5 Key Steps to Supporting your Mission Statement

When creating your personal mission statement there are 5 steps you want to follow to make it unique, lasting, significant, worth sharing and meaningful.

The first is to think about what you want to be known for. Perhaps you want to be known for your ability to build something, to lead something, to create something or to model something. Step one is to become clear on what it is you want to be known for.

Step Two is to define it more specifically so it takes on a life. Describe what it looks like, how it impacts your life and those lives you touch, who else is in the picture with you, how it makes you feel. Describe all you can about it so you can feel it in front of you as an actuality.

Step Three is to put a date to it. When do you want your mission to actualize and be something tangible and real. Once you put your date on it, ask yourself if this is a realistic timeframe or merely a random one?

Step Four will confirm your date on step Three. Check to see how it supports and forwards your values. Put action steps that need to be taken to make the mission happen in way that enhance your values.  Then determine if these action steps are doable in the time given or are they dependent on variables which could shift the time frame. Define mileposts so you can measure how you are doing. Create your action steps.

Step Five is to acknowledge your achievements. Once you have done your first action step, acknowledge yourself for moving towards living and expressing your mission. Then create the following step or two that need to be taken that will take you to your first milepost. As you near your first milepost, determine how you will celebrate reaching a milepost. This will help to enforce what you are doing and give you an opportunity to measure your progress to realizing your mission.

Leave a comment. I would love to hear how you use your mission statement if you have one, or when you will craft yours, if you haven’t already.

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Shocking Headlines Take a Back Seat to One Uexpectingly Powerful Trait

In a time where headlines point unflinchingly to the shocking, there is a quiet voice emerging in research that confirms what has been known but rarely spoken of through the ages. It is the power of humility.

What is humility? Humility is a state of respect where you allow others to shine as well or better than you do. It is where you give praise where it is due, where you can trust others because there is nothing to hide or protect.

I recently came across a study that was published in the Organizational Dynamics Journal that found humility to be a critical strength for leaders. It gives a leader the ability to reflect with empathy. In other words, a humble leader can look at situations and see how their actions affect others and allow for the other’s perspective as well when determining outcomes. This is huge and this is not easy.

As an example of the power of humility I want to introduce you to Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, the largest Japanese consumer electronics company and known as the ’god of management.’

Panasonic opened its doors in 1918 and with hope, exuberance, fear and excitement. Matsushita asked his employees to adopt and apply the value of humility as they conducted their business with and on behalf of Panasonic. With the spirit of humility, he did what most companies don’t do. He shared the company’s “secrets” with all his employees. He wanted Panasonic, even as it grew to thousands of employees, to be focused on being an inclusive team and he knew that the best way to form this type of team was through humility rather than through coercion or elitist ideology. He traded the air of superiority he easily could have perpetuated through the company with humility because he wanted his employees to feel part of his success rather than laborers of it. As a result he was revered by his employees, by the Japanese government who awarded him with many great honors and by other business owners who hired him to help them become more humble business people.

Humility, as in the case of Mr. Matsushita, included having a moderate self- regard, with a strong vision and voice so that his struggling company could become a giant both in the tech world and in the world of business management.

How do you foster humility in yourself? Do you notice a difference in your communications and connections with others when you use humility? Write a comment, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

The 3 Indispensable Tools To Give You a Life that Matters

Living a life that matters is a choice that some people conscientiously make. Some come by this choice due to an event or situation that made them stop and evaluate what exactly they are here to do and be. Others come by this choice because they feel disconnected from something they can’t put their finger on but feel is waiting for them to “find.”

But once they have this revelation or go on their search, how do they build their purpose?

This is a good question with a simple but perhaps not so easy to implement, answer. They just need the right tools to help them bring into focus their which truly matters to them.

And what kind of tools are these? They are the tools which, rather than needing to be internalized because they come from an external source, are found internally and then manifested externally.

The first tool to use is the tool of inquiry. The place to start with this inquiry is to ask yourself: “What is really important to me?” Go beyond the stuff you want to accumulate and go to the principles and values you hold dear, values like: love, balance, freedom, responsibility, patience, humor…. Discover and then articulate what is truly important to you.

The second tool to use is commitment. With your values in front of you, determine the commitment you will make to have them take center stage in your life. How you will let these values guide you in your day to day life. Say, for instance that your number one value is Balance. Determine each day, before you let the day unfold, how you will use balance to lead your day. It may have to do with the way you interact with others. It may be in choices you make in your life with eating, exercise or work. However you want to have balance guide your life, commit each day to how you will use what really matters to you. In the evening, before you go to sleep, review that value was expressed.

The third tool to use is your personal mission statement. With your values as your starting point, write down your first draft of your mission in life, that which your values will lead you to be and do. Review what you have written, put it aside for a day or two, then revisit and tweak it until it feels pretty good to you. Now place it somewhere where you have to look at it daily. Although you might not “see” it every day, you will on occasion and it is those occasions that will realign you to your mission.

Let me know your experience with living a meaningful life with these 3 tools: articulate your values, commit to expressing them and having a personal mission. I would love to hear from you.

To Change the Habit, Change the Trigger

I am aware of my food choices. I am careful about the foods I choose to eat. If it is sugar, I look for cane sugar rather than white sugar, chemical sugars or even chemically produced stevia. I use honey as a medicine and molasses as a source of iron. I like cookies so I make them myself knowing I can control the kind of sugar, the kind of flour and the amount in the cookies I bake.

In the long and cold January and February nights I like to have a small cookie or two to give me a nice boost. And I bring some to work so that when I am working late, I can have one as a reward for getting things done. At least this is my plan, one to which I commit to every time I put it into action.

But sometimes the plan goes awry. I am sitting at my desk at work. It’s Monday, I feel an energy dip and I now have a choice to make. What am I going to do? It’s winter and rainy or cold so I “can’t” go outside. I know, that’s the first excuse. I look into my food bin and I see them: my cookies for the week. I’ll just have a small snack-warning number two-“small” snack. It’s amazing how easily and without even pausing to consider the impact to my goal of losing 8-10 pounds this will have. I eat 4 of those small tasty treats. I know better and still I go for those tasty treats.

This is annoying. After the second one, I don’t really want more, I just eat them all because they are there.  So I stop bringing the cookies to work. This works for a couple of weeks and then I quietly talk myself into some dark chocolate…just a little. I go to the store and rationalize my purchase of two bars by seeing the 2 for 1 Theo sale.  I have the same intention-eating the 65% dark chocolate bar with cane sugar over the week.

But no; I unfold the wrapping and before I know it I have eaten half the bar. If I weren’t annoyed I’d have to be impressed with my lack of respect to my own objectives.

And I even have oranges in my food basket at work. I like oranges, but the same 4 big, juicy oranges are sitting in the same place they have been for the last 10 days while I have gone for the chocolate.

I know the trigger is the feeling I experience of an energetic lull and wanting to quickly assuage it. I quickly, silently and almost automatically talk myself into the value of the sugar as brain enriching glucose. Really?! Apparently it is good enough a rationale for me to go for the sweet. And they are so much less fuss than the orange. After all I have to peel the orange and it may get runny. How messy! The orange is not a piece of chocolate I can feel melt so delightfully on my tongue. No, it’s just an orange.

The trigger is the self-talk on needing the energy boost to which I easily and agreeably offer myself the great solution of a cookie or chocolate.  You may not think this is so bad, but when I am trying to lose the 4 pounds I gained from not exercising for a week over the holidays while drinking hot chocolate, it’s not helpful.

So I have changed my trigger. When I hear the trigger of “time for energy boost” I pause and say what for: if it is “you’re tired, I say okay, let’s take a desk nap.  If my body then says I’m not really that tired, but I need an energy lift, I say great, me too. Let’s have that orange. With reluctance I bypass the cookie and the chocolate and the energy bar that’s been there for a month, peel the orange. And am grateful. I have lost 2.5 pounds since the holidays.

Changing the trigger changed my habit.  I still make my cookies and still have two each weekend evening. I have satisfied my craving mind.

What do you do when you hear that trigger you don’t want speak to you? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

We Found Meaning behind the Noise

The moment had come. It was Christmas Day.

Individual families shared their morning together with their traditional breakfast of pancakes, muffins or eggs. They opened their Santa stockings and family gifts with glee, humor and wonder.  Now it was time to get their coats, scarves and gloves on, hop in the car, and ride to the bigger family dinner and gift exchange celebration.

One by one the cars drove in to the appointed house and parked…almost. Because the great debates and casual yet striking comments were already in play.  “Are we all meeting at 1 or 2? If it’s 1p, we’ll be late.” “Oops I forgot some of the appetizers. I think they are in a paper bag on the kitchen table.” ”How about if you park in front? No, I want to park on the side. That way I can decide which door to walk in.” “This is my first Christmas alone. It feels weird but I’m glad I’m here.”

As each car unloaded their secret Santa gifts, their gag gifts, the animal toys and extra children’s amusements, with olives, almonds, pates and cheeses, Martinellis or Mimosas, the Christmas festivities were underway.

After warm greetings and brief, casual conversations, we picked the order of choosing or stealing the annual gag gifts wrapped in all kinds of wrapping, from crumbled up paper bags to elaborate paper and bows, and fake receipts hanging out of boxes, all made to deceive…or not. From chocolate to rain snow globes, from International Crane Foundation socks to a penguin toothpick holder, the gag gifts were chosen and stolen to laughter and fun.

We then segued to special photos or books from the year we wanted to share. It was satisfying to watch a shy one decide to talk about one…then two pictures they took. They felt so proud and part of the circle in what they shared. It brought us closer as we caught a deeper glimpse into lives, some of which we had fleeting moments with this past year.

With a closer bond growing between us, we went to the table to being the dinner with a serving of tangy and light Watercress soup to whet the appetite for the bigger meal to come. We each shared in a challenge we faced or accomplishment we attained, what we learned and how we could support each other going forward in meaningful and connected ways. We felt great gratitude in having three generations around the table together sharing and wanting to vivaciously support each other.

After the main meal of pesto infused salmon on a bed of angel hair pasta, and circled in peas and broccolini, we returned to the living room and opened out Santa’s gifts, our gifts to one another.

With dessert, we followed up with ways we would support those who wanted people to lean on, encourage those who wanted to feel more love and belief in them, and commitments to visit those who felt that their physical distance was an issue.

We were grateful to find the love, gratitude and meaning we share with each other behind the noise of the casual conversations we know only too well how to have…endlessly.

How did you find meaning with your chosen family this holiday season? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear.

May 2015 bring you meaningful and lasting connections with your family.

What Matters?

Values, a seemingly ephemeral element to our lives, have huge implications in and to our life.

Peter Block, in his book, The Answer to How is Yes: Acting on What Matters said this: “Values are a deeper statement of what really matters to us. They are also what most profoundly connect us to one another and to the world we have created.” They come from our deepest sense of uniqueness and our deepest sense of truly connecting with others.

When do we go beyond the how of our lives and think of the why to our lives?

As we constantly focus on getting things done, and racing through all that’s put in front of us, we risk losing, and often sacrifice, focusing on what truly matters to us and its impact to living rich lives.

When we lose the practice of focusing on what matters, we replace it with the ease of expediency.  When we lose the practice of focusing on what matters, we lose touch with what really matters. We trade what matters for what can be done now. We trade sensitivity for expediency. Life becomes a constant emergency rather than a nurtured and protected environment.

Often, we are not aware of the quiet voice inside us that takes into account what really matters to us. Instead we look for the quick answers, regardless of the consequences and impacts. Consider a time in your life when that voice talked to you and you shunned it. What were the consequences of doing so? What about when you listened to it, what was the benefit for you to listen to it?

To see the value of what matters, I suggest this simple exercise. You could do it at a Thanksgiving dinner. You can see the importance of what matters to someone’s life by asking them this series of questions:

  • What one obstacle or challenge have you faced in your life that you successfully overcame?
  • What did you learn about yourself that you have come to admire about yourself as a result of overcoming that challenge?
  • Where else have you applied that discovery in your life?

Asking these questions will give you an opportunity to hear others talk about what is important to them, rather than their most recent activities. You will feel more connected to them because you will know them better.

Before we leave today, I ask you:

  • What challenge have you faced in the last year or two?
  • What did you learn about yourself that you have come to admire as a result?
  • Where are you using that discovery to benefit another area of your life?

Share with me what matters to you by leaving me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Opening the Curtain to the Power of Using Your Strengths

Today I want to illustrate the importance of your strengths by telling you a story.

Hundreds of years ago, kings brought in their most trusted knights to the roundtable. It was here that they discussed critical topics like protecting their community, strengthening diplomatic ties with other communities, and key battle strategies.

Each knight was selected to join the table because of a particular strength they portrayed. It was the combination of all their unique strengths that together made the group so powerful.

The word that represented each knight’s strength was carved around the edge of the round table, in front of the high backed chair they sat on.

When a topic was introduced, each knight talked about how their unique and nurtured strengths would carry them through their mission. The other knights would add to the conversation with their observations of support to this strength.  For example, if there was an unexpected storm that ravaged the fields, one knight’s strength of communication coupled with another knight’s strength of organizing along with yet another’s strength  of maintaining security around the kingdom were combined to reduce the challenges of the disaster and keep the community united.

They understood that merely being strong warriors and personable diplomats was not enough. Most armies and sentries did that. They understood that a group firmly rooted in understanding the value of their strengths individually as well as in combination was their greatest weapon. And it was, bringing great leadership and respected safety and security to their community.

Today, strengths are still key components to a significant life. They act as great servants in times of challenge or conflict, presenting themselves as our inner advisors. We merely need to listen to and for them.

Strengths show up as attributes like: flexibility, focus, decisiveness, analysis, insight, humor, creativity, balance or a host of others to guide us in taking the most appropriate action. I just referred to two of mine this morning-calm and decisiveness- for a challenging situation in my own life.

Let me know what your top strengths are. How do your strengths guide you in your life? Where have you recently used them? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you use your strengths.

Next Time You Want to Find the Gold, Dig for the Buried Treasure; it’s closer than You Think

If you read the last post you may remember that I talked about the value of the center. Today I am going to take that conversation one step further. We will look at the center. What is it?

In all my digging, testing, tossing, retesting and confirming, I have found that people’s center is comprised of core motivators. I am not talking about the base reptilian reactors we have: the freeze, fright, flight, or flock components. I am not talking about the mammalian forces, emotions that cause us to react to stimuli, wants and desires. I am not even talking about the rationale mind that analyzes everything for us with as much conviction as our emotions have in convincing us to do something. No, the center I am referring to lives in the calm space inside us. It is the small quiet voice within that leads us to being the truest person, making the best choices for ourselves.

Beyond the lure and familiarity of the reptilian, mammalian or rationale brain functions lies yet another universe. Science has not given this modality great attention yet. Religions and spiritual practices have focused their attention here with great appetite and insight. Recently psychology, especially in the merging cognitive and positive disciplines, has delved into this area of human expression.

Co-authors Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman wrote in their book: Character, Strengths, and Values that China with Confucianism and Taoism, South Asia with Buddhism and Hinduism and The West with Judeo-Christianity and Islam, have all concentrated great attention in researching the strengths, virtues and principles.

After you have found and described your core principles, then you can move to creating action to support the meaning to and in your life. Viktor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning said that purpose is where man seeks meaning. He goes on to describe how man finds this meaning for themselves: “Well, if we investigate how the man in the street goes about finding meaning it turns out that there are three avenues that lead up to meaning: First, doing a deed or creating a work; second, experiencing something or encountering someone. Most important, however, is the third avenue: Facing a fate (purpose) we cannot change, we are called upon to make the best of it by rising above ourselves and growing beyond ourselves, in a word, by changing ourselves.”

To find your center you have to take the time to look inside yourself, discover and articulate what is really important to you, not as actions,(not yet,) but as principles. Once these are clearly determined they must be defined, defined as to how they matter to you. What about them is so important to you? That importance becomes the manner in which they act as that small quiet voice in the inner calm space that override the reptilian, mammalian and rationale minds.

Once you have articulated your guiding principles you know your why to your life. Taking the time to find and articulate them is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. You will have given yourself the clarity of knowing your center, yourself.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a client who couldn’t wait to tell me how excited to they were to have everything “click into place for them.” As he said to me: “I finally understand how important knowing your values is. It makes everything else make sense. Now I know why I am so passionate about my giving.” Responsibility is his highest value and for him, responsibility means acting for the good of the global betterment with his money. He continued to say: “I don’t have to feel ashamed about my passion towards the planet. I feel a responsibility towards it. That’s who I am. Now I can be that, not fight it. I can be me, not fight me. Knowing my why makes me feel so relaxed.”

According to a 1999 survey by Public Agenda, adults in the United States cited ‘not learning values’ as the most important problem facing today’s youth.”

I encourage you to go on a dig to your center. Dig in, see what you find. There is buried treasure in there just for you.

Leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you on your views and experiences with your center.

The Link between Happiness and Purpose has been Found

While for many of us, winter is still raging on, let’s take a break from the cold and the storms.  let’s see what we can learn from the concept of happiness.

Happiness has been studied for decades by social scientists, economists, psychologists, philosophers and those who have taken the journey to find it for themselves.

They have found that there are 3 key elements to happiness. The first two are ones they say we cannot control: genetics and the rippling effect of recent events. The third element is one we can control. It is the conscious choice to live by our principles. Now why is this?

It is because our principles represent how we usually show up in the world. Our principles act like a barometer and compass that we use in our lives to measure how successfully we feel about what we are doing.  These principles are our why in life.

When we take the time to define and prioritize these core principles we find how important they are to use and how they uniquely define us as individuals by ourselves, with family when communally shared, or with our community when agreed upon collectively.   

Often people look to fill space and time with activity. Doing so, researchers note may dull anxiety and worry. Chasing thrills can create endorphin rushes. However, they are transient which means they need to be chased and dulled again. The act of doing things doesn’t give a deeper part of us the “nutrition” it needs.

Humans have an appetite and need for physical food. High value nutrition is important to the body so the muscles can grow, the bones can tighten and fuse as they should. Humans also need emotional nutrition and find it in relationships, adventure and excitement. But neither of these fulfill that ephemeral side of the human that which is commonly referred to as the soul or sense of identity. This can only be found in the why of one’s life, the principles and beliefs that make ourselves feel satisfied, fulfilled and significant. This is what needs to be unearthed and developed for happiness.

When you are free I to live by your principles you are free to create your world of meaning and purpose. Get to know your principles and you will get to know your purpose which in turn will bring you happiness.

Let me know your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment here.

 

What You Mean to Me

When I turn to you who have walked with me

I see shimmering stars that light my path

When I turn to you who have supported my work

I hear words of encouragement that keep me on my path

When I turn to you who have shared your inner wishes with me

I am touched by your desire to bring the best to your life

I am touched by your commitment to living a life of great meaning and significance not only for yourselves but with your families and communities

I taste the essence of your freedom and power when your confidence replaces your doubt

You, because of your dedication to a deeper, richer and more meaningful life

Make me smile from ear to ear as I jump for joy and

Applaud you because You Rock!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

We welcome your comments