It always amazes me when another year draws to a close.
First, I am beyond grateful to have been part of it. I try hard not to take anything for granted, yet alone an entire year of existence!
Second, I wonder how the year flew by so quickly, especially when so much happened and when moments of it seemed never-ending (squirming in the dentist chair for long-overdue extensive, painful work comes to mind).
For me, 2017 was a great year, both in terms of accomplishments and approach.
As founder of Love Monday, one way I gauge these things is by how eager I was to tackle every new week. I can honestly say there wasn’t a single week I wasn’t excited to begin (even the week with that 3-hour icky dentist visit). It’s taken introspection, focus and effort to achieve that, and I’m confident the enthusiasm will continue robustly throughout 2018.
Another way I determine how good a year was is by reflecting on how fully I lived on purpose and in alignment with my personal mission. I was hardly perfect, but the way I spent my time and balanced what mattered most, and the relationships I nurtured felt really great.
How About You?
What did you feel as every new Monday approached? Dread? Joy? Somewhere in between? Did it depend on the week? Did you start the year with bold goals? Did you achieve them? Some? All? Were they the right goals? Did you live your life, use your time, make decisions and interact with others in ways that fulfilled your mission?
We’re presented with these opportunities every year, and in actuality, every single day. When we don’t quite do, say or act as we wish we had, we usually have a chance to do better the next day. Now we have an opportunity to do, say and be our best selves in the year ahead, one moment at a time.
We do this by 1) being aware of what we say and do 2) determining if these actions are optimal and 3) deciding if we’d approach them the same or differently the next time they arise. Most importantly, we do so by 4) ensuring we are clear what our mission, values and goals are so we know when we’re living up to our potential and using our time and talents well, and when we’re off course.
Crafting a mission, identifying values and a vision, and establishing goals lie at the heart of Step 1 of the Love Monday 7-Step Career Success System. Knowing what we are all about and what matters most is absolutely essential not just to living an enjoyable and meaningful life, but to getting onto the right career path.
If you don’t yet have a personal mission statement now’s the ideal time to craft one. Like the mission statement for a business or nonprofit organization, it’s designed to capture our purpose and our top priorities. It helps guide our decision-making and how we use our time and resources. Our mission may change over time as we grow and consciously shift what’s most important to us.
Some people have a mission statement that is two or three sentences long, while others prefer a much longer mission that addresses each of the eight primary parts of life. Some fold in values, while others have a succinct mission statement, a set of values, a vision and a list of specific goals for each aspect of their life. The beauty is that you can create your tenets in a way that works best for you.
You Now, You Later
Many organizations (and individuals) have both a mission statement and a vision statement. The distinction between these two is that while your mission identifies your why, the vision statement, which should be grounded in your mission and values, identifies your aspirations.
For example, in a previous career I served as deputy mayor of the City of Bloomington, Ind., where I put together a team that worked with me to create a strategic plan for the City. Our first step was to create written mission and vision statements and values, which to my surprise the City had never had before.
Our mission became “To preserve, promote and protect Bloomington’s distinct identity and vibrant quality of life” while our vision was to become “The most progressive and efficient local government that, through innovation and teamwork, enhances City services and makes our community the ideal place to live, work and recreate.”
You can see our mission helped us make decisions that contributed to versus detracting from the look, feel and vibrancy of our community. Our vision gave us a clear picture of the type of community we aimed ultimately to become. We also identified a dozen values (e.g. open and fair governance, a commitment to excellence), which helped guide the projects we tackled, the money we spent and the resources we used to get us there.
Whether we’re talking about an organization or a person, without a written mission, vision and values, things can get a little vague — it’s tough to know what we’re all about, what we stand for or how we’ll know when we’re experiencing success.
Identifying and committing these elements to writing helps us stay focused on what’s most important versus frittering away our time and being really disappointed we haven’t done some amazing things by the time yet another year rolls around.
If you’ve got these pieces in place already, wonderful! I’d love to hear how they impact your actions, goals and personal and professional successes. If you don’t have these elements established yet but see the value in them, woo hoo! With a New Year upon us, it’s the perfect time to craft them.
The key to making these guiding elements useful and effective is writing them with positive energy, inspiration, warmth, joy and optimism. And once you’re happy with them, consider printing out a copy and carrying it with you.
To learn more about how to do write a powerful mission, grab my free guide “You, On Purpose, Love Monday Style” at lovemondaymadly.com.
Here’s to everyone having an incredible, safe, on-purpose and highly enjoyable 2018!