Having a purpose in life, a mission, something bigger than yourself and your personal needs is valuable in several ways. In Ohio there is a Leadership Development Institute who defines the value of writing a mission statement this way:
- It forces you to think deeply about your life, clarify the purpose of your life, and identify what is really important to you.
- It forces you to clarify and express succinctly your deepest values and aspirations.
- It imprints your values and purposes firmly in your mind so they become a part of you rather than something you only think about occasionally.
- Integrating your personal mission statement into your weekly planning, gives you a way to keep your vision constantly before you.
Can you see how a mission statement is different than just having some goals for the year? In fact your goals could and should support your life mission, whereas just having goals not tied to a mission, would make it very easy to just throw them away without any deep thought.
Most of all a mission statement should inspire you! Have you created one for yourself or how about a family mission statement? I believe that a mission statement is the beginning of keeping a family operating as a unit, on the same page, one that has a purpose – beyond the narcissistic ways we see so many operating today. Share your statement with us on Facebook. Like Balanced Life Skills while you are there.
Want some help? This is a great resource – http://literacy.kent.edu/Oasis/Leadership/mission.htm
This is the time of the year to be setting goals and creating our action plans. Those who are successful at reaching their goals do so because they make a plan and share their plan with others, creating an accountability factor. In our last post we talked about how procrastination is the number one reason we do not reach our goals. There are other attitudes and ways of thinking that help push us right into procrastination. One of them is Projection.
Projection is when we blame others for our setbacks and or failures. We see this in young kids when they are quick to blame mom or dad. They have not learned to take responsibility for their failure and so put the blame on others. Someone may forget to bring their uniform or belt to our school and they might say, “Mom forgot it.” In the classroom a child asked not to push another child might say, “But they pushed me first.”
As a parent we want to be able to teach responsibility to our children. But in an age when many parents do not want to see their child have any kind of setback they will do anything to be sure they do not fail. Years ago a mom of a 5 year old was running back to a preschool to get “homework” the child had forgotten. I suggested that this was not the way to make your child responsible for their own work.
If you do not believe that children do not get that message, just this week a student who is about 11 years old told me they did not have an issue with procrastination. “If they forgot to do something, their mom would do it for them.” Unless as a parent you are planning on spending the rest of your life “fixing” the things your son or daughter is responsible for –
What gets in the way of goal setting and more important reaching your goals? There can be attitudes or fears that make reaching your goal more difficult. Number one on that list has to be “Procrastination”. Even when we talk to 10 year olds about this subject they recognize that procrastination gets in their way and is the cause of stress in not reaching their goals.
It could be that you procrastinate because you do not know what to do. There are so many things to look at and to try. Many individuals have not looked at what their purpose is, asked themselves what is important to them and what they would like to commit to. When it comes to children, the idea of committing to anything for more than 6 weeks is difficult to imagine. But until we commit to an activity or cause, it is very difficult to become good enough, that it has the opportunity to become a passion, therefore leading to more procrastination. Create a vision or mission and stick with it long enough for it to become a passion.
You may have a vision or an idea but you do not know how to accomplish it. In fact you may not know even where to start. If this is your position the most important thing is to do something. Get the ball rolling. Almost 10 years ago Tom Callos, a mentor, challenged all of his students to teach peace. I flailed about on that assignment for years. I could not define peace, let alone teach it. Finally this was a calling that I could not resist any longer. I read and studied. I went to retreats and read some more. I became more and more curious until I started to develop a way of understanding and speaking on this subject. One of my biggest takeaways was ‘being peace’. This of course is another subject – but if you do not know how to start or go about what you want to do, find mentors, read, study and talk to others – you will find a way.
What if you have a vision, and know how to do it but cannot get it done. There seems to always be other things that take up your time. There are sports to watch, Facebook to update, coffee to prepare, sometimes we even go to others to get help – so many things to do – except getting on with your work. Steven Pressfield called it “Resistance” in his book The War of Art. Resistance is the act of self sabotage, self deception and self corruption. We can find all kinds of things to do except what we need to do to get things done.
In the next few days we will talk about many others ways that we set up roadblocks to reaching our goals – but many of them lead to procrastination. Now is the time to DO SOMETHING!
Each one of our students who are 9 years old and above have been asked to create for themselves a mission statement. We have talked about why that is important and how what you choose to do should always support your mission. When we live our mission, we are going to live more fulfilled lives. Remember that everyone’s mission statement is their own personal statement. It can be long, short, a poem, a quote, a picture – anything that you want it to be that tells the story of .
I have created my own mission statement to set the example for all of our students.
My mission is: Teach Peace
My vision is: To help students and parents to understand the framework, technique and application for creating peaceful families and community.
This is my personal mission and vision. I fulfill this in many ways including, through teaching at Balanced Life Skills, teaching at the community college, doing programs at individual schools, working on programs such as Kids at Hope, Youth Suicide Awareness, Jane not Plain and doing personal one on one coaching of kids and families. There is more too, but when things come up, I have to ask myself, Does this activity contribute to teaching peace?
Imagine if every family had a mission statement that they spoke about with their children – so everyone was headed in the same direction. They would know the why we are doing this or that activity, why we are making these choices or sacrifices. How strong would the family be then? Having peace in our relationships and family is vital to our feeling fulfilled and successful.
You most probably have heard of the acronym S.M.A.R.T. applied to goals.
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Agreed upon or accountability
- R – Realistic
- T – Time bound
With physical training instead of “I want to improve my pushups”, it may sound more like, “My goal is to be able to do 20 pushups on my toes by February 15, 2014.” This goal is not general like “getting stronger”, but rather it is specific. It is measurable, the number is 20 pushups. For it to be agreed upon you may want to get a coach or friend to help you. It is realistic, this can easily be reached, even if you cannot do any pushups right now. The goal is time bound – Feb. 15, 2014 is when you will test yourself and be able to say objectively “Yes I reached my goal or No I did not pass the test.”
We can apply the same test with other goals we may have dealing with work, community service, relationships. Make a list of your goals for 2014. Are they in agreement with your values? Will they fill your most critical needs? Are they S.M.A.R.T.? By answering these questions you will be far more likely to complete your goals or decide that they are not good choices for you at this time.