Your Mission in Life is…

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No matter where you are on the journey of life, retired, retooling, or reflecting, do you have a clear sense of your mission? Or are you a little unfocused and at times caught in the busyness trap where your motto could well be In the absence of a clear strategy we redoubled our efforts?

It is quite amazing that so many people or organizations lack a clear sense of purpose.

Recently a senior executive friend of mine attended a corporate retreat for its top leaders. The president and CEO asked the group  “How many of you feel that we have a clear and compelling strategy?” Only a few raised their hands. He then asked, “How many can articulate our strategy?” This time fewer indicated an understanding. Astounding for a company of its size and importance.

This story can be replicated again and again. A sense of clarity about our mission requires that we have

  1. A deep sense of our signature strengths.

A previous blog posting pointed out how you can evaluate your Signature Strengths. Studies indicate that if we live and express our lives around these strengths our level of personal fulfillment is greatly enhanced.

A factor about these strengths is that they are keyed into our deepest values like the pursuit of kindness and the search for excellence.

Are you expressing your strengths in what you do?

  1. A clarity in all our communications.

It’s amazing how much more effective we can be if we work on clearly and briefly stating our core message about ourselves. In recent years I have come to view my mission as helping international leaders find sources of inspiration in both themselves as well as those that they lead .

Can you clearly and concisely articulate your mission?

  1. Insight to our behavioral drivers.

Knowing why we behave the way we do is key to the realization of a compelling mission. An article in the NY Times on the “Busyness Trap” captures the reasons why people live such frenetic lives.  It could be anything from the fact that the activity gives the person  a sense of importance to the possibility that they are running from the a variety of “inner demons” from their deep past or oppressive culture.

Are you running from some inner turmoil or towards a life-affirming mission?

  1. A mission that gives us a sense of meaning.

Viktor Frankl in “Man’s Search For Meaning” wrote about his fellow concentration camp prisoners that had a will to  survive. In most instances, they talked about wanting to survive because they had some overarching goal. For instance, they desired to tell the story of the Nazi horrors so that no one would forget, or they wanted to still compose a piece of music, or they longed to be reunited with their family. This sense of purpose gave them the will to live.

“What sense of inner purpose gives you the will to live and makes you get up in the morning?

What is your life affirming and community enhancing reason that makes you dance joyfully through the day?

What legacy do you want to leave where people say of you “He/she made a difference to my life/community?”

This sense of personal mission is a practical map for a flourishing and fulfilling life.


About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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