Archive for February 2014

How to use a one word mission statement

I come across a lot of helpful tools in my life coaching business. They range from paper worksheets to simple concepts and “tricks” to help solve problems.

One of my favorites that I’ve come across in the last couple of years is the one-word mission statement.

How is a single word going to help with anything? I promise you, it works and for many people it works a lot better than a full-page mission statement.

Here’s what I want you to do.

  1. Pick a word that has meaning to you. You can do some research, maybe Google “inspiring words” or some similar phrase that will help give you a list to pick from. The only rule here is that it needs to be your word, not one that someone else has suggested to you.
  2. Once you’ve picked out a word, think about how it fits into your life. What would happen in the next six months or the next year if you really focused on applying that word to your life? If you’re happy with how that feels, you’ve probably picked the right word.

Say your word was “hope”. Think about the ways “hope” could be used as a mission statement.

You could be more hopeful.

You could inspire others to be more hopeful.

You could give others hope.

Maybe “hope” is too corny for you. It doesn’t matter what word you pick for your one-word mission statement as long as it means something to you. Your one-word mission statement could be “corncob” as long as that somehow relates to your life.

Once you’ve picked your word, write it down somewhere where you will see it often. If there’s room, also write down the definition of the word.

As different decisions and opportunities come up in your life, think about your word and how the particular thing you’re faced with relates to it. Bounce everything in your life off of your word and see where it lands.

Do that for a year and see where you end up. Chances are, by focusing on your one-word mission statement, your life will be filled with a lot more of whatever your word happens to be.

If you’re successful, you may want to stick with the same word for the next year. Don’t. Go through the exercise of picking a new word. That way you’ll be heading somewhere new and will be less likely to stand still.

What a calf taught me about being too scared to move

A while back I was hauling hay out to my cattle and noticed a new calf in the pasture. As the other cows shuffled over to their food, the calf didn’t move. It stood still under a tree and watched as its mother trotted away.

After a minute or two, the calf began crying and bleating at its mother. The mama cow didn’t respond at first, but eventually looked back towards the calf and started calling back to it.

There seemed to be a whole conversation take place.

“Come over here. This is where you need to be.”

“I don’t want to. I’m scared.”

“Come on. It’s alright. I promise.”

“Nope. Not gonna do it.”

This exchange went back and forth for several minutes. I sat and watched, fascinated.

The calf wasn’t going to budge. It was too anxious and scared. Unable to convince her offspring to come to her, the mother calf trotted back from the feeding troughs and began nuzzling and licking the calf.

It felt like she was saying “It’s OK. I’m here.” And it seemed to work, the calf stopped crying and calmed down.

I learn a lot from my animals, and here they were again, showing me something powerful about human nature.

How often do we get stuck because of fear and anxiety? We won’t go where we need to go because it’s too scary or we’re too comfortable where we’re at.

Even when God, our spouse, trusted friends, and others in our lives are telling us loud and clear – “This is where you need to be. This is how you need to grow.”

We ignore. We argue. We make excuses. We cry and bleat just like that baby calf.

“There is literally a banquet of food over here and you’re going to under that tree and cry?”

“Yep. Too scared. It’s not worth it.”

It sounds silly when you think about cows doing this. But how often do we have the same behavior? How often do we miss out on opportunities to be better off or to grow because we won’t listen to the direction we’re being given? And then we complain about feeling lost and not knowing what to do with our lives.

In our spiritual, family, and professional lives, there’s almost always someone cheering us on, giving us direction, but we’re too scared to move so we ignore them.

I’m trying to be less like that that baby calf and not be scared to trust the guidance I’ve been given. How about you?