What’s Your Mission (Statement)?

Mission StatementYears ago, one of the workshops I attended at a writing conference was on the topic of crafting a mission statement. The premise was, with a mission statement, a writer can be more focussed and effective. The instructor was a retired businessman, and he prefaced the hands-on part of the workshop by discussing how businesses and organizations use mission statements to help themselves function more effectively. And he sold me on the idea that any person, any lifestyle can benefit from a mission statement.

I have since served as part of a team crafting a mission statement for a nonprofit organization, and I loved teaching my students how to write a mission statement for where they were in their lives. It’s a different form of writing from the compare and contrast or analytical essay, and for most of them, probably a much more practical skill for life.

Why a Mission Statement Now?

As those of you who follow this blog know, I have been ill for a solid month–lie down and don’t do much of anything ill. As mentioned in my previous post (view Got a Lot on Your Mind? Braindrain! here) I’ve learned some things from this experience and want to apply them to my life. Thus, I have written a new mission statement.

My Mission Statement

My mission is to:

  1. teach and nurture literacy
  2. celebrate creativity, imagination, awe, and wonder
  3. serves as a faithful ambassador of Jesus Christ.

How I Am Implementing or Will Implement this Mission in My Life

Here are some of the ways I plan to “fulfill my mission.” To teach and nurture literacy I will:

  • continue my work as a writing teacher
  • continue reaching out and encouraging others in building a literate lifestyle through this blog
  • nurture a love of reading and writing in my grandchildren
  • joyfully serve as my husband’s personal librarian (I love that he lets me/counts on me to do this for him!)

To celebrate creativity, imagination, awe, and wonder, I will:

  • again continue reaching out and encouraging others through this blog
  • read
  • write fiction and poetry
  • participate in my writers’ groups
  • serve in the writing organizations to which I belong.

To serve as a faithful ambassador of Jesus Christ I will:

  • continue my work as a writing teacher
  • continue reaching out and encouraging others through this blog
  • continue to write fiction and poetry
  • read the Bible as close to daily as I can get (I confess I am not a get up before the sun and do it before anything else kind of woman. I’m pretty groggy in the early part of my day. I can learn and absorb more if I get a chance to wake up a bit)
  • participate within my church family
  • love the people I have been blessed with in my life–my husband, children, grandchildren, parents (I am so blessed they are still alive), friends, colleagues
  • strive to love my neighbor (and remember all humanity is my neighbor) as I love myself

What Stays and What Goes?

Having established this understanding with myself, I am now better equipped to evaluate  opportunities that come my way and make wise choices that will serve my mission and prevent burn-out.

Your Turn

Use the comment box below to share what you would put on your mission statement.



A Solution to Butterfly Brain?

I read an article in the May Family Circle magazine that really spoke to me.

To be up front, I am in rebellion against multi-tasking. When I try to do it, either my brain skips here and there like a butterfly in an English country garden, or I just get stressed out and can’t seem to do anything right. I believe the much hallowed efficiency of multi-tasking to be a myth.

So, “Mind Control,” by Robin Westen , was balm to my spirit. Westen does not discuss mind control as some outsider  coming in and controlling our minds (although, hmmm, perhaps that could be useful), but rather as me (or you) learning to better control the minds we possess. The key is focus.

Our days, our world can be so fragmented. We’ve got media coming in from multiple sources and directions, and so many tasks relating to the multiple and varied aspects of our lives needing attention.

My attention is valuable, and so is yours. Westin interviewed Winifred Gallagher, who likens attention to money. Gallagher says, “Just the way you’re careful about where you put your dollars, you need to be careful about where you invest your attention.”

Dr. Gloria Mark, also interviewed for the article said,“If we are interrupted from a task, it takes us a full 23 minutes to circle back to our original degree of concentration.” Wow, that was a revelation!

So how do we improve our focus? Westen’s first tip is a great big “Duh.” Before setting down to an activity we need to eliminate distractions. The less distractions in the environment around us, the better our focus.

When working at an activity, focus for a maximum of 90 minutes. At that point, according to Gallagher, or minds seek their own breaks.

The article calls attention to a variety of ways our lack of focused attention impacts our lives and provides ideas for strengthening this mental skill. If you, like me, struggle with butterfly brain, check out the article. It’s a good read.