Becoming a Missionary
Hopefully, you are still sticking with the series even though last entry I pulled out the rug a little bit by asking you to create a list of dream qualities for all of the areas of life and business that you want to transform. In today’s entry we are going to begin to put that list to work. So if you didn’t do it, this entry will be hard to follow… I recommend reading the previous blog post and doing the exercise. Your choice.
Anyway, there is real science behind this process. The reason to go to the trouble of creating this dream list of qualities is exactly like the rationale behind companies and even religious sects creating visions and mission statements. As human beings, we are far more effective when we are on a mission. You may not have thought of your New Year resolutions as a mission, but in fact, they are exactly that. If you don’t see them that way, the whole experience will quickly become a burdensome chore that you have foisted upon yourself. But if, instead, it is a personal mission, a calling, it will pull you toward its fulfillment instead of you plodding toward it.
My guess is, if you are like most people, your failure at successfully keeping resolutions has something to do with how hard they are. Well chores and burdens are hard. But missions are not. They are joyful and enervating. Don’t you think you would be more apt to fulfill a resolution if it were joyful and enervating? Well, that’s the plan!
To start, you want to take that long list of qualities, one that you have hopefully mulled over, edited, erased, added to and so forth, and hone it into a one, two or three bullet point mission. No more than three. Try to do it by topic or life area.For example, three areas might be health, love and job. Or body, marriage and business; or money, kids and fitness. Whichever yours are — and you can have as few as one area of commitment.
Try not to become grumpy or to judge this idea as corny (I sympathize with the tendency to do that). The next step is to turn that set of descriptions into a sort of mission statement for that area of your life. It can be short. It doesn’t have to be poetic. And you don’t have to share it with anyone (although it may help later to do so). You can also do this as a couple, a team, with a friend or a partner (business or personal). For example, a number of years back a client of mine worked with his girlfriend to create a New Year resolution for them to have “Prosperity, affluence and freedom together”. Ultimately it led to them taking a weekend job together and earning enough cash to change their life as a couple from struggling to comfortable. It completely altered their relationship which had been fraught with arguments about money and spending, and saved the relationship. It also led the girlfriend to change careers to one she loved. You can alter your life through this exercise in very surprising ways!
So craft a brief mission for each of your most resonant areas of possibility. The key to look for as you work on this is to see whether this brief vision statement would conjure the picture in your mind of how you believe that aspect of life would be if it were transformed. You will know if it works if, when you say it or read it, you are excited and enthused. Does your mission statement inspire you? Do you feel pulled toward that image of the future? Remember, the goal of this piece of the process is for you to have a mission. And you want that mission to be as strong, compelling and scintillating to you as the first crush you had, or the moment you decided to start your business or whatever most excites you in life. So be creative and shameless. The only person who has to love your mission is you!