...My mantra comes from the greatest philosopher-slash-thinker America ever produced, that's Popeye the Sailor Man.  That mantra, "I am what I am;  that's all that I am"...
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Gracious reader,

Some years ago, I went on a guided backpacking trip in New England’s White Mountains.  Our leader was a knowledgeable college student named Noah; he taught our group to use a compass.  

Each of us arrives at work, every day, with our own moral compass.  At work, we also serve an organization’s mission.

There's not always a clear link between an organization's mission statement and what is actually happening there.

It takes leaders to turn aspiration into action, to actually enact the mission.  It takes real work to align mission and action.  Sometimes leaders fall short.

This can be discouraging.

When faced with a question about what we're asked to do at work, it can be useful to check in with ourselves.  What's our own personal mission?

My hypothesis:  we’re less likely to become burned out at work when we have a strong frame around our own personal mission.

A personal mission is an aspiration for how you want to be in the world.  It can be your compass to map out your next steps, and choose the best path. 

Like keeping a calendar, there is no single correct framework for articulating your mission:  it’s personal.

Millions of books have been sold about creating personal mission statements and statements of purpose.  And yet, I don't know many people who talk about using them. 

I found several colleagues with mission statements; they agreed to talk with me about their processes for creating and using them.  Our discussions uncovered a few common factors.
  1. A framework.  We use a structure to articulate what’s important.  It may be homegrown and on a spreadsheet, a guideline suggested in a book, or a mashup.  
  2. A ritual.  A personal review process enables reflection on current alignment with our mission.  
  3. Discipline/Accountability.  We’re diligent about holding our review process on a regular cadence.
OK, some of my fellow missionistas were more diligent and disciplined than I have been, lol. 

It's a process:  our reviews, and our statements themselves, do change and evolve. 

We are changed by time, maturity, life events, and circumstances around us.  Personally, with a view from "a certain age," I can see things that haven't changed for me in decades.  And, I've had insights over time -- and even this week.  And I have refined my statement. 

It takes time.  It's not one and done.

For Labor Day, I wanted to leave you with a few mission-related questions for your consideration.  Maybe you've got a mission statement to refine.  Maybe it's not your jam. 

Either way, I hope you'll have some calm moments over the weekend.  On a beach, in a park or backyard, at your kitchen table, or maybe place at the counter in your favorite coffee spot.

If you decide to contemplate your purpose, a notebook might be useful!
3 Questions

1.  Your personal mission is your own highest purpose.  Consider the impact you wish to have in the world.  Whom do you wish to affect -- who are your stakeholders?  Who will they be in 5 years, 10 years?

2.  What is your mission, your purpose, today?

3.  What are the next three actions you will take to enact your mission?
Future You 2030:  A Thought Experiment

It's 2030, and you're being given an award for community service.  Your loved ones, neighbors, co-workers are gathered for the award ceremony.  One of your role models steps to the podium and begins to speak. 

What do they say?

If this question is compelling, I've set up a form where you can complete the exercise, Madlibs-style.  Check it here.  Also, I'll send you the form's output, to keep Future You with you in your planner, on the fridge, or somewhere in your workspace.
If you're curious about developing or refining a personal mission statement, I'm cooking up two experiences.  One is online.  The other is a small-group (<10 people) workshop this fall in NYC.

Please click here and I'll get back to you with more info after the holiday.
I appreciate your attention and time -- thank you for reading. 

Anne Libby

P.S.  Did you miss How to Have a Job #28, on changing jobs?  It's right here.
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