What would you like to be remembered for?
It’s a big audacious question I started asking myself about two years ago. The more I talk about it with my family, friends, peers and clients, the more I realise how many of us have that insatiable desire to ‘make a difference’.
But knowing exactly what footprint we want to leave on this planet isn’t that obvious. It certainly isn’t for me (as a matter of fact, it is partly this that set me off on this six-month sabbatical adventure which is, in a way, a quest for my bigger life purpose).
Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about the concept of a personal mission statement. A mission statement like companies have, but one for our own life. The idea is that when we know what is deeply important to us and keep that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most. This is how we can live the life we want and establish our own definition of success.
Writing a personal mission statement is not an easy task, but a worthwhile one.
I have written mine. It is big and bold (you can view it on the About me page). Do I follow it 24/7? Certainly not. Does it challenge and motive me? Absolutely. Does it bring clarity to who I want to be? Totally.
I would highly encourage you to write your own personal mission statement. Stephen even talks about writing a family mission statement, which I think is a brilliant idea. If you’re interested in going ahead with it, here’s the process I went through to write mine:
- I found the best space (physically & mentally) and time when I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed
- I wrote on a blank piece of paper all the roles I fulfil or will fulfil in my life (e.g. ‘What kind of daughter, friend, manager, colleague, wife, mother, etc. do I want to be remembered as?’)
- On that same piece of paper, I wrote all the adjectives or words I would like people to say about me with respect to these roles (e.g. generous, respectful and respected, leader, smiling and happy, ambitious, committed, inspiring, healthy, etc.)
- On a new piece of paper, I started writing short sentences, using the words above, that summarised the characteristics, behaviour, attitude and values I want to embrace
- Edit these sentences until you’re happy with the overall statement and there you’ve got it!
I hope you give this exercise a shot. It can be eye-opening! If you’re then looking for someone to help make yourself accountable for your mission, feel free to share it here…