By now you’ve created the following Goals Lists:
• Activism Goals List
• Health & Fitness Goals List
• Relationships Goals List
• Money Goals List
• Whole Person Goals List
You need to take five more simple steps to create your Personal Mission Statement—a statement of the goals you wish to pursue in every important area of your life.
1. Study each List, and create a one- to three-sentence Mission Statement for that List. That mission statement should summarize your overall philosophy regarding, and goals for, that area of your life.
• Study the goals listed in your Activism Goals List, and from them create a one- to three-sentence Activism Mission Statement.
• Study the goals listed in your Health & Fitness Goals List, and from them create a one- to three-sentence Health & Fitness Mission Statement.
• Study the goals listed in your Relationships Goals List, and from them create a one- to three-sentence Relationships Mission Statement.
• Study the goals listed in your Money Goals List, and from them create a one- to three-sentence Money Mission Statement.
• Study the goals listed in your Whole Person Goals List, and from them create a one- to three-sentence Whole Person Mission Statement.
2. Put each Mission Statement at the top of the relevant List.
3. Combine all of the Lists (with the Mission Statements on top) into one document. That’s your Personal Mission Statement.
4. Study your Activism, Health, Relationships, Money and Whole Person Mission Statements and come up with a single paragraph that summarizes and encompasses them all. This will be the core Mission that summarizes your current “life philosophy” and goals. Put that at the very top of your Personal Mission Statement.
5. Stick a date on the document, both to record when you created it, and also because you will be revising it periodically, and it’s helpful to know which version you’re working with.
That’s it—you’re done! Congratulations on having created something wonderful and rare, that you can use to move to your new level of growth and success.
Note that this process is actually the reverse of that recommended by many authors and life coaches, who will tell you to begin with a formal mission statement and then derive some specific goals from it. I like starting with the goals, however, because they are often more concrete and authentic than a formal mission statement spun out of thin air. Such formal missions tend to be over-intellectualized and over-rationalized, and the goals that one derives from them often tend to be unrealistic and not a true reflection of the person’s core values. Hence, my method of beginning with the goals.
When Things Don’t Fit Together
If, when working backwards from your goals, you come up with a Mission you’re not entirely comfortable with, or that doesn’t seem to reflect the real you, that is an important clue that you need to do some more thinking around your values and goals. (It’s fabulous, by the way, that you encountered this problem “on paper,” where it’s easily corrected, rather than in real life, where it’s often not.) Keep reworking your Goals Lists, Mission Statements and Mission until everything synchs up and feels like a good fit.
Also, look for goals that contradict each other or are mutually exclusive. If, for example, one of your Money goals is to own a fancy house similar to the one your sister the corporate lawyer owns, but one of your Activism goals is to do full-time activism, then you’ve set yourself up for a tough, perhaps impossible, challenge. See if you can come up with a plan for achieving both goals, and if you can’t, alter one or both goals so that your overall Mission is realistic and achievable.
The process of synchronizing your Goals and the Mission can be painful, but it is also very valuable. Don’t rush it.
Remember, also, that your Mission (and Mission Plan—see next chapter) are “living” documents that are not fixed in stone, but designed to be regularly reread, pondered and revised. Revisit them at least every six months and make whatever changes are needed to reflect your new situation.