as well as within your self personally. 

Creative time can filter into your work life as enhanced problem solving and innovation, visionary thinking, and improved connection with staff.  An added bonus is your own continued career satisfaction and growth!  Both harmonize with how business is changing from the top down model of leadership to this brave new work world we’re navigating.

Forbes echoes this, saying, ‘effective leadership can require inspiration, which is often better evoked through curiosity and imagination rather than pragmatism.’ 

QUALITIES OF A CREATIVE LEADER

So how do you distinguish what makes a creative leader?  When you read the list, I bet you will think of a few people this describes.  Most of them are quite successful — like Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. But you don’t have to be at that level of wealth, notoriety or celebrity. There are many, many creative leaders making differences in their way in all levels of the work world.

  • They are intuitive, passionate, authentic 
  • They are curious, think out of the box
  • They inspire and invite ideas and creativity of their team or in their company
  • They grasp that business models are changing, as is the world
  • They will take risks, and are willing to make mistakes
  • They can see and make connections, and strive for everyone winning
 
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
 

HOW TO ADD CREATIVITY:

While I have suggested breaks for self care through the day, adding in creativity works on a whole different level.  Rather than doing a chore or surfing the net, try some of these:

  • Go to a museum, or an outdoor sculpture garden. 
  • Paint, learn a craft, wood work, fly a kite, do a puzzle – especially if you’ve never done them before.
  • Take your camera out specifically to photograph things for the sake of seeing differently. Do a study on the weeds in your yard, the patterns on your front steps or kitchen floor, spider webs – you name it. Art is everywhere. 
  • Repair or restore something with your own hands.
  • Play music.  Lay on the couch or floor and listen to every note like you did in high school! Dance to it. Sing.
  • Put yourself fully in the moment with grandkids and see the world as newly as they do. Engage fully in their activities with them – finger painting, frosting cupcakes, blowing bubbles, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
  • Spend time in your local library – preferably in the hidden areas.  National Geographic and Time have gorgeous images to look at and interesting stories to read.
  • You know the coffee table books that are mostly decor? Crack one open, and take the time to enjoy it. 
  • If you’re a hiker, biker, kayaker, or boater, do it wearing “different colored lenses’. Turn your attention from tracking miles, speed or heart rate to truly noticing  the nature around you, how your body feels with each motion.  
  • Break your routines. Try something entirely new. Say yes to things you often say no to, just to see what you learn. Go a different route and explore some new surroundings.
  • Find time for introspection. It really frees your mind and allows creativity to enter!  This could include swinging on a hammock, driving yourself to a park with few people with a picnic lunch, meditating, dancing to some favorite music, or taking a bath 
  • You may want to keep a private journal as you go. Writing something down has a way of setting intentions in your subconscious and you will be amazed at how things manifest. 
  • Educate yourself more on a topic. Read articles, do a workshop, talk to a coach.

Finding Time was my most read blog post, which confirms that it is half the battle as people strive to work new activities into their lives. I recommend reading it, as it offers solid ways to create more time to do what you really want or need to do. Even if you don’t want to add anything new to your current activities, you can achieve creative benefits by simply shifting your perspective while doing what you are doing- arguably a creative act in itself!  I’m suggesting you give a try, even for a month – and preferably a lifetime!

This video by John Spencer helps to define what I mean.

INCORPORATE CREATIVITY AT WORK

After you’ve been doing a few of these things, shift the skill of thinking from a different perspective to your work life. What is an alternate approach to your daily responsibilities and interactions with clients and co-workers? What would be some ways to bring creativity into your work and see how that develops?

  • Can you set new goals using your expanded perspective?
  • Who exhibits creative leadership in the company, your field, or the world?  Observe them, read their articles, books, or biographies. Follow them on social media, watch their interviews or output on youtube, and LEARN. 
  • What situations are opportunities to practice using your intuition instead of only relying on your head, or being led by the bottom line?
  • If you have new ideas, how can you express them constructively with others on your team?
  • What of your work or role requires the most creativity? Can you do that in the hours when you feel the freshest?  

I have written about the paradigm shift that has happened in business, jump started by Covid 2+ years ago. That business model of the future is here. There will be a direct correlation with how much it will thrive based on how you and/or your company embraces and acclimates to it – at a time when interesting the right people to fill roles and being sure they have what they need to deliver their best work is imperative. New roles are being created – ie: remote work schedulers, online meeting trainers, touch-less technologies, take out and pick up or delivery services,  online sales managers, etc… Employee well being, inclusiveness and safety concerns are more top of the list, and as a leader, working creativity into your perspective and reflecting that in your actions will take you where you need to go. 

If you would like support in working through how to utilize creativity in your role as a leader, let’s talk.

How to Find More Time

How to find more time has been a bit of a quest for the holy grail of modern life, well before the added challenges we’re facing today. But it is possible to find time. We manage to find a way to meet the new grandbaby, take a dream trip, or book a necessary medical procedure, no matter how busy we are. But how can we apply that day to day?

The last 2 years of the pandemic and all the ways it’s affected our daily lives has really had an impact – so first, we each need to give ourselves a break. The way to get through this is to ground ourselves by creating deeper meaning and order in our own lives. Getting clear on true priorities, based on our values, then making room for them goes a long way in staying centered in the midst of it all. 

If you want help to identify those things, visit both the November and December blogs. 

Either way, how do you find the time to do what you need to?  We all have the same 24 hours to work with. Some manage it well. You can be one of those people. How?

We can make time for what’s important if we stop giving it away to what’s not.

Take a pause here. Let that sink in. 

How To Find More Time

Write down a list of where you misspend your time. Let yourself think on this for a good while, so the less obvious ways will arise. Be really honest here, because it’s this list that will empower you to create a more rewarding life. 

Examples are:

  • Constantly checking emails and texts
  • Meaningless scrolling through Social Media
  • Over-watching TV (rehashed news stories, games or sports)
  • Overdoing anything to excess- shopping, eating, sleeping, cleaning 
  • Doing low priority items as a way of putting off important ones
  • Falling down a rabbit hole on the internet
  • Unnecessary meetings, or poorly run ones
  • Saying ‘yes’ to too much – especially to social “obligations”
  • Lack of priorities or of keeping them top of mind daily
  • Doing for others what they can (and should?) do for themselves
  • Trying to do it all, perfectly

The last two are time killers indeed. 

Create Solutions 

Now that you’ve located some real time wasters, the good news is, you can create your own solutions! 

Make room for a brainstorming session- even if you have to drive to some park bench to get it. Take one item at a time and come up with practical ways to solve the time waster. Take into account both behavior changes and internal drivers – how your thinking may need to shift, and that you may need to inform some people that changes are afoot. This makes it all easier to change.

Improve Work Habits

We kind of fell into our habits with emails, texts and social media… and now they contribute to the countless interruptions to our day. So it is totally accomplishable to walk into new habits to restore some order, focus and productivity. Set times to check email and texts, ie: for the first half hour at your desk, then just before or after lunch, and again an hour before you leave.

Explore your notifications and sounds on all your devices. Set up a special ring for the emergency ones, and learn how to turn all others off so you take the lead, rather than every ping yanking you out of where you need to be. 

Follow by blocking time for uninterrupted work. People will get to know that you don’t answer your phone for personal calls until lunch time (or while driving, or on Sunday mornings for that matter). If you have to, tell the 5 people who expect an immediate response to non-essential texts that you’re shifting how you do things.

Curate Your Consciousness

Become aware of what goes into your head each day – news, music, relatives, clients, bosses and their needs or  problems, plus your own inner commentary on it all. When it all is too much, why not decide to watch only funny movies, or read rom coms instead of the new White House tell all? It’s OK to protect your psyche! 

Scale Down Social Media

A big part of consciousness curation is your social media habits. Is it time to go through your friends list on FB, Twitter, IG, etc and let go of who you don’t really know, or whose been a bit of a drag?  Be thoughtful about it, Maybe you can’t just delete a cousin without issue, but check your privacy settings. You can hide their posts for some time, or make a list of FB of what friends can’t see your posts. 

If you are going to spend some time scrolling each day, you might as well  se and hear things that raise your serotonin, feeds your hope and strength, teaches you something or brings joy. It can still be a sink hole but at least your feed will be positive. 

Go down your list and add at least one solution to each time waster till you complete the list. Don’t expect to shift it all overnight. It took time to make the habits, so give yourself a little time to make new ones. Keep this front and center and keep working at it.  If you see it as the way to spend more time on who and what really matters to you, you will succeed!

As you enter the new year, now is a great time to make meaningful changes. I offer private coaching sessions and can partner with you to help you live your best life.

Let’s Connect and get started!

The Key to Great Leadership Is Courage

Superhero Team with Capes Graphic

The key to great leadership is courage, especially now, in these times of uncertainty and change.  

When you think of having courage – what’s the first image that comes to mind? A superhero in the power stance, cape flowing? A mother fighting for her child’s welfare? A person putting themselves at risk to save someone else? How about facing an employee — or a board — to navigate a difficult issue… or truly listening when your team’s opinions are different than yours? They all require courage. Because courage comes in many shapes and forms. 

The pandemic has advanced this to a whole new level. It led to creating new practices and policy on the fly, new needs to work around like childcare, health care and a host of distractions and emotions. 

Now more than ever, courage is needed in leadership. Let’s look at five specific kinds of that courage. 

1. Leadership Courage

There are business goals, deadlines and budgets to meet, using daily processes and systems, while striving for exceptional client and market communications. Add that those have to be accomplished while managing people’s new needs, losing some to layoffs or FOMO, handling unexpected losses (or profits) that are way off projections, almost all of it juggled via a virtual environment. Leadership courage is navigating those waters while communicating clear expectations, trusting enough to delegate, holding people accountable, and working with any performance issues so they can rise to their potential. It also means letting someone go (even if they are brilliant) because it’s mucking with company culture. Courage is doing what is right for business, morale and harmony, even if it may be tough to do.

2. Social Courage 

This is about what you uniquely bring to the table, being brave enough to understand the power of your authentic voice, and knowing when to express it – and when not to.   What you have to offer may be a risk to put out there but the upside is it could be a game changer! Social courage is not just being bold, but the art of knowing when and how to go there. Done with a mixture of confidence and openness to feedback, the value you bring will stand out. 

3. Intellectual Courage

There is a lot of reward in this brand of courage, which presents as being open minded to others ideas, as well as thinking ourselves out of our own boxes. Here we step out of our comfort zone, healthfully question, work with others, and even become willing to blunder in service of solutions!  It can be tough to do when there is such pressure to be the hero or always right, but the truly heroic path is open discourse for the greater good, regardless of differences. Intellectual courage wins respect and creates trust and safety. 

4. Moral Courage

Your integrity is the fuel for this kind of courage. It’s about the ability to do what’s right, even when it may produce pushback or judgement.  To say what you mean, and more importantly, act on what you know in your gut is gratifying and lights the way for others to do the same. The world needs it now too. If your work aligns with your inner compass, values and ethics, you will have a true and fulfilling sense of purpose which serves the highest and best of all involved. Win/win. 

5. Emotional Courage

This year has honed our emotional courage, even if we didn’t realize it. Overnight we were forced to tolerate total upheaval and the unknown — and take the next steps anyway, no matter what we may be feeling. Those emotions are utilized as we go. We need this courage because the landscape of our lives, especially at work, are not returning to what it was. It takes courage to adopt new practices, sort and make the best of the feelings it brings up and dive back in.  Even if you put everything into it and experience some failures or end up with a different outcome than you had planned, you have not lost — you have led by example. 

The key to great leadership is courage

When leaders make a conscious effort to identify which types of courage they are good at and which they need to build, they not only grow more at ease and empowered in their role but become an invaluable contributor to every individual, team, client and company they interact with.  

As you read over these types of courage ask yourself: Which do I already do well? What stood out to polish as I strive to lead others? 

Once you find what you resonate with, it’s about how you’ll step up. If you want to discuss these forms of courage, or working with them to make your leadership shine, I am more than happy to help. Let’s connect! 

Becoming aware of these kinds of courage will create a shift in your perspective. You may find yourself operating a little (or a lot) differently with both challenges and people. The benefits you will see in time will confirm that you indeed have that essential courage.

And you won’t even need a cape!

How To Transition Toward Your New Work-Life Balance

Salisbury Rail Trail

You may be wondering how to transition toward your new work-life balance, as mandates relax and many advance through opening phases. What will that look like? And how do you get from here to there?

What a year! While the US may be starting to emerge after dealing with a mysterious and confusing pandemic, other countries are in the throes, while some are virtually Covid-free… but all it takes is a glance at the news to know what’s happening around the globe, and that affects us all.

START WITH WHERE YOU ARE

It’s been stressful for everyone. There have been countless articles and TV specials covering ever-changing medical updates, how to keep fit, handle holidays, look good online and even open your mail! As we begin to surface from it all, many find ourselves exhausted, grappling with various comfort levels, and navigating a new frontier while earning a living. Many have worked all through the lockdowns – trying to stay afloat in a local business or Zooming at home at makeshift desks alongside kids and pets.

How do you process the strong desire to connect while respecting your (and others) concerns and normalize fears when Covid isn’t gone yet? It’s not the same world, so we won’t be going back to the same office. Not all of our co-workers may return. Our favorite place for lunch may be closed. There will be different routines developed and continually evolving hybrids.

It’s A LOT of adjustment.

Many of us are afraid to go back. Some are chomping at the bit. Others want to retire or do something entirely different. How do we navigate all that with intention, thoughtfulness and grace? It all depends on where you’re at.

FIVE QUESTIONS

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out. Find a quiet time when fresh with a nice cup of something, and take these at your own pace.

1. What did you learn from experiencing this pandemic?

    • What did you discover is important to you?
    • What have you learned you can live without?

2. What benefits or hidden blessings did you experience?

3.What do you hope to remember about this time of global shutdown?

4. What parts of quarantine life, and practices do you want to keep?

5. What support do you need moving forward?

    • What would that look like?
    • Who and what can help?

It may take some time to find the answers, but they are in you… and they are crucial to explore. I invite you to take this opportunity to review what you want – and don’t — and get some clarity around that which you don’t want to lose sight of as you ease back.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

It’s one thing to orchestrate the answers in your personal life, but how do you do that at work? Whether you’re in charge or report to someone, the company is figuring it out too. Here’s some thoughts:

  • What are your options for a phased in approach at the company?
  • Are they considering a hybrid or rotational work model?
  • What do you need to do to feel comfortable in terms of a clean workplace, the ability to mask or distance while at work?
  • How do you open up lines of communications, for employees, co-workers and employers?
What we all have in common is the place to start. ~ Doris Roach

A lot of that communication needs to happen. Degrees of comfort will vary as much as each individual.  Some feel a vaccine is a free pass, some are still wearing double masks and scared, and many are in between, perhaps taking care of a high risk person at home. The good news is, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to adjusting at work. What we all have in common is the place to start.

Whether you must return soon, have been working all through this, or aren’t sure what’s next, these questions will move you into new thinking that will come in handy. If don’t have the luxury of finding a window of free time to sit with these questions, you can still mull them over when you’re commuting, on break, showering, mowing the lawn or walking the dog!  Give yourself permission to think a new work-life balance through internally. Take one at a time, read more on the topic, talk to others. All will create a shift, even if subtly, and answers will come.

I am one of those people you can talk to, especially if you are struggling or want guidance in going deeper. Contact me and let’s talk about what you need! I’m here to help.