I am sure that hearing the word “mission statement” or “purpose” will bring out two common reaction, fear and avoidance or focus and passion. It just seems so big and impossible to figure out. And yet, deep down, each of us has that need to know. To know or have an idea on what you are working towards is important to give us a sense of worth. It is no surprise that people who have a clear purpose in life, walk a more focus and rewarding path as oppose to those who do not have a clear purpose.
Sometimes, it comes naturally to us. Most times, it is a act of focus concentration to figure it out. No matter which camp you are in, the truth is, it is in your hands. For most of us, at work, goals and action plans are set for us by the company and our managers. All that is left for us to think about is the actual numeric goal and actions to be taken. However, in a broader context of our overall lives, that takes a little more effort because it has to align with what is important to us.
At the start of year, it is always a great exercise to spent some time to reflect on what went well, what did not, what you would like to do differently as well as what you would like to accomplish in the new year. Each of us would have either ended last year feeling like we have accomplished much or not. Regardless of what happened last year, that is the past. This new year is the present and the future. Therefore we have the power to start it differently and purposefully.
I would like to challenge you to just think about your purpose in just 2 words. Writing a mission statement or purpose can be scary especially with the fear of structuring a sentence well or that it has to be inspiring and brilliant. However, as nice as that would be, it is not necessary for you to get to that point. To get started, its about making it simple and clear. Simplicity and clarity will help you to form further substance as you go along. After all, life is a journey. Therefore with only 2 words, the level of complexity and fear factor decreases substantially.
As we have taken the complexity out of the equation, anyone can give it go and come up with just 2 words that best describe your purpose. Let’s start by structuring how you would think about your purpose for this new year.
- What are your core values?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your dreams?
- What areas are of interest to you?
I find this simple method as an easy starting point.
- Think about words that resonate with your values. Write them down. For example, hard work, commitment, dedication, service, honesty, integrity, learning, risk-taking, change, adventures, travels etc.
- From the list of words above, select words that resonate the strongest with you. Pick 2 words. Those are probably the key 2 words of your purpose as they align strongest with your core values. For example, service and learning could be the 2 words.
- Try structuring a sentence with those words that would align with what your purpose or mission might look like. For example, “To serve a certain community of interest and to strive to continual learn and explore new ideas and innovations”. It does not have to be perfect, just enough to give it a structure as a starting point.
- Test it out by sharing it someone. Expand on it. Does it resonate with you? Would others agree and have observed it in you?
- Keep refining it until it sits comfortable with you. It should feel inspirational and motivational for you.
Once you get it about right, you will know it. It will sit well with you and you will feel the passion and excitement from it. Then you know that you have figured out your purpose.
Give it a go. It might seem hard as a start but once you start going, it will get easier and it is fun.
The next step from that is to build a structure and plans around those 2 key words of your purpose for the year. I will cover that next week.