Simplify your life {Week 3: Creating Mission Statements}

by Debra Dane on January 16, 2012

in Parenting and family life, Simplify your life 2012

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.

4. The book 7 habits of highly effective families / people (both books discuss mission statements) – Stephen Covey

 

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,

Deb 



Images:

Live with purpose - from Covey mission statement builder

Best things in life are free

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Laney @ Crash Test Mummy January 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

I’m really looking forward to developing a family mission statement for this year. As I mention in my values post today, I’m very good at just cruising along aimlessly! Time to be a bit more directed in achieving things as and for my family. This should be fun!
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Debra Dane January 16, 2012 at 9:07 am

I loved your post today Laney – i feel the same as this is the part of the challenge I needed for myself. It is one thing even to have it thought out in my head but another to discuss it with my husband and put it into real concrete language. Our family meeting with the kids was actually fun at times and interesting! (and a few moments where i had to keep saying “let’s focus” kids or yes, we are almost done LOL)
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Sannah January 16, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hmmm… a family mission statement – should be interesting! I need to go and have a big deep breath after doing the values before facing a mission statement, but will look forward to starting to think about it soon.
Live with purpose – absolutely!
x Sannah
Sannah recently posted..Values – Week 2 SYLMy Profile

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Debra Dane January 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

Sannah – from today until the linky closes is 2 weeks so please take all the time you need. Many people are pushing to get posts done in a few days but i suggest taking the week at least to do it and do the post fro Monday at the earliest!
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sannah January 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

I spent a lot of last week thinking about values, but this morning was the morning to ‘get it done’. i have learnt that is how I work best is by letting something stew a bit, and then tackling it with gusto :)

if i relax a bit and put things off, it starts to pile up, i feel burdened and then it becomes too much. (a bit like my house at the moment!)

i’m enjoying the SYL, but my life is going to start getting seriously busy in a few weeks (work, study), so I want to keep on top of SYL while I have the time.
xx
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Clancy January 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

Sannah – I know how you feel with procrastinating and letting things build up until it’s suddenly too much, I do it too. I also know that I work like you, in a sudden hit! It’s hard to balance!
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sannah January 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hey Clancy! Glad to know that I’m not the only one :)
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Leah January 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

I’m wondering how the family will react to this one – but then I’ve had good responses to planning things they want to do in the holidays. Really, I’m only wondering how excited my husband will be about doing this. Still, he’s usually flexible.
Leah recently posted..Simplify your life 2 – defining core valuesMy Profile

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Debra Dane January 16, 2012 at 9:04 am

Already got you covered as I anticipated many partners not being enthusiastic and have a fab guest post ready for Wednesday on how to get your partner on board and get you speaking their language – stay tuned!
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Alyce {Blossom Heart} January 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hmm… Our mission is to make it to Japan sane and not broke, lol!
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Kate (Simply Kate/My Dear Angel) January 16, 2012 at 11:16 am

Looking forward to this though wondering, even though I have a family, I might just work on a Personal Mission Statement, as that is my main focus this year, sorting myself out. Maybe I can then adapt that for the family later on?

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Debra Dane January 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

You can do whatever works for you! Only you know your family and life and what will help you. You can come back to the family mission statement later or do them simultaneously.
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Mandy January 16, 2012 at 11:47 am

OK, I can so do this!
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Gemma @ My Big Nutshell January 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for all of your effort Deb. It’s a huge commitment. I really enjoyed week 2 challenge and looking forward to the family mission statement. I like how you’ve encouraged the involvement of partner/kids.
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Hands Free Mama January 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

When I wrote my life mission statement 12 months ago, I asked myself what are the most important things that I MUST do to feel fulfilled? One was to be a present mother to my children and the other was carry out my God-given gift to write a book.

Whenever I was asked to do an extracurricular activity that would use my valuable free time, I asked myself it fell in line with my life mission statement. If it didn’t, I said no. (This was hard for me, but I knew I must in order to carry out my life mission.)

Now here I am a year later, I have created countless memories and meaningful experiences with my children by being fully present when I am with them and I have written the book I have dreamed of writing.

Life mission statements are powerful. Mine enabled me to live the way my heart dreamed of living!!! Good luck to everyone. Thank you for this awesome gift you are providing us, Deb!
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Debra Dane January 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Thanks Rachel – you just explained why we are doing these so I hope it motivates people to tackle this head on. There is a logic to how I have laid out the challenges, building on each other. This is why we are not ready yet to set priorities and goals. When you are clear on your values and then your mission it becomes super easy to decide how you spend your time and energy IF you truly want what you set out as your mission and goals. When everything is in alignment any deviation is really a choice isn’t it. If you had not worked hard at dedicating that hands free time your choice would have been fro the other things in life rather than those moments with your family and others. You are truly living a life of intention – and do not beat yourself up too much when you deviate – you are not perfect, but you are working on it actively. xxx deb
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Tat January 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Oh, this is getting harder. You are right, mission statements freak me out. I’ll really have to give myself some interrupted time to delve into it.
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Lyndal January 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

i can’t wait to read the post on Wednesday… i think it will really help me. I am feeling a bit broken tonight, so looking forward to it and hoping AK will be open to it also :)
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Debra Dane January 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Big hugs! – and trust me if my hubby can sit down and get touchy feely yours can too. Mine never even read parenting books when we had babies – always left to me to read and translate into essential info only. no self help books, nothing. Go in with no expectations though – i will admit it was me writing the mission statement but he did his values, discussed the questions above with the kids and helped focus and prioritise everything with genuine input – so I am happy with that.
Debra Dane recently posted..The Importance of ValuesMy Profile

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themotherexperiment January 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

I just found this linky through mixed gems. I think it’s a fantastic initiative and am very much looking forward to learning who I am and what I want and simplifying my life. thankyou. Karlee
themotherexperiment recently posted..the good in 2011 and my core values – SYL12 weeks 1 and 2My Profile

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Debra Dane January 17, 2012 at 7:18 am

So glad you found us Karlee and for hopping over to the facebook page – it was nice to meet you and I hope I can figure out the button thing – deb xx

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lulu January 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I think I may work on two mission statements. I could do a family mission statement but as hub & I speak in Japanese but I would want to write it in English it would be mainly me working on it although we do talk about values recently to see if we shared similar values or not {some yes, some no!}

A personal mission statement might also be a good thing for me.

Will see where the week takes us.
lulu recently posted..Core Values {SYL12: Week 2}…My Profile

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Gwendoline January 18, 2012 at 3:41 am

I’ve been thinking about this all night, and I think I came up with something I can stick to for a while: http://ayearofintention.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/personal-mission-statement/

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Hope January 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

Once again, I’m so grateful for this platform. I love getting to the fundamentals of intention living and having some accountability to get it done. Thanks so much, Deb. I look forward to creating my mission statement. Yeah!
Hope recently posted..What I ValueMy Profile

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Debra Dane January 18, 2012 at 7:01 am

Thanks Hope – I am happy you are with us and really look forward to reading your posts.
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Kaz January 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I just purchased the Family Mission Statement e-book. Looks like a really useful process to go through. This is so what I need to be doing right now. Thanks so much Deb for creating the space, opportunity and structure to focus on this stuff. x
Kaz recently posted..Lets talk valuesMy Profile

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Debra Dane January 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

You are welcome – enjoy the ebook as well – lots of good stuff in there if you take the time…
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Shell January 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Hi, I’ve started a simple blog & have tried to join the linky – not sure when it’s meant to show or if I’m doing something wrong. Thanks.
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Debra Dane January 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I added it for you for now – did you make sure you were posting your web address for your actual post and not your blog homepage? if not that was the problem – welcome along (and i LOVE the you used my red to highlight the my in “my simple”)
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Shell January 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Thanks so much, that’s exactly what I did wrong, just figured that out when I looked at how it looked once I’d put another post on there.

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Lee January 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Hi Deb,
Thanks again for leading us on this journey. xx
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Chantel January 23, 2012 at 12:57 am

Missed the linky by seconds…. well, maybe a bit more than that – but I didn’t factor in time differences :o) My values are at:
http://www.pinkelephantsandlemonade.com/2012/01/my-core-values.html

Off to sort out this weeks one to post tomorrow to make sure I don’t miss out again!!

Chantel
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Debra Dane January 23, 2012 at 6:09 am

Chantel, the new linky will be up in 2hrs or so and you can add this one there. Just label your entry as the values post, people will see it…I look forward to catching up on reading them this week. xx
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Jenny Graves January 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm
Debra Dane January 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm

You didn’t miss the link – still open – i just added you !! xxx
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