Do you know what your mission statement is? Do you know why you’re alive? What specific gifts do you bring into the world? How can you make the world a better place while you’re here?
These are all questions that were recently posed to me in a class I attended called “Quantum Leap.” This class was advertised as the playbook for leading a big life. I consider myself a lifelong learner and am always looking for interesting classes to help me learn to be a better realtor and a better human. “Quantum Leap – Building a Life by Design” was created by Gary Keller as a personal and professional growth seminar. I had heard amazing things about this class. It’s even taught to young adults to help them find their path. I was told that it would “push me” and “challenge me.” I have to be honest—I prefer classes that light up my mind, but I bristle at the thought of being pushed and challenged by a stranger. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I entered the giant classroom and found my seat toward the front.
The class quickly progressed from introduction and background to “roll up your sleeves and get uncomfortable.” Our first exercise was to craft our individual mission statements. Your mission statement should answer the question, “Why am I alive?” Great. I hadn’t even opened up my breakfast protein bar and we were diving right in. The instructor asked us to make a list of things that we were passionate about. Things that inspire us. Thoughts or feelings that filled us up. The entire class got very quiet as we started to scribble massive lists including unicorns and moonbeams, sunshine and mountains, friends and family, laughter and peacefulness. I love “stream of consciousness” journaling. Letting form and function go and just scribbling words as they come to you. This was exactly that.
Our next task was to create a list of our unique gifts. What do we bring to the table? What are our strengths as individuals? As you can imagine, that list was a bit shorter. It’s always difficult for people to set humility aside and just let ’er rip on our best qualities. I might’ve covered my page so that nobody else could see that I was bragging about myself to myself.
After that list was completed, we were told to circle one word from each list that stood out to us the most.
Then we were instructed to put these words into the following sentence: “The mission for my life is to (do something I have a passion for) by implementing (or through) (or with) (insert unique gift).” I love that there was a formula to walk through to help me frame my mission statement. If not for that, I’d probably still be there a week later trying to figure out what my mission is.
Once you’ve written down your first draft, feel free to scribble out words, move words around and revise, revise, revise. I went through multiple edits while in the class. Once I got to my office, I wrote my draft on a sticky note and hung it on my desk. I’ve since revised it a couple of times. It’s starting to give me some goosebumps when I read it so I’m on the right track!
The very best part about having a personal mission statement is that it gives you clarity around adding new responsibilities to your life. For example, let’s say that your mission statement is to enrich the lives of other professionals through coaching and teaching. If someone asks you if you want to join the executive board of the local humane society, it’s clear that activity doesn’t support your mission, so you can respectfully decline. But let’s say someone asks you to join the executive board of an organization dedicated to training young professionals. The answer might be an easy “yes.” And therein lies the magic of the mission statement. It’s also important to remember that your mission is never fulfilled. It’s not about a destination, but rather the journey.
I hope you can take some time to craft your own mission statement. I’d love to hear how this exercise went for you and read your personal mission statements! You can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send me yours, I’ll share mine with you too.