Welcome to week 3 of Simplify your life. I am so happy to have you here and hope you had time to check out some of the 110 posts linked up last week. Remember if you are actually linking a post please make an effort to check out and comment on at least 2 other posts. This process is a collaboration and support and feedback are part of what I believe will make it work.
So far we have reflected on 2011 to find all the positives and gone within to identify our core values. Today I want to talk about mission statements. Some of you will cringe when you see those words as you associate them with big corporations. Bear with me as the concept is an important one. You can call it by a different name (and it will smell as sweet): family motto, creed, vision or statement. Family life plan or constitution or something new and unique to your family. Focus on the intention and not the title.
What is a family mission statement?
It is a variation on the mission statements that were designed for businesses. Companies drafted a document to clarify what they stood for, what their intentions were and how they planned to operate their business to achieve these goals. Many families today recognise the value in slowing down their lives and moving forward with intention and direction rather than letting life unfold and reacting to what comes. One tool to set the intention is to literally spell it out in writing. Taking it beyond discussion clarifies it further and creates an anchor point for all family members to refer to. It can become a living document, one that grows with your family as you change and go through life stages, but brings you back to those core values every time.
Note – if you do not have children at home you can create a personal mission statement using the first person or if you have a partner you can create a family/personal mission statement however works for you. The intentions are the same – who are you and where do you want to be going and how do you want to live your life.
How do you create a mission statement?
Now this is where it can get complicated. Just like core values, my intention here is to break it down, keep it as simple as possible,. You can go off and do more investigating (and I provide a few additional references below), but if you want to just move forward I hope what I include will suffice.
To create a statement a chat is in order – it is up to you (and depends on the age of your children) how you go about this. You can have an adult only conversation or include your children or a combination. Even little children can answer some of the questions about family life and my suggestion would be to make this a family activity. It was a challenge at times for us with 6 and 8 year olds and I have put a (*) next to the questions that gave us the most information from our kids. Older kids will obviously have more clear input.
1. Review your values from week 2 and in preparation for this chat have your partner do the values exercise too if they have not yet done so.
2. Print out and/or re-read your week one post / notes about what went right for the past year. In those reflections you brought to light the things that worked for your family, things that energised you and things you were grateful for. Look for clues – how can you bring more of that into your life or clarify it as part of your stated purpose?
3. Discuss some or all of the following questions – as many as you feel you need to get to the heart of what your family is about and what you all want for your future. (Note: You do not need to blog your answers to these questions – questions in the challenges are just prompts and guides not a requirement.)
*What are some adjectives you would use to describe yourself? each other family member?*
What is important to us? What do we value?
What kind of relationships do we want to have – with each other? with our friends and neighbours? with the wider world / community?
How do we act with each other?- how do we speak? treat each other? react to others?
*Are there things we currently do that we wish to change?*
Are there things we see other families do or how they behave that we would like to have in our home life?
*If people talked about our family how would we want them to describe us?*
*As a family we are at our best when we ______ (and worst when we_____).*
If you could create a perfect day what would it include?
We are most happy when ________.
What kind of family do you want to be? (Visualise how you want your future family and home life to be and figure out what steps you need to follow to take you there.)
4. Review your answers to find the themes and recurring ideas. Look for the ideas that reflect your stated values. Look for the ideas that represent your vision of family life and what will stand as a reminder of what your family wants for today and for the future. Think of it as fleshing out the 5 + words from the values exercise.
5. Draft your mission statement and re-write as many times as needed. It may come to you easily or require working on it over the course of the next 2 weeks (there are 2 weeks from my post until the linky closes so do not feel rushed!). Similar to the question prompts here are an assortment of leading sentence starters, use them however helps you to construct the statement. Mission statements can be short and filled with a string of meaningful single words or lengthier statements comprised of many sentences. Most people find the sweet spot is in the middle of those two. You can google for inspiration if you like.
The mission of our family is to __________
We believe in_______
We want _____
We will __________
Our home is a place where __________
We want to teach our children to __________
Our family is __________
We show ________
We value ___________
We encourage _________
We work together to ______
Our family will work together to _________
6. Make it visible so it becomes something that is part of your home life – you can simply type it up in a nice font and print and frame it, or you can create something pretty or artistic or any number of other ways you can think of that is right for your family. Just don’t leave it on the computer hidden away. If you have family meetings you could incorporate this into them regularly. You could discuss the values and make sure your children understand them and how they apply in real life scenarios.
7. Review it regularly to make sure you are on track and staying engaged with how you want to live your life. Change it if you need to – this is more likely to happen as you go through different stages of family life.
Additional resources for some sample mission statement ideas and sentence templates :
1. I found a great parenting resource this week at carriecontey.com. I have only touched the surface of the site, but was excited to see there was a digital mission statement workbook available for purchase. I contacted Carrie to see if I could check it out. It costs $10 (and I get no money if you decide to buy it) and I do recommend it for anyone who wants to do a thorough self examination and delve deeper. My favourite part is it takes you through looking at your own family history – traditions and rituals, your siblings, what worked in your childhood etc. Another favourite is the following question which connects to what we have been talking about with values:
“Make a list of 5 times, since becoming a family, that family life felt like the ideal of what you hoped or thought family life would be. Next to each one write one word that describes the value being fulfilled and realized in that scenario.” (an example might be a road trip you took and the value might be connection or communication or fun)
2. This post has some good template sentences to consider.
3. Franklin Covey has a mission statement builder for free – you answer questions along the way and it generates a mission statement. You could use this as is or simply use it to be inspired and build on/refine the result.
Link up for Challenge 2 – core values
If you blogged about your core values please add your link below into the linky and not in the comments. If you did not blog and want to share your values this is the time to add them into the comments of this post. I know it can be confusing so ask if you are not sure or read about the how to’s here. If you do not see the linky REFRESH your browser and it will usually appear.
Find your simple,
Live with purpose - from Covey mission statement builder