“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – James A. Michener
In 2012, I created a personal mission statement. Have you ever thought of doing such a thing? I originally got the idea long before 2012 from a church boy I knew. He carried it around in his wallet to remind him of his goals and values whenever he needed to make a decision concerning his life. It was a sort-of GPS to keep oneself on track. The idea works the same as business mission statements. I thought it was such a good idea but of course I didn’t do it right away. I wasn’t even sure where to begin. In 2012, one of my favorite bloggers, Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com, broke it down. I just had to list my values, the things I appreciate, who I really am and what I want to do on this earth. The great thing about creating a personal mission statement is that it can change and evolve as you do. It can also be as long or short as you want. Mine is long.
My personal mission statement says: “I value education, love, community, God, public service, creativity and diversity. I truly appreciate laughter, good food, music and poetry in my life. I value my independence and love for myself and others. In my time on this earth, I want to make a positive impact on the world for young people, women and people of color. I am a leader, Christian and woman of color who will use my life to help others work on their self-image and advancement. In my consulting efforts to guide others towards confidence and independence. I will also continue to reflect on my use of wisdom, integrity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, compassion and self-control in doing so. I will not ignore my own family, friends, finances, health or spirit. I will give my loved ones the authentic love and respect I would ask them to have for me. I will remember that my actions are just as important as my words and live accordingly.”
In 2014, I sat through a life-changing personal development seminar. During that seminar I created a personal vision around my finances (Be debt free from student loans and credit cards), my fitness (Practice self-care and stay fit as I age), my family (Be a more active family member), my friends (Be a more active friend), my work (Future goals to own a magazine and run a television network around the themes of my current blog) and my fun (Have more fun by living intentionally). I attached SMART goals and tasks to each which I am sure I will discuss in a future blog post. I also told my closest friends and family about it in order to hold myself accountable. I was planting the seed for what has come this year.
In January 2015, inspired by Essence Magazine, I created my first physical vision board. I clipped images and words around travel, relationships, rest, leadership, women I admire, empowerment and fun among many other things. Ever since I created that vision board and put it up inside the cabinets of my bathroom mirrors, I have seen so many more of those goals happen. It sounds like magic but I’m serious, it works. It creates a secret drive inside you to look for opportunities to make those things happen. For example, in April 2015 I found out I was a recipient of the Aspire Foundation scholarship that I applied for after seeing a dynamic webinar by their foundation on Trailblazing leadership. Come June 2015, I will be attending their Trailblazing Leadership conference for women being held in London, England! That alone achieves several of the goals I had on my vision board. It is truly amazing.
Fast forward to today, I have been inspired by so many of my experiences to write this blog. I have been driven by what I have learned about myself through mission statements and vision boards. I have arrived at a new exhilarating experience moving forward to fulfill these visions that I have been developing and editing over the years. I am writing my blog away from dreams and drafts into reality. I am investing in myself and giving up on all my familiar excuses. What tired excuse is it time for you to let go of?
My new mantra: Don’t think so hard while trying to master the art of living well. I welcome you to untangle your life with me.
What personal or professional vision do you want to come alive in your life?