Define Your Life

by Jennifer Stoll

Nine weeks ago I had two ligaments in my ankle reconstructed forcing me to take some time away from the chaos of work. Needless to say, I’ve had a little time to think and have been prompted by my Entrepreneurship class to consider mission statements. I’ve always been fascinated by business, and the start-up of the Greater Grand Junction Sports Commission has truly been an entrepreneurial effort. At any one time, I am usually at various points in at least one Audible book, one Kindle book and a good ol’ fashion hard copy book as well. More frequently than not, these books are related to some aspect of business.

You may consider my philosophy akin to casting a wide fishing net. In my case, I read a couple of books a month with the hopes that I’ll reel in at least a few fish – or bits of knowledge – that I can mull over and apply in some area of my life, whether personal or professional. I strongly believe the aggregate of the information helps shape who we are and how we live.

In class this term we developed our mission and vision for our business plan project, and that got me thinking…

I’ve formulated a mission and vision for the sports commission from its onset. And, our organization just launched a refined 5-year strategic plan. However, it’s one thing to develop a business-related mission and vision, but another to develop a personal mission statement.

Enter Stephen Covey Habit #2 in his acclaimed 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

“The most effective way I know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.”

Dave Ramsey also has an excellent book, called Entreleadership, in which he discusses both facets of missions and visions, personal and professional. I know I probably made a half-hearted attempt at a personal mission statement when reading Entreleadership the first time many years ago, but it’s time for a revisit.

I don’t know about you, but I need daily reminders of priorities and the direction my ship (personal and professional) is pointed. I’m constantly reminding our key stakeholders, employees, student workers, board members and others that the overarching goal of the sports commission is to make a difference in our community’s economy and quality of life through sport…but what about me?

What’s my personal mission statement? Does having one help hone my time, priorities, and likely result in a better overall quality of life (and likely productivity)?

I contend it does. So I’m issuing a challenge. One I took myself. I challenge anyone reading this blog to spend some time this holiday season formulating your personal mission statement. This isn’t just “I want to be a rocket scientist,” this is how do you want your time here in this life defined?

After contemplating this myself a few weeks back, I landed – at least temporarily, after multiple revisions – on the following: My personal mission statement is to use my skills and talents as God desires to positively impact the people and world around me.

I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday, and we were talking about how sometimes in this circus of life, you can blink and realize that your life is being steered by demands, not driven by you. Creating a personal mission statement is one way to take control and articulate in real, well-thought-out words, the foundation of your life. And as we enter into a new year, what a perfect time to reflect on the person you want to be!

Happy writing (and likely re-writing!), and enjoy the holiday season spending some time reflecting on all that you can be and how you want your life defined.  Until next time, ponder this quote by the famous Zig Ziglar “Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.”

For additional resources on mission statements check out the following:

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