We learn early in school that to build a great story you answer the questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? It’s the same with the story of your life.
As we prepare for our next PBWN event in February, I have started to really look at what vision and mission is, and what it means.
Aren’t we always trying to find our way? Thinking about why we’re here, what we’re doing, and where we’re headed?
A lot of times it seems like we might not have the “answers”. So, we have set out on this journey together to discover what all of this looks like.
We have been moving through a “map” over this past year at PBWN, first exploring our “why” or purpose in May of 2018. Here’s a recap of what we discovered:
What’s one thing you love doing and you find yourself losing track of time while doing it?
What defining your WHY (Purpose) does:
Creates filter for decisions (helps with yes’s and no’s).
Produces clarity (serves as a “lens” to view things through).
Produces intention with your movements (on actions or even to do’s surrounding your bigger why).
Creates freedom, joy and motivation - doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing it.
Purpose is an anchor that provides stability when busy seasons or the “storms” in life come (it’s easy to talk about purpose when things seem calm and easy, but when things get hard, we’re challenged).
4 Areas of Purpose:
We were created to be in community.
Think about your circles of influence: family, spouse, coworkers, friends, or anywhere you travel throughout the day (your favorite Starbucks). You have an influence in the places that you operate. Thinking about the why behind each one of them - why do you choose to operate there and how can you be intentional about your interactions with them?
Purpose sometimes simply looks like walking alongside of people.
It doesn’t always look like us being fulfilled through our occupation specifically, but when we connect it to a bigger why, it becomes meaningful.
It might seem like there’s not a purpose with creative work, but it connects you to your inner child and unlocks new ideas/mindset shifts and brings joy. Schedule this time in and keep challenging yourself, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a great book for discovering this on a deeper level.
Connect to what breaks your heart, what you typically want to see made right, where you have strong opinions, desire for justice in an area, or desire to naturally share certain things.
God’s unique vision for you can be described as a desire that steals your heart, an opportunity that so draws you to it that you can’t stay away from it; something that keeps coming to mind.
and then we came together in October of 2018 to explore the “who”, or our identity.
What makes us who we are?
Personality + Gifts - how does your personality impact how you view the world and how you operate?
Experiences - what triumphs and hardships have you been through in your life by phase and how has each one shaped you?
Lies vs. Truth we believe about ourselves, learning to meditate on the truth.
People - you are the culmination of the people that you send the most time with...what are you gaining from those relationships? What (if anything) are you giving up from those relationships?)
What things hold us back from walking in who we were created to be? Roadblock recognition and “throwing off” of the lies we believe about ourselves is HUGE.
When you get clear in your true identity, and work through the things that have created insecurities in your life, your clarity will skyrocket.
If we know “who” we are (what our identity is rooted in and how our personality, experiences, hardships and surroundings shape us) and “why” we’re here (what season are we in, what roles do we play, and what have we always found to be true related to our purpose) - that foundational work then influences our vision and mission, then ultimately (and our last stop this coming Spring) the “how” and “when” - or strategy and timing of how we get where we’re going.
They build upon one another, and this can be an iterative process. You may go through this evaluation once or several times a year depending on season of life.
When these questions, tools and resources become a way of life - intention follows, growth happens and hope flourishes for you and those around you. THIS is why we do this!
This February, we will move toward the exploration of vision and mission - or the “where” and “what” of our lives.
By definition, here is what it looks like:
Vision: the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
Where will you be or where do you want to be in 5 years?
The hard part of this - it takes iterating - continuing to evolve and examine our vision as circumstances and surroundings change. They key to balance is agility + discipline. The practice of coming back to look at our vision and mission takes discipline, and the ability to continue to move or flow with it requires agility.
Visions require the ability to dream, and in some seasons, dreaming may feel out of reach.
Things that sometimes hold us back from dreaming:
The importance of removing these things to make more space to dream is crucial in vision development.
How you can start to do this: Set a timer for 10 minutes today and write out what holdbacks might apply to you and how you can take steps toward working through them. What stands in the way for you of having space to dream?
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
― Audre Lorde
Mission: a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.
The similarities between mission and purpose are very closely linked. There are some things that you may have always felt drawn to and there are certain tendencies or personality traits that you have that you find yourself in repeated situations. And then there are some that you discover as you move through life and encounter experiences that shape you.
While the surface level mission may fluctuate, the deep heart of your calling may not. There are certain things that drive us (whether we’ve discovered them or not), that share a common thread throughout our lives.
When I think about mine, here are a few that come to mind for me:
Bringing people from all walks and phases of life together
Forging unexpected relationships
Learning and sharing ideas, habits and ways of intentionality
Helping people understand underlying emotional issues and receiving healing from those
As I look back on my life so far, I have always felt these things, but I didn’t really recognize that they were a part of my mission until the past few years. I always knew that I enjoyed these things, had a passion for them, and was constantly learning and reading more, but I didn’t know why. As I continue to move through the process of understanding what has made me “me”, and receive healing and processing through past hurts and insecurities, I then feel the freedom to begin to move in these things.
I’ve always done these things, but the scenarios have changed. I practiced this in high school, the workplace, and with my family….these are threads that weave their way through all of my life - and now I see them, I recognize them and feel more freedom to operate in them.
If you're not sure what yours might be, how do you find them? There are many tools you can use to start to identify these - but one of my favorites is the Franklin Mission Statement Builder - it’s a great starting place.
How you can start this today: set a timer for 10 minutes and write out some words or phrases that come to mind about the themes of your mission throughout your life. Journal about situations that you have found yourself doing these things.
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style"
Cheers ladies - to a new year, and continuing this journey together.