Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Sun 3/14/2004 4:11 AM
Random Thought: Personal Mission Statements, V

Having a Personal Mission Statement is not about being better than anyone else; it's about being better, slowly, day by day, inch by inch, than I once was. It's my power of intention. It's my inspiration. That is, it's my energy source that grabs me and carries me along wherever and whenever it wishes without consulting me. It's my motivation. That is, it's my driving force to go out there and do whatever it takes. It's my connection with my unique potential--whatever that may be--to become significant rather than merely successful.

My life is, and always has been, the result of the choices I've made. What I feel, think, and do determines what happens to me. I become what I think about and what I feel about. Every feeling and thought and action makes me stronger or weaker, better or lesser, appreciate or depreciate, bountiful or short-changed, mobilized or immobilized. The way I choose to look at people and things determines the way people and things look. And, if I change that look, that look will change. Someone, I think it was William James, said that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you hold it there long enough, it will become a reality. That's what a Personal Mission Statement is. It's an agreement with reality: a perpetual, ever-present, mind and heart stretching picture of what I would like to be. I've found that it has worked for me.

You know however a personal mission statement, however it is framed, is a loud inner voice. It says that you want to do good and want to feel good. It's the source of kindness, faith, hope, belief, love. I found that feeling good is a choice, and it is a choice thatcreates a higher consciousness and sharper awareness of my "oneness" that acts as an antidote to most anything poinsonous.

Someone asked me what does it takes to get a Personal Mission Statement. Honestly, my answer was: "Honestly and patiently repack your bags." Like I said the other day, my personal mission statement didn't emerge from an annual planning ritual or retreat or a consultant's workshop. I got to mine by struggling with, reflecting on seven questions over the past decade: Who am I? What is my life about? What do I stand for? What am I capable of? How do I get where I want to go? How do I live the answer? The most critical and toughest question is: What's holding me back and how do I get it off my back?

My sense of mission and my mission statement grew like a plant and slowly opened as a bloom. It was and still is an arduous, brutally honest, sweaty, uncomfortable, inconvenient, time-consuming task to see clearly what goes on around and in me. It has taken me painful and reflective years of attempts to find importance, meaning, purpose and direction. It was a long, messy, drawn out, agonizing, groping, soul-searching, incremental, "in-venture." Don't be cavalier about it and don't expect it to appear in the flash of blinding light and emerge from the white cloud of a hollywood moment. It has taken reams of crumpled sheets, draft after draft, some frustrated snarling, a bit of cursing here and there, glass of wine after glass of wine, hour after hour after hour by the fish pond, mile after mile of walking before the sun rose in the sky. There wasn't much glamor about it. I looked at my life. I had to admit it was largely unlived, that it was a cup filled with disappointment, dissatisfaction, fear, sorrow, sense of failure, weak self-confidence, low self-esteem, and spiritual pain from which I had been drinking for so many decades. I worked to discover what moved me, to identify my true passion, uncover and utilize my gifts, find my uniqueness, tap my potential, envision my life's work, blaze the path to power and possibility. I started out looking for what I wanted to do, to really do, and ended up looking for who I wanted to be, to really be. It began as a quest for a job description and ended up being a quest for a purpose, that mighty task, that is greater than merely surviving and more than merely acquiring. I had to be patient with myself, for I had to learn that the journey is as important as the outcome. I'll repeat that: the journey is as important as the outcome.

Slowly, oh so slowly, and painfully, oh so painfully, my life began to take a dramatic shift. Slowly, I could say, "This is who I am becoming and this is what I am about." Slowly, I began to shed--or, at least, come to terms with-- my fears, insecurities, self-doubts. Slowly, I began to find my place and being.

After talking with many people whom I know have a reflected upon and articulated Personal Mission Statement, I find they don't have halos or wear white gowns. Yet, when you talk with them, there's something about them. They have a distinctiveness, a uniqueness, about them. They are more than informed and filled with information. They are filled with what I'll call an intense intention. They don't just have good ideas or neat methods; they have a calling. They just have just a strong and almost invincible sense of purpose. And, yet they are "pit bullish" about it in the sense that you can't tell them that what they intend won't occur. They do not feel powerless. They do not feel unworthy. They do not feel inconsequential or insignificant. They feel less the victim. They have an openness about them. It doesn't matter to them what's happened before. They don't relate to the concepts of failure or impossibility because they've made themselves available to success and possibility. They're living on purpose and aren't either distracted or deterred by the caution of yellow lights or halting red lights flashed by the negative and warning thoughts and actions of others. They have a fearless "let's see what happens" attitude that defies frustration. They create their way their own way. They see the positive in everything. Their road is an endless line of green lights. They are extraordinarily imaginative and creative. They don't have a need to fit in or to do things the way others expect them to. They're awed by and inquisitive about and have an affinity for life. They're always expanding their own horizons. They are a bundle of energy. And yet, they are assuring. They are more caring. They are more committed. They are more dedicated. They are more passionate. They are more generous. They smile more. They laugh more. Their eyes glisten. They have a deeper sense of responsibility. They have sharper perceptions. They have clearer understandings. They have a keener awareness. They better know what is important. They move and learn faster. They are initiators and creators rather than reactors. They feel connected to and a part of something larger than themselves. They have a wholeness about them, always combining their heads and their guts and their souls. They blame less and assume responsibility more. They are servers. They find fulfillment in their work which is not work to them. They're avid learners. They are questers, journeyers, rather than arrivers. They never "get there," never "get it," and never "find it." They are process people rather than goal getters. They are antsy, itchy, restless. They pursue wholeness. They work to be in emotional and spiritual shape as intensely as they do intellectual and physical shape. It's they're living in a different world indifferent to reality checks that list why what they do just won't work out.

Having your sincere "why" at your fingertips is the best insurance you can have to keep alive. It works! I guarantee it! It helps me decide and sense how to act, what to say, what to do. It keeps me from living someone else's mission and prods me to be a dynamic educator who wants to build a new future. !

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

Return to The Complete Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier
Return to the Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier