Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mission Statement

Tonight I finish up teaching the two week seminar I've been doing with a group of students on academic probation, trying to interrupt their pattern of past failures and help them develop the skills sets and motivation to follow through in the future. It has gone really well. I designed the class to be about 25% Tony Robbins personal power stuff, 25% what I learned in Spectrum training, 25% my own experiences & knowledge base and 25% stuff out of the Master Student handbook. It turned out to be a nice blend. It has been immensely gratifying to watch these students shift their thinking from viewing themselves as screw-ups to understanding they just need new strategies for success. Over and over I've hammered into them Robbins's phrase "the past does not equal the future."

Because I'm teaching this as an assignment from my college it is not appropriate for me to make the analogies I WANT to make about the power of repentance and how after we've made mistakes, even quite serious ones, we truly have the power to change and start again. But with each session I've had with these students, I've been very mindful of that principle and oh so grateful for it in my own life.

One of the assignments I gave them was for everyone to write a personal mission statement, with the premise that if we identify our true core values and get clarity on WHY we are chasing after our goals, the HOW will fall in to place.

Here is mine that I showed them as an example:

I live with passion, faith and integrity.
I contribute to my family, community and the world.
I honor my own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.
I continually strive for life long learning and personal growth.

It's not perfect, but it's a pretty good measuring stick for me to use as a standard for any choice or decision I am about to make. If I can do the thing I want to do without violating any part of that mission, then GO FOR IT. If there is a contradiction, then I need to move in another direction. Works for me.


Pondering Pig said...

But what about the part when you want to just sit around and read old comic books for a while? Do you have to say, "I can justify this. After all, I'm honoring my emotional needs." Seems like it would take all the fun out of it.
In fact, now that I think of it, that phrase could be used to justify some bad stuff, like cheating on your spouse or something.

Belladonna said...

If a person wants to justify sloth, avarice, lust or any sin there's a million ways to do it, with or without a mission statement.

For me, each line of the mission statement produces a hierarchy. The FIRST line trumps every line below it. So when I say I live with passion, faith and integrity nothing below that line can over-rule the primary directive. Cheating on my spouse would clearly not be living with integrity.

I've gone back and forth between whether I wanted to put the line about making a contribution to others before or after the line of honoring my own needs. I can argue both sides for which one should come first in priority.

On an airplane, it is with good reason the flight attendants say that should the cabin lose pressure, we must FIRST put the oxygen mask on our own face before trying to help others. We cannot help anyone else if we pass out!

So, at one point I did have the line focusing on self come second.

But I have learned over the years that my commitment to serve others is NOT the same thing as becoming a doormat and blindly feeling obligated to meet their every whim. Sometimes a true contribution to others is lovingly, tactfully setting a boundary and saying no to a request in order to let the individual or committee or whomever wants my time to figure things out on their own.

I've learned some important lessons about self care - how to seek balance between making sure I know when to say when and that I can behave lovingly toward myself without becoming overly self indulgent.

So, from that framework, I'm ok with having the take care of me line 3rd.

I MAY end up putting the last line second... or changing some words. It's a work in process.

As for sitting around reading old comic books.... (or murder mysteries or sci fi or whatever)

It's all about balance... I absolutely support doing stuff that helps me rest, rejuvenate, or feel entertained. It's just a matter of knowing how to work some and play some, give some and take some.

I know way too many people who are WONDERFUL at giving but don't know how to receive (or the reverse), who are very task oriented and oh so productive but can't relax...
(I've been a card carrying worker bee for many years myself)

BALANCE is everything in my book.

"The Rake" said...

Linked to your site from potatohead.

Good luck on teaching the class. Maybe they will listen and take action.

I once lost my way - only shortly - but years later - I am half way normal.

Enrich Your Word Power!

Word of the Day
Quote of the Day

This Day in History