You've hit that spot where you don't know if you're coming or going. Like so many of us, you're just moving from task to task, not taking time for reflection. In fact, it seems there's no time for anything besides scrambling and trying to keep up. And, then...it hits. You just can't take one more step toward one more goal without taking a pause, a deep breath, and a search for whatever will make your world move from craziness to a measure of sanity.
There are actually a few steps that can help kick-start the process. And you are the most important person in the process. This is not something someone else can do for you. You need to be willing to take each step, in your own way, and along the timeline that is right for you.
Try these steps to get you moving in the right direction:
- Step 1: Write a Personal Mission Statement. What roles do you want to play in your life? What is essential for you to feel fulfilled? Combine this information to make a short statement, written as a positive statement as though it is already an absolute fact; this will become your mission statement: I, a wife, mother, educator, and mentor, offer programming that empowers others to meet their personal and professional goals in an ethical manner.
- Step 2: Assess the parts of your daily activities that are, or are not, in line with your mission. Determine from which committments you can remove yourself; decide what habits or relationships need to be strengthened or newly established. That project isn't furthering my mission statement, but I could add more time offering my services to schools and other organizations.
- Step 3: Amass a support and accountability group. We all have great intentions, but sometimes we lose sight of what we're trying to accomplish. Pick the right people, and the correct number of people, to help you reach your goals. Using a matrix developed by Janice Eddy and introduced to me by a Texas company, Marsha Clark and Associates, I have areas for my personal, professional and organizational goals. For each, I depend upon a variety of individuals to help me clarify what I'm really trying to accomplish, as well as those who confront me about what I say I want to do and why. Those devil's advocates play a huge role, and are certainly as important for me as those who celebrate my successes. Of course, because this is not an easy process, I have people to turn to in times of crisis, and others on whom I can depend for comfort. Relying on this support group, diverse in race, gender, age, ethnicity, and geographic location, offers a broader perspective and lots of feedback to what seem like good initial ideas I have. Their insight is able to enrich the possibilities for what I have in mind.
Does my mission statement ever change? Actually, I revisit my mission statement every year. While it seldom varies from one year to the next, I have never hit a five-year mark without a realization that my world has transformed in some way, and my goals must be adjusted to include all that I've experienced over the last few years. The result? My mission statement needs an overhaul.
And, often, if I am honest with myself, I realize the lack of engagement I had been experiencing at work, interactions I had once loved with all my heart, but which no longer seem to offer the same emotional rewards, were actually a reflection of the changes in what had become important to me, changes that needed to be made in my personal mission statement.
Once again, I realize that mindfully assessing my activities, feelings, and thoughts will reveal a more honest direction for where my heart and soul wish to travel.
Mindfully assess your activities. Are they in line with your personal mission statement?
Dr. Wolbe can be contacted via her website at www.drsusiewolbe.com.