A personal mission statement can act as your “north star” throughout the twists and turns of life . Too often, people focus on responding to the responsibilities and demands placed on them by others, such as a boss, teacher, or family member; that they ultimately forget to focus on what they are seeking in life. Often times people ignore the signs that they are struggling and end up feeling burnt out or unfulfilled with where they are at.
Few people want to watch their life pass them by, as they float from task to task. People crave purpose and fulfillment. In fact, Widen, a technology company, recently asked their employees if they would be willing to go through a three month “Discover Your Purpose Program” and found that roughly 80% of the participants said yes. “People are starving for this and want help navigating [finding their purpose],” says CEO, Matthew Gonnering.
The Widen Discover Your Purpose Program is in conjunction with World Blu, a company that assists organizations in establishing organizational democracy. Each month a cohort group of five employees deploys on their three-month journey. During this time they “learn together and independently to figure out what their reason for existence is - not as it relates to business, but as it relates to life,” says Gonnering. The purpose of the program is to help employees articulate their purpose statement by the end.
Gonnering proclaimed himself the Chief Eudaimonia Officer. He explains that eudaimonia is a greek term meaning happiness, health, and prosperity. He believes everyone brings these things into the work environment today and it’s the employer's role to help people develop to their fullest potential. Which in turn creates more efficient, balanced, and fulfilled employees, and a more sustainable business.
An employee left and returned to the company twice because he believed these other companies would allow him to do more good in the world and contribute more to society. Afterward, Gonnering realized the importance of helping others figure out their life’s mission statement in order to cultivate happier, healthier, more prosperous employees who lived a life with greater work-life integration.
According to the National Wellness Institute, there are six dimensions of wellness: spiritual, emotional, occupational, physical, social, and intellectual. Gonnering says, “we have to integrate people’s lives across these six dimensions,” or else risk burning out. Finding your life’s mission statement and how it can be supported in these six areas will ultimately lead to great work-life balance, fulfillment, and sustainability.
If you want to begin figuring out your life’s mission statement today, Gonnering recommends going through several exercises and experiences to gain self-awareness such as taking a strengths finder test or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. He also suggests watching “Finding Joe,” a documentary about Joseph Campbell’s the “Hero’s Journey,” or “Trombone Player Wanted” by Marcus Buckingham. Lastly, he recommends asking yourself the following questions:
- “What is your bliss?” Derived from Joseph Campbell’s statement, “follow your bliss”.
- “The power question: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” from Traci Fenton - Founder and CEO of World Blu.
- "What do you stand for? What are you intolerables?"
By going through these questions and exercises, Gonnering believes people can begin to create boundaries and a rough outline for their life. This outline can then be used to create work-life balance that supports a person's overarching missions statement.
Once you have figured out your life’s mission statement, what happens if your purpose is misaligned with your career ?
Gonnering says “applaud that.” If you can re-work your life to support your mission statement then that is great. However, many people run into the obstacle of whether or not they can fund their purpose. Gonnering says it’s not uncommon for people to have their professional skills often witnessed in the workplace, as well as under the radar unique skills which often are more aligned with their purpose.
Gonnering recommends being transparent with others about those unique skills. He shares that one employee has a cupcake business on the side which he did not share about openly. Until Gonnering learned about it, now whenever Gonnering needs cupcakes, he knows who to call. By sharing your unique skills, even if they do not align perfectly with your nine to five, you can create more doorways and paths to create a balanced and purpose driven life.