It’s undeniable that when we have a sense of purpose or mission in our life we tend to live more passionately, feel more fulfilled, and affect the world around us more powerfully. As Eileen Caddy, founder of the Findhorn EcoVillage said:
“A soul without a high aim is like a ship without a rudder.”
All the talk these days, though, of finding one’s “life purpose” has left a lot of people feeling like big ol’ losers for not managing to “locate” their great purpose yet. They wait for the magical day when the clouds will part and a lightning bolt will deliver the truth of their life purpose, the perfect career to go along with it, and everything will finally fall into place.
Well, I have a secret to share that could get me arrested by the New Age Police… Life purpose isn’t often found in a sweeping epiphany. Instead it gets identified and cultivated through the hard work of life experience and self-reflection. I also believe the way you manifest this purpose will most likely evolve and change many times throughout your life AND won’t necessarily be how you make your living.
However, you can powerfully begin today to explore and cultivate your life purpose by writing a “mission statement”. I wrote my first mission statement about 12 years ago and it changed the course of my life. I had been going in so many directions energetically that I wasn’t really doing anything all the way. My mission statement was not about what title I wanted to attain or role I had learned to play, but instead it declared how I wanted to show up in my life — what qualities I wanted to realize in myself and the world. It was an exploration of how I wanted to apply my inner truth to my outer world.
My mission statement became like a precision laser in my life – cutting away that which did not serve my purpose and continually putting the focus on my soul’s intention. In just over a decade, my mission statement has transformed my energy and many aspects of my life and continues to inspire my daily steps. I have rewritten my mission statement (shared at the end for those curious) a few times over the years and will continue to do so because it keeps my life path alive and glistening.
If you’re looking to have more purpose activated in your life, don’t wait for some mystical unveiling. Grab a pen and paper and use the exercises below to help you start crafting your mission statement. As Howard Thurman said…
“Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Creating Your Mission Statement
1. Take Stock – To get some clues to what elements could form your mission statement, answer these questions:
– What unique or awesome qualities, talents or background do you like most about yourself?
– What do you love to do that comes naturally to you? (If you have trouble with this, think about the activities you do in which you feel really in alignment)
– What is your idea of a perfect world (for you, for others, for the planet)?
2. Crafting – Experiment with how you could combine items from the three different categories above for maximum effectiveness. In other words, how can you use your favorite abilities, characteristics, and attributes in activities you feel drawn to in order to cultivate your vision of the best world? Start crafting your mission statement from there. It can be as short as two words (ie. Be present) or longer and more specific (ie. Using my enthusiasm for nature to inspire green lifestyles in the world around me).
A word of warning… It can sometimes be very limiting to attach your mission solely to one job, talent, ambition, or role. For example, if you say your mission is “To be a good parent to my son”, you could find yourself completely lost when your kid gets to a stage where he wants nothing to do with you. However, a mission like “To playfully nurture growth in myself and others” can be expressed at any age and anywhere from a family picnic to Facebook to running a business. Also, be mindful that your mission statement isn’t coming from a place of guilt, need for approval or prestige, or childhood programming, but instead from your most centered and expansive self.
Examples of Mission Statements:
– To uphold truth and justice with a sense of humanness and humor
– To love and be loved
– To use performance and laughter to cultivate joy in this world
– To surrender and live in the mystery.
– To help abused women find their power through financial mastery
– To wake up myself and others
– To bring warmth and compassion to unlikely places
– To use my power as a writer and influencer to help end animal suffering
Your mission statement might come in a rush of sudden inspiration, or you can just keep coming back to it and refining it over the next few days or weeks. You’ll know you’ve got it right when it feels just amazing to say it…when you feel expansive and rooted all at the same time.
3. Declare It – Once you’ve nailed your mission statement, energize it by posting it all around your environments and sharing it with those close to you. Start weighing your daily decisions against your mission statement.
Oh and in case you are curious, my current mission statement…Using compassion, authenticity, humor, style, and soul to wake the consciousness, love, power, and joy in myself and others, and create a kinder, healthier, and more vibrant world.
“Find out who you are & do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton