Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekly Wings: Mission Statement

From Dame Carla's prompts: 'You, Inc. I want you to think of yourself as an organization with four departments: Intellect, Emotions, Body and Spirit. ...Your Mission Statement is a description of how you manifest your personal vision in your daily life; it encompasses who you are, what you want to become, and what you want to accomplish over the next three to five years. ...Having a mission statement will help you channel your energy to focus your actions, behaviors, and decisions in the direction of the things that are most important to you.'

My resistance to this Weekly Wings was astronomical, from the moment I started reading it after Dame Carla posted it on Sunday. Every ounce of my Wings 4 You enthusiasm flounced out the front door with suitcase packed and one-way ticket to ANYWHERE in hand. Mission Statement is a 4-letter word to me, based on years of corporate employment wherein and during which, every 18 months, a new Corporate Management Mentality would enter the arena, requiring vast hours of New Management Mentality Meetings along with a tonnage of required personality tests and written submissions describing, in excruciating detail, my 5-year plans both personal and professional. This would be followed by weak flexing of management toward implementing change, to be forgotten within no more than 8 weeks as the daily demands of the Real Work pressed these Management Pretensions out of existence. Professional life would continue, ad nauseum, ad same-as-always, until the next New Management Mentality Wave struck, at which point I (enterprising soul that I am) would whip out my prior submissions and submit them as responses to the new polls. I detest this process because in 23 years I've never seen a commitment to an existing mission statement, let alone a proposed change.

I've been talking to myself about this since I read Sunday's Weekly Wings post, & certainly it provided my internal dialogue ALL day today, a conversation mostly along the lines of, 'Toni, Luv, this isn't about somebody else's "bottom line". This is all about your TOP line, your flight, your being airlifted toward the next beautiful horizon. Come on, Baby, you can do this."

ICK!!! (Sorry, Carla!) ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK!!!

But probably Dame Carla anticipated this reaction, because she provided a formula and all the steps necessary to tiptoe my way in, through, and ahead of this Mission Statement Thing. The formula is this (&, as she pointed out, the previous Weekly Wings exercises had already accomplished all the 'labor'):

My objecting brain, heart & soul were silenced: whoa, wait a second, this is PERSONAL. This is real. This is where it's actually going to work because YOU are the engine behind the change. And (critical), I would not be opening/exposing my depths to corporate honchos who really only care about my productivity level and company commitment as would impact the profit margin.

Big difference.

11 pages, front & back, I worked through each prompt, sometimes reworked, sometimes scribbled out and started over. I'm cool with that; I wanted to get it right, and I noticed some things were being left out that actually DO mean my future to me. Most notably: my writing.

I'll give you what I count as my top 3 values, which I discovered HAD to remain as value strings, not individual components:
1. Love/Family/Safe Place
2. Artistic Expression/Autonomy/Risk
3. Risk/Safe-Place (duality) = Growth

I'll spare you, now, the 11 pages of wrestling with honing in on defining life roles in family, job, my community, & the world; identifying my present contributions and the future differences I want to make; common themes; my short- & long-term goals for one year, 3, and 5, as well as what I want to have accomplished by the end of my life; and my list of action steps toward all this.

I'll give you, instead, two of my Mission Statements (we wrote one for each of the four areas of our individual 'organization):

Art is my path, my passion, my purpose, my prescription and my proclamation, reflecting externally, in words and visual art, the constantly moving internal horizons and the stones both turned & beckoning.

I ask of myself in small daily ways to reach, to aim toward defined objectives, with confidence and enthusiasm. My steps are realistic and achievable, but NOT 'easy' -- I am committed to being my best, and focus on my highest capability in lieu of my comfort zone.

A bonus exercise given was to design my own logo, which I have sketched out and will attempt to make manifest in some visual form tomorrow evening. It includes a mermaid, a Fedora, and a plumed pen.

Now I am to put all this away and return to it after letting it simmer for several hours, in order to re-read my mission statements and see if I really believe in them, if they set me on fire, if they encompass all that I am and will be. Good idea, really really good idea. I suspect I can find many areas for improvement, going back with fresh eyes and infinitely reduced 'ICK' attitude!


Teresa K. said...

Toni, thank you for this thought-provoking post and for your sharing your reservations about the "mission statement." At work, our statement is redone about every two or three years. Last time I comtemplated offering myself up for a public hanging if it would get us all off the mission statement hook. Have you read any of the "Abraham-Hicks" work? or any of the "Seth" material?

Veronica said...

Wow amazing mission statement. But I missed the part on where you will love your sister to death???? hummm?????

A mermaid, fedora and plume? Can't wait to see it.
love your sister

carla said...

You know, Toni - I wrestled with the whole corporate connection when I put this challenge together as I imagined that many folks would bristle at the term. But you reframed it and looked at it as it was offered - a way to focus your personal philosophy and goals. While corporate mission statements often have little to do with the values and feelings of those people who work there, a personal mission statement belongs to you alone - it is the essence of individualism. And... you came up with some really strong stuff! Thank you for playing, despite your intial "ICK" reaction! I am very excited to see your logo! xxx - carla