Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tip For Moving On: Write a Mission Statement

When all your boundaries have been violated, it’s hard to set new ones, let alone, know what reasonable boundaries look like. When you’ve lived for a number of years by someone else's rules, it’s hard to know what your own “rules” are. When you’ve jumped to respond to others needs ahead of, or in spite of, your own, you forget that you even matter. These are only a few of the unhealthy things we take with us as we leave a violent relationship.
Writing a mission statement can help you reevaluate and determine the direction you want to go. It can awakened your ability to stop and listen to your inner spirit, that little voice inside that says, “This doesn’t feel right,” or “I’ve always wanted to  _____.”
A mission statement is your personal constitution. An expression of your vision and values. Written down, it becomes you road map and touchstone to what is important to you.  It may start out as a few vague lines, but with time, you will clarify your vision and make adjustments.
It will take some serious thought and time to develop as you think through your priorities and clarify your goals. It’s important that you write them out. Then you can begin aligning your behavior with your statement. Decisions become easier. Does this go along with my mission statement or against it? Acting on your values may feel uncomfortable at first (especially if, like me, people-pleasing has been a problem for you, or you’ve not been allowed to express your true feelings.) However, you will feel a sense of pride that you are taking control of your future. 
As you start, plan to:
  • Keep it simple. Go for 3-4 sentences at first. 
  • Keep it positive. “I will speak the truth with respect and kindness.” Not “I won’t let people tell me with to think.”
  • Include goals for your personal growth. (i.e. spend time reading, in nature, school.)
  • Include goals for your family life, and
  • Goals for yourself as an employee.

When I began to work on mine, I knew that I wanted to be and kind and confident woman. I was shaky in what kind of a job I wanted, but did know I could keep putting one foot in front of the other and watch for opportunities. 
I asked myself-- what is important to me as a woman, mother, worker, friend, and potential partner? What did I want to change about the way I was living?
Being a people-pleaser caused a myriad of problems. To put and end to this trait, my mission statement started with: Have integrity by speaking my truth firmly and with kindness. This felt very uncomfortable in the beginning. With time it became easier.
At first I wasn’t sure what my truth actually was. So, I pledged that instead of responding with an immediate “Yes” when asked to do something, I would say “I’ll get back to you,” or “Let me think about it.” This allowed me to take time to check my schedule, get quiet and listen to my spirit. No more overloading my schedule or doing something I wasn’t enthused about, then later, feeling angry and resentful.
Another part of speaking my truth was to stop biting my tongue when I didn’t agree with others. I promised myself that I would take a deep breath and express my opinion without criticizing other’s for theirs. It also meant I’d removed myself from situations or relationships that did not align with my values. (Yep, this may cost friendships, but it opens the door for new friends whose values are similar to yours.)
For too long, I had put everyone else ahead of me. I needed to learn how to nurture myself. While I knew that sometimes other’s needs would trump mine (i.e. a child in need of stitches,) this should not be the norm. I included; Take time for myself by nourishing my body and spirit with time alone, healthy food, exercise, yoga, meditation. I blocked off time on my calendar and held to it no matter what request came my way. The most important promises we can keep are those we make to ourselves. To break one of those is a betrayal of self that damages our self-esteem.
When I wrote the original version of my mission statement, I had children at home. The statement included; Keep my children the priority in my life by giving them my time, attention and providing a safe home. This meant I was very careful who I allowed into our lives and apartment.
When it came to being a friend, it was important to me to Laugh with my friends often, meet them where they are emotionally, and do more listening than talking.
Once on paper, you have a starting point. As you grow into your vision you will continue to refine and expand it. Best of all, you will boost your self-esteem and self-confidence by living in alignment with your intentions. Remember to be kind to yourself as you stretch some new and unused muscles.
Search for Mission Statements if you’d like to see an array of templates and suggestions. Or go to www.franklincovey.com/msb where you can build one by filling in the blanks. 
If you are willing to share your experience, click on the comment link below or stop over on my Facebook page and let us know what worked for you as you built your personal mission statement.