Monday, August 31, 2009

Writing your purpose and vision statement

Your purpose and vision statements are the next step in your walk to define who you are and what your life will stand for. My statements have changed many times over the years as my life circumstances have changed and as I have learned more about the world in general. Don’t worry about the wording or how it may be interpreted by others. These statements are for you.

Steven Covey has been recognized as the personal development pioneer in this area. In his book First Things First, he offers the following three basic elements that must be present in a meaningful personal vision (mission) statement. The first is what you want to be—what character strengths you want to have, what qualities you want to develop. The second is what you want to do—what you want to accomplish, what contributions you want to make. The third is what you want to have—what possessions, money and so forth you wish to have.

My statements are simple and easy to remember. Also, I am not much of “what you want to have” kind of person. Instead, I focus more on who I want to be. What you write is up to you.

Use the following exercise to help you write your statement:

Who you want to be—Imagine it is many years from now. You are walking into a large auditorium filled with excitement. You can tell from the crowd that this must be a ceremony to recognize some young people who are soon to graduate college and begin the great journey of life. At the podium a person appears and gives the introduction to her speech. It goes a little like this; “Ladies and gentleman. I am excited to be with you here today to tell the story of a life. Not just any life. This is story of a life that was lived to its fullest potential.

Today I am not here to tell you my story. Instead, I want to spend the next few minutes telling you the story of my good friend ___________________. To me he/she was a true example of someone who created a life of joy and fulfillment.

What would this speaker say about you?

“I am grateful to have known this person because…”

“My friend’s purpose in life was to…”

“In his personal life, my friend….”

“At work, my friend was known for…”

This exercise is personal by nature and there are many ways to approach it. My best suggestion is to just find a quiet place to be alone with your thoughts and truly reflect on the life you want to live. Share the results with a close friend when you are done and post your value list, purpose statement and vision statement somewhere close by.

I wish you the best and hope you found something about yourself that you may not have known.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

David's value list

Do you know what you value? If you took a few moments yesterday to brainstorm your thoughts you do. Congratulations! Before we move on to writing a purpose statement and a compelling vision statement I thought I would share my own value list.

My value list

Closeness to God
Financial security

Articulation of values leads to accountability. Each day I must ask myself, “Are my actions in alignment with my values as well as my Purpose and my Vision?” I often fall short but at least I know what I am striving for.

Share your list today! Post where you can see it! No accountability leads to no action.

What were some of your values? Did they align with your actions?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creating a value list

Many times the root of our personal inner conflict is the result of incongruent values. Do your words and thoughts consistently match you actions? Do the people you interact with have similar values? Does your career support or undermine the person you desire to be.

In this sense the things we find valuable are not necessarily material things. Instead you can think of them as emotional states or items that create states. Some possible values may be:

Personal growth
Family Time
Helping Others

You would not want to take a person who holds solitude as a high personal value to event where this person would have to interact with a large number of people over a long period of time.

For a career, a person who highly values risk and financial rewards would do well in a commission based sales job whereas a person that values security and might not be as happy. This does not mean that the security minded person would not make it as a sales person. Remember, here we are talking about inner value conflicts.

In relationships the person who sees adventure as a high value item may eventually conflict with a spouse prefers life at home. Very few of us bother to ask our potential mate to identify the things they value most in life.

Creating your value list

For the next five minutes brainstorm your own value list. Think about your life and the things that are important to you.

What values do you hold so strong that you will be willing to undergo some pain to keep them?

You may want to have your spouse or significant other complete this same exercise and then compare what you both created.

Afer you complete the exercise, share with us here how it went for you. Any suprises? What were some of your top values?

Monday, August 24, 2009

“Know who you are and then you will know what to do”

Yet another simple and yet profound statement from Craig Groeschel. Wanting to know who I am and why I do things the way I do has been a quest of mine for many years. I hate to admit it but there have been many moments alone with God asking, “Lord! Why have you made me this way? I know it is for your purpose but please help me to change”

The years have given me the wisdom to know the weaknesses that drive me are in many ways also my strengths. My inner awareness has helped me as a husband, father, and manager. Since I am aware, I can try to avoid situations that place me in a spot of weakness. I can also fill the gaps by surrounding myself with people who may be strong where I am weak.

Craig’s statement this week has some interesting timing. Just a couple of weeks ago I took some time to update my Value List, Purpose Statement, and Vision Statement. These serve as my inner compass as I travel through the day and I have them posted here at my desk. They give me something to strive for and a test for making decisions.

What about you? Have you taken the time to define your values, your purpose, and your vision?

If you have, let me challenge your to share your thoughts about them here with others.

If you have not, let me challenge you to do so this week. I will post a few tips that will perhaps help you along the way starting on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Family Traditions

I am a big believer traditions and think this is one of the best ways to create true lasting memories for your family. Think about your own past. What do you remember most about growing up? Is it the one time you went to such and such state park or perhaps the Saturday mornings when mom would always rouse you up early for pancakes? Chances are the pancakes are what you remember.
One example from are family is the Happy Birthday banner. (see pictures) We first put this up way back in 1996 and it has become a staple around here ever since. Even the dog gets a banner on her birthday and our house got a mention the day we moved in. It would just not be a birthday without the banner and a picture by the date. Of course the cool thing is also seeing the pictures and how we change over the years.
What about you and your family? Do you have traditions? If so, what are they? Also, what are some of your favorite tradition memories as a child?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy 12!

It is hard to believe that Conner is turning 12 today. It seems like just a blink of an eye ago I was throwing him in the air, changing diapers and taking naps with him cuddled in my arms. Much as changed and everyday I see him growing more and more into his own person. Sometimes I find myself staring at him trying to get a glimpse of the man he is going to be soon. I wonder what he will look like when he’s taller than his mom. I wonder how he will react the first time a girl breaks his heart. I wonder how strong he will be in his walk with God when the temptations of life get thrown at him. Most of all, I wonder if we have done enough as parents to set the early foundation for the challenges of life that is to come for him.

I see a boy that is growing into a young man of intelligence (straight As), character (thank you Scouts), reverence (thank you Lifechurch.TV/Church of the Servant), and good looks (thank you Mrs. Copeland). Really the rest is up to him. There no doubt will be some difficult moments to come soon as the covering of youthful innocence is removed. I am an imperfect father who has made and will make many mistakes. Clearly there is no magic formula for raising a child. My commitment is to be there as best of an example I can be.

Happy Birthday Conner. I hope that no matter what happens in the life to come that you will know how much I love you and believe in the wonderful plan God has for your life. I am honored and blessed to be your dad.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

There are Mustangs everywhere

“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose—somehow we win out….”
Ronald Reagan

A few weeks ago Conner and I were pulling out of the neighborhood and a sparkling new bright yellow Mustang Shelby Cobra passed us by. As men do, we talked about what a fast car that must be and how cool it would be to have a Mustang. Seconds later another Mustang passed by. Soon we approached the stoplight and boom there were two more. I asked Conner to start counting the number of Mustangs we would see for the next few minutes of our trip. I don’t recall the exact end number but it had to be more than twenty.

Conner exclaimed, “these Mustangs are everywhere! Ford must be making a ton of money”. I saw this as great opportunity to teach Conner about the Law of Expectations. Basically the Law of Expectations states that we tend to get what we expect. Conner expected to see Mustangs and suddenly they were everywhere.
I told him it is the same with people. Those who expect others to be good tend to see good in everyone one they meet. This is in stark contrast to the bitter person that thinks negatively of others and sees faults in everyone. This is the type of person that is always trying to be taller by making others smaller.

I owe an attitude of positive expectations to so many great things in my life. I expect people to be good and tend to like most everyone I meet. I have expected to be successful in my daily job and when things seem challenging I tell my co-workers not to worry because things “always work out for me”. No I am not relying on dumb luck it is just things indeed seem to always work out.

How do you look at life? Do you expect the best or are you always looking for a reason to see the worse in people and in situations?

Look at the bright side of things I you might just be surpised at what you find.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I show up

“The world is run by those who show up”

August is back to school for kids around the country and for many of us it also represents getting back into full gear with volunteerism. My passion is Scouting and I have been serving as an active volunteer since my son joined as a Webelos in the fall of 2006. I can say these years of serving have been a real source of joy in my life. Don’t get me wrong. It is not easy, usually thankless and has involved not only time working with the youth but many days of adult training and behind the scenes work. The BSA has some of the best leader training programs of any non-profit and most of the front line work is done by Volunteers.

When I talk to others about getting involved the typical response is “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the skill”.

Don’t have the time?

Whew who does really! Most if the people I know who volunteer are people of great responsibility in their work lives as well as their personal lives. Funny how it seems at times the most effective volunteers are those who are already living some of the busiest lives around. These folks tend to be master planners that have learned over time to prioritize activity around work, family and serving. The key is balance and to not let things get too out of whack in any category. Are you already at soccer anyway every week? Then do some work while you are there! Same goes for your church and other organizations you are frequenting anyway.

Don’t have the skill?
Really this starts with passion and most of the time the skill will come. I have in the past volunteered with great passion in some areas and then quickly realized that it was not a good fit for my personality or skill. This sometimes comes with some disappointment but I have come to realize these times were a kind of training on my way to find my real fit. The key here is to realize soon that you need to move on before getting stuck in a role that does not excite you.

Why do it? The Pareto Principle tells it that 80% of the work in any organization is done by 20% or less of the people. By choosing to be in that 20%, you are enhancing the lives of others and making a difference in this world. Yes, there are people who truly do not have the time. Give these folks the gift of yours. The single moms, struggling family, kids at soccer, seeking visitors at church, and the world will be better because of YOU!

Find something that excites you and get involved!

Tell us your passion. What organization(s) do you volunteer for and why? Maybe your comment will encourage someone to get started.