Self-Coaching Activity: Crafting a Personal Mission Statement

Updated: Aug 13


A mission statement is a reminder of what is of core importance to you. Crafting a mission statement is about choosing consciously to take a perspective in life. And that perspective is one that says, "No matter what happens, I have a unique contribution to the world, and I choose to live into that purpose."


The purpose of a mission statement is similar to that of an organization's mission statement.


It helps to:

  • Guide our choices and decisions - Does this align or take away from my life's purpose?

  • Keep perspective during stress - What is most important to me right now?

  • Anchor our visions - Will achieving this goal help me live into my purpose?

To find a meaningful mission statement, we have to go deep. Below is a guided meditation and "presencing" experience to help you meet your "inner guide." This journaling meditation experience was designed using mindfulness tools and practices from the Co-Active Training Institute, The Presence Institute (TheoryU), and the Personal Transformation and Courage Institute, where I learned about the "psychology of admiration." Please check out the resources at the end of this article for further study.


What does "presencing" mean? This concept conceived by Otto Scharmer evolves the idea of being present with the term "presencing." 

  • Sensing = seeing future possibility

  • Presence = the state of being present

Traditional learning strategies ask us to focus on learning from the past. Scharmer flips that theory by inviting us to address challenges by looking at future possibilities. The Appreciative Inquiry philosophy and toolkit conceived by David Cooperrider mirrors this concept by asking organizations to look at what's working and scale that in the form of "future present scenarios," as opposed to addressing one roadblock at a time.


As individuals, leaders and artists, we do this by becoming aware of the place from which we operate. We have to be aware of our judgments of self and of others, because inner wisdom is often blocked by layers of limiting beliefs. When we are able to get in touch with this deep part of ourselves, we can more easily paint a picture that is grounded in what we truly want.

Guided Meditation: Meeting Your Inner Guide

This meditation takes 20-30 minutes. You may follow along the written text or click here to listen to it. Pause as you go to give yourself time to reflect and right.


Prepare yourself and your space:

We're going to meet our inner guide in the form of a person. There are no rules about who this person is or what they look like. It can look like us, someone we admire, or even a fictional character. Don't decide just yet.


In order to meet our inner guide, I'd like for you to set up a space where you might be speaking with a friend. This might mean finding a second chair and placing it to face you, or if you're on a sofa, position yourself in a way that allows you to talk to someone sitting next to you.


Take a moment to prepare yourself. You may like to close your eyes for just a moment. Take a few deep breaths. Notice and release any tension in your body. Know that you are in a safe space.


Meet your guide:

You become aware that someone you're looking forward to meeting has entered the room. They approach you warmly and sit down across from or next to you in the space you made for them. You take them in. What do they look like? What is it like to be here with this person? Visualize this person in as much detail as you can.


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE]


You take a few moments just to be with this person. What is it about this person that inspires and touches you deeply? Take some time to tell these things to that person.


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE A REPLY]


Ask this person, what is important for me to know about you? Listen to what they say back.

Don't over think it. This is actually your voice speaking to you, so whatever comes up is the right answer.


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE WHAT YOUR HEAR]


Embody your guide:

Now it is time to embody this person. You're going to shift into space that this person was sitting in, and in doing so, you will embody them completely. When you're ready, shift.


[PAUSE TO SHIFT]


How does it feel to embody this person?


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE]


Now, look at you in the first spot. You see in this person their fullest potential and expression of themselves. The you in the first spot asks you, the inner guide, "What do you want for me?" 


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE A REPLY]


The you in the first spot asks you, the inner guide, "What do you know about my life purpose?"


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE A REPLY]


Integrate the wisdom:

Now it is time to integrate this wisdom. You're going to shift back into your original spot, carrying with you the experience of embodying this inner wisdom. When you're ready, shift. 


[PAUSE TO SHIFT]


Feel your readiness to integrate some of the qualities that you admire.


Now the inner guide asks you, the real you, a question, "What impact do you want to have in your life?"


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE A REPLY]


It's time for your inner guide to depart, but before they do, they tell you that you remind them of a metaphor or visual that in some way represents your impact. What was this metaphor or visual that represents your impact? There might be more than one, and that is okay.


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE]


Thank your guide with a gesture of gratitude. Now by yourself, craft a personal mission statement using this sentence: "I am the [METAPHOR] that [IMPACT]."


Examples:

  • I am the crazy woman who yells "join me on the dance floor." 

  • I am the river who ferries people and ideas to where they need to be.

  • I am the tree who witnesses the growth of those who he feeds.

Spend a little time on this statement and make it something that truly inspires you.


[PAUSE TO REFLECT AND WRITE]


Once you have a draft, take a few minutes to reflect on what that experience was like for you. The things we admire in others are the things that we have within us to discover, and that's the "psychology of admiration." Know that you always have access to this inner guide, because it is you. This might have been the first time you met yourself on this level, but this inner wisdom is ever present and accessible to you with just a few deep breaths.


Home-Joy: 

  • Craft a mission statement and write it on five sticky notes.

  • Place the sticky notes around your home and work place to remind you use your mission statement daily.

  • (optional) Consider crafting your mission statement into a personal decision model using this method.

Resources:

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