Imagine you wanted to travel to the North Pole. You could go outside at night and start walking, using the North Star as your guide. But you probably wouldn’t get very far. You could walk and walk, and years later, you’d still be out there, staring at that distant star in the sky.
But if you really wanted to go to the North Pole, you’d need to make plans. You’d figure out each step of the journey. You’d find the airport closest to the Arctic Circle and buy a plane ticket there. You’d also figure out how you would travel from the airport. Maybe you’d make arrangements for a dogsled to take you the rest of the way. Or maybe a snowmobile tour could take you north. You’d figure out expenses and where you would sleep and what you would eat. A trip that big would require lots of planning.
Your personal mission statement is pretty much the same.
Mapping your goals is easier with your mission in mind
Once you’ve found your personal North Star, the next step is to set milestones for yourself so you know you’re making progress. No matter how much you think about your mission, things don’t happen simply because you think about them. They happen because you do them. And that takes planning. It requires intentionally lining up the day-to-day actions in your life so that they always lead you closer to your mission, the reason you were put on this earth.
Each year, I sit down and outline my goals for the months ahead. My team and I create a set of goals for the business, my kids and I make goals for our family, and then I make another set for myself—but they all interlock, because all the spheres of my life work together to create the life I want to lead. Each of these goals will help me move closer to my overall personal mission, some of them more directly than others.
At first glance, you might think that some of my annual goals don’t have all that close of a connection to my mission statement. (“To use my enthusiasm for life and forward-thinking positivity to motivate, teach & inspire others to experience joy and fulfillment in their everyday lives”). But what I'm really doing is intentionally building routines that will be like flights of stairs to help me reach my ultimate mission.
For example, for me to be able to use my forward-thinking positivity to inspire people, I have to bounce out of bed with energy. I genuinely must have enough in my personal fuel tank to be able to share it with others. I have to have enough love, joy, happiness, abundance, and good cheer so that I can write a blog post, give a keynote address to 600 women, or do a YouTube show on how to make soap. I must be energetic—and I can’t be energetic without attending to my physical and emotional needs. I’ve discovered I need annual goals to help me do that in the most effective ways.
In 2016, one of my goals was to learn how to do splits. You might say, “What does that possibly have to do with your mission statement?” But the goal wasn’t really about the splits; it was about everything I would have to do in order to be able to do splits. I would have to stretch every single day. I would have to get into a yoga habit every week. I was going to need to take care of the little things that make my body flexible, not just the exercise that I naturally gravitate toward, like running on a treadmill because that’s fun and easy, and I get quick results. Taking care of my body like that means I’m in my best physical shape—and that allows me to have the strength and energy I need for the grueling marathon of getting on a plane in the morning to give a keynote address that afternoon, then flying home again that night, and being happy, loving Super Mom the next morning.
You are the essential component of your mission!
Sometimes, I think we don’t get much closer to our big life mission because we forget that we’re the essential component. We see this big, lofty goal, and we focus on all the things we must do to get there, without realizing that we’ll never reach any of our milestones if we don’t have the strength we need for the journey. It would be like mapping the route we were going to run for a marathon, without bothering to get ourselves in shape before the run.
Joyful, energetic lives don’t happen by accident. They take planning, work and follow-through. My work and my family inspire me to create the best life possible for them and myself. They’re worth it.
Your work and family deserve that same level of intention and commitment. And so do you!
Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash