You might be familiar with the idea of mission statements, especially when used in a business context. Simply put, a mission statement is a short written declaration of an organisation’s main goals, usually covering what they do, why and who for. It’s designed to become a kind of driving force, the ethos by which a company operates.
One of my favourite ways to connect with my own personal awesome is to utilise this idea by creating a personal mission statement, or as I prefer to call it, my Big Life Ethos.
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Personal Mission Statements
Using mission statements for personal growth is not a new idea. In his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey recommends creating a personal mission statement as a powerful tool for self-development.
“Your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression by which you measure your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.
Stephen R. Covey”
Personal Mission Statement VS Big Life Ethos
What’s in a name?
You can of course still use the term personal mission statement if you like it, but words hold power, and for me, the word ‘mission’ just holds connotations of struggle, which personally is not the vibe I tend to go for when trying to connect with my own deep-down badass self!
Play around with words that resonate with you and you will start to summon your best energy before you’ve even begun thinking about what you’re going to write.
Here are a few ideas you could play around with:
- Personal Statement
- Personal Growth Project
- Muchness Manifesto (I rather like this one…might have to switch!)
- Epicness Ethos
- Life Declaration
- Growth Goals
- Awesome Assertion …
…You get the idea! Pick your term and let’s get going!
So what is it you want? What is important to you? What are your core beliefs and values?
Do you have one main life goal? A drive or passion right now? What motivates or inspires you?
Maybe you want to live a life of courage and bravery. Maybe you want to reach a state of enlightenment and inner peace and serenity. Perhaps you are striving to live a life of balance and authenticity.
Or perhaps, for now, you have a more tangible goal in mind, like starting a family and moving to the countryside or starting your own business. That’s fine too, sometimes we need to work on our short-term goals in order to fulfil our long-term potential.
Writing your Big Life Ethos probably won’t happen quickly. In fact, it’s better if you allow yourself some time to really consider what you want your best life to look like.
I find the process of writing it is as important as the end product. There is something about the analysing and delving into what you are really about and your core values and beliefs, that brings you back to yourself and allows you to see with new clarity. So really dig deep! Ask yourself big important questions about all aspects of your life, about the people you care about and the things you hope to achieve, why do you want the things you want? How do you hope to achieve this?
With a little bit of time and consideration, you will find what truly matters to you. (Be aware also that your goals may change over time and that this is ok! You will probably want to revisit your ‘Big Life Ethos’ throughout your life, so don’t worry about getting it wrong, it isn’t a test, it’s about nailing down what you believe at your core right now and why. )
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When you’re done brainstorming and are ready to rock, write out a few short sentences that sum up what it is you want your life to look like.
If you’re a super concise person, you may be able to sum up your main life intentions in one brief and compact bundle, like:
“I want to live a life of integrity and grace, to help and inspire others on a daily basis and make ethical choices which have a positive impact on the planet.”
Boom! Fantastic, live by your ethos and rock your world! It might still benefit you, however, to continue reading and apply some of the following techniques in order to really make this your own.
If you are not that super concise person (I know I’m not…) and have a multitude of directions your brain is taking you right now, then I suggest creating categories and dividing your Big Life Ethos into segments.
We are wonderfully complex and multi-faceted beings, and you won’t necessarily be able to apply the same criteria to all elements of your experience. Splitting up your Ethos into the different areas that matter to you can help you create a more meaningful manifesto.
Areas to consider are really dependant on what your interests are but might include some of the following:
- Health & fitness
- Family & friends
- Personal development
- Emotional well-being
- Community etc…
Create a sentence or two which sum up your goals for each of the areas you want to focus on or develop.
Switch up your perspective
Now take a look at your sentences, say you wrote something like:
”I want less stress in my life and more free time”
Although this sentence is a perfectly adequate statement of fact (I mean who doesn’t want less stress and more free time?!) the wording just isn’t right for a Big Life Ethos. Ohhhh no. Here’s why…
The magic of phrasing
The words you use create focus. (There is a reason we use the words ‘spell’ and ‘spelling’ in relation to how we arrange letters! Words have power! It may sound hokey, but hear me out, this is where you’ll really start to connect with your own personal inner guru)
Using negative language creates focus on exactly what it is you want to be rid of, so we need to switch it up to reflect a more positive attitude. So you might amend it to something like this:
“I want to be able to handle life’s challenges with grace and ease and enjoy more free time”
Better – but we’re still not there…
In creating your Big Life Ethos you are essentially writing a set of affirmations. Writing them in the present tense brings them closer and makes them feel more achievable. Reading them out to yourself regularly (preferably daily) will awaken your inner awesome, and together you will achieve great things!
“I meet life’s challenges with ease and grace and have an abundance of free time.”
You could even leave the challenges bit out…
“My life is filled with ease and grace and I have an abundance of time to spend as I wish”
How’s that for positivity? Woot!
Either of these last two affirmations look good to me. The inclusion (or not) of the aspect of challenge is entirely a matter of personal choice – some would say you are inviting challenges by including them in your ethos, others that a little bit of stress is good for you!
A good middle ground might be to change the word ‘challenges’ for something like ‘opportunities’
You also need to FEEL what you are affirming, so it might depend on how believable your statement feels to you. (This doesn’t mean downplay it though…think big, but inspirational rather than ridiculous.)
Say you’re working on your health. An affirmation such as:
“I am an unstoppable powerhouse of physical fitness. I can run multi marathons without breaking a sweat”
When actually you get out of breath climbing the stairs, might be a stretch too far (or not! If that works for you, take it!) If your intentions seem ludicrous to you, you won’t gain anything from writing them. Scale it down a little, but you still want to be creating a goal for yourself. You could try something like:
“I am fit, healthy and strong. I can comfortably run 3km”
Revisit your original statements and rework them using the above techniques. Sometimes creating positive affirmations from your list of life goals really alters how they affect you. Having compiled a selection of affirmations in the various areas of importance you will see that some just jump out as your overall main message and core truth. (Yay! Now you too have that super concise Life Ethos statement!)
Related reading: Affirmations – A Beginners Guide
Make it your truth
Do spend some time working on this. Writing a ‘Big Life Ethos’ is truly one of the best things you can do for personal motivation. I wrote my very first Personal mission statement about 15 years ago, and there are things I wrote in that first version which I have transferred to every rewrite since, and repeated to myself so many times over the years that they are now absolute truth. Affirmations just work!
Your mind is always ready to believe what you tell it, but far too often we fill our thought with negativity. It’s time to start lavishing a little love! Read your ‘Big Life Ethos’ as often as possible to remind you of what you stand for. For best results, speak out loud, but if you’re just not in that place yet, just reading it quietly to yourself will work wonders if you feel and believe that you are worthy of your goals (and you absolutely are you know…)
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Dig deep and you can find your best self. Connect with your innermost you, the very best expression of all that you are. That is The You. Your Personal Awesome. The you that is the you-iest you! Go forth and be that person! Be epic!
Some positive affirmation ideas to get you started
- I am kind, friendly, open, honest and trustworthy. I give generously of myself and my time. I am truthful in thought, word and deed.
- I am confident, energetic, passionate and unafraid. I live according to my own ideals and principles and relish the opportunities and adventures which come my way.
- I am successful. I learn every day and the process comes naturally to me.
- Money loves me. It flows it me in abundance and I always have more than I need.
- I balance peace in my soul, joy in my heart and health in my body and mind. I eat well, exercise often, smile daily, meditate and rest when I need to.
- I honour all that is sacred to me with the enthusiastic and unshakable faith of a child.
- My body is strong and able to heal, it is miraculous in its abilities.
- I am a badass.
- I am playful, lighthearted, jolly and mischievous. My children are thriving in the joyful and loving environment I provide
- I apply my time to what matters most
- I am surrounded by opportunities, have an abundance of choices and my life is my own. I live a life of brilliance.
I hope this has inspired you to write your own ‘Muchness Manifesto’ (am so totally using that now…) If so I’d love to hear what you come up with…please leave a comment!