Recently I went through Tonya Dalton’s (Inkwell Press & The Productivity Paradox podcast) process for writing a personal mission statement. The idea behind a personal mission statement is the same as it would be for a business or organization. It is a clear, concise statement about what you are and what you’re doing. It can simplify your life a lot if used well. As new opportunities or ideas come up, check them against your mission statement. Do they align with it? Then proceed. If not, it might not be a wise investment of your time and energy.
My statement is: “To live a well-curated life filled with passion, drive, and an appreciation for the simple things – with my own elegance and style, forgoing the approval of others, inspiring those I meet to live fervently.”
Learning more about minimalism helped tremendously with the process of writing my statement. It taught me how to edit my life to match what I really wanted. I held onto a lot of stuff (physical and emotional clutter) out of guilt or attachment, which left me with an environment that overwhelmed me with the story of where I had been, but told me nothing about where I was trying to go. It left no room for the future.
Any editing process has the potential to be just as painful as it is freeing. When editing a work of art or a piece of writing, you hurt for the parts you let go of – even if you know they detract from the finished piece. But knowing that doesn’t always make it easier to let go. The same can be said for editing your life. Whether it is a project or hobby you’ve invested a lot into, a career, a field or industry, a relationship, your wardrobe, your home, or your possessions – it can hurt to let go of. But at the end of the day, if it isn’t conducive to who you want to be or where you want to go, you don’t have room for it in your life. It’s just holding you back. And while those seem like simple phrases to type, I know all too well they aren’t so simple to act upon. The result is freeing though. It is a bitter sweet step in getting you closer to the life you want.
Treat your life like an art exhibition. Decide how it should look and who your audience is – which might only be yourself. Carefully select what goes into it so that it makes the statement you want it to. Organize and tend to each individual piece with care, and fit it all together so that it flows into the larger, cohesive whole.
The more you edit, the easier it gets. And the less inclined you will be to make impulsive decisions you’ll regret later about who and what comes into your home and life, because you have worked so hard to make it exactly how you want it to be.
If you’re interested in writing your own mission statement and doing some editing in your life, I recommend checking out Tonya Dalton’s podcast: Productivity Paradox. I also recommend the book Design the Life you Love: A Step by Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future by Ayse Birsel. One of my favorite parts about this book is the constant reminder to leave room for playfulness in the re-designing of your life. I need that reminder in my work as well. It’s so easy to forget to loosen up and play, but often that is where the best ideas come from. I checked this book out from the library, but this one is actually worth buying because it is designed to be used as a journal or workbook with lots of pages to fill in and refer back to.
I wish you well on your journey of designing a life you love with a clear mission statement to guide you. Taking the time to do these things has made a drastic change in the direction of my life, and I hope it does the same for you.