For several months I’ve been working on honing my habits with Stephen Covey’s book. The last several weeks have been about formulating my Personal Mission Statement. I’ve had my share of existential crisis, but I’ve never had an existential challenge.

I’m asked the very difficult question, “What are your values?”. The more difficult metaphorical version of that question, “If an I beam stretched all the way across the Grand Canyon, what would you cross it for?”.

I’m asked, “If you were to die, how would you want to be remembered?”.

Using your imagination

There are two major aspects to the second habit that I have been tackling more than others. The first is big picture life stuff like I alluded to in my intro. The second has been exhausting, but extremely worth it. Using your imagination to visualize common situations and influencing yourself to have a positive outcome.

Back in High School Cross Country, we were asked routinely to visualize ourselves running. Seems kind of nuts, but it got us in the habit of thinking about how we run. Covey suggests much of the same thing here. Visualize yourself in a situation where you want an outcome that reflects your values.

For instance, I first attempted this with something small. Every evening, when we get settled in for the night, like clockwork, the dog has to go outside. Doesn’t matter if I have hot tea and my pj’s on. She wants to go outside. I can ask her a dozen times, “do you want to go outside?”. To my avail, she looks at me like I’m an idiot and waits for me to get comfortable. So, instead of getting frustrated, I’ve been imagining myself reacting and choosing to feel/do something else.

Now, I’m ready for her to start making the spinning potty dance of doom and I’m not losing my nerve over a dog.

While that’s good and fine, I’ve been working on all sorts of situations. I’ve imagined myself getting ignored or brushed off. I’ve imagined myself being talked down to and insulted. I’ve imagined myself taking everything negative in stride.

I’ll admit it’s left me emotionally a little raw. It’s not easy deciding what my responses are going to be in the future, but I can try my best to anticipate them. If anything, I always have the first habit of “choosing my reaction” which has been getting much better.

Personal Mission Statement

I wanted to just jot down some of the things I’ve considered either as values or extensions of my values here. Starting with one of my roles and then defining my values. I will need to rework them over the course of my lifetime.

Partner – My partner is the most important person in my life. I support her in all her endeavors including those of family, profession, faith, and health.

Son/Brother/Uncle – I am a support unto my family and will provide honesty when no one else can.

Christian – I will uphold the tenants of my faith and repent when/if I fail.

Employee – I help others realize the possibilities of their choices and will assist those in need whenever I am able to do so.

Friend – My friends can count on me to provide help, guidance, and caring.

General – I live to communicate the worth of others back to themselves when they can’t. I will help support others in their posititive efforts.

As always, I hope you can reflect on some of the work I’m doing so that you may apply it to yourself. Who knows? You might find something you can add to your everyday rhetoric repertoire!

Thank you for reading and let me know if you’ve written a personal, family, or company mission statement.