April 15, 2014
An unexamined life is not worth living. –Socrates
My wisdom & wellness message today is a critical starting point to anyone’s life-long journey of personal growth & development, whether it be health-related or not. It’s all about figuring out what matters most to you in your own life, & then aligning your time with those things.
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. I was sitting in what came to be the very best corporate training session I have ever attended feeling pretty good about my life. I had trained super hard to earn an athletic scholarship at Purdue, studied hard to earn a great GPA, skipped fun-in-the sun summers in favor of corporate internships, and had landed my dream job working at arguably the best brand-building company in America. Then the trainer asked the class: what is your personal mission statement? It was then that I realized that while I had worked so very hard up until that point, I was somewhat haphazardly living my life. Inertia had taken over (although I’m confident God was, in fact guiding my steps without my knowing it). Still, I couldn’t answer the question because I didn’t have a personal mission statement. I hadn’t taken the time to really think about, much less put down on paper what I wanted my life to be about.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles
It took some serious thinking & reflection, coming up with my personal mission statement. I had always thought that I would center my life around work, that I would climb the corporate ladder, and ultimately be a “successful” business woman. But after the trainer asked us to actually put our mission statement on paper, I all of the sudden thought of my grandpa. You see, at my grandpa’s funeral, I heard stories, not about what a wonderful craftsman he was, or how well he ran his successful company, but about how he had touched people’s lives in a personal way. . . how he took them fishing, or made them a pot of coffee on a rainy day, sang in the church choir & offered words of encouragement. I realized that while I certainly wanted a successful career, I ultimately wanted to leave a legacy of helping others. It was this training, and the exercise of creating my personal mission statement that led me down a very new & exciting path. It led me to prioritize an important relationship, to further my education in exercise & nutrition, pursue an alternate career, draft a nutrition book, and create this blog.
Any successful company spends a lot of time developing a mission, and even more time on the subsequent long & short-term goals, & detailed initiatives to deliver on that mission. These goals are reviewed & refined year on year. And so I ask you: what is your personal mission statement? What do you want your life to be about? What legacy do you want to leave? What do you want others to say about you at your funeral? Where does your career fit into your mission? How about your role as a mother or father, spouse, neighbor, son or daughter, community member or volunteer? Where does your health fit in? How about your hobbies or passions? Once you put some thought into this, then take a look at where you spend your time today. Do the things you spend the most time on support your mission? Do you have long & short-term goals that will help you reach your mission? As I mentioned in “Knowledge is NOT power,” one extra step is needed here. Take the time to put your mission & personal goals on paper. Review it regularly (I always renew mine just before the new year). To the best of your ability, align your time with those things most important to you, make the most of your precious life, and look back with no regrets.