There is a difference between a compass and a map. A mission is more like a compass than a map. A compass can get you started in the right direction when you head into new territory. One must learn how to hold a compass, learn which way you are facing in the first place in order to find true north, and give you confidence that you on the right path. Just like there are steps one must take in order to use a compass, there are steps an individual or a family takes in order to design a mission.
Each year, I drive my family to Raleigh, NC to visit my mom, dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. It is a 1,220 mile journey, door to door. A journey of 1,220 miles begins with the first mile but there are many potential pitfalls along the way. A mission statement has a beginning as well. There is one principle that must be understood so you don’t get tripped up on the journey, the number one reminder is to understand that it is a living document. It is not so important that it sounds good but that it is applied. Designing a Mission has a built in feature that allows a family to tweak the wording from time to time. Don’t sweat it, you are not locked into words that no longer communicate what you want them to communicate.
In the coming posts, I will be writing on steps a family, couple or individual can take in order to Design Mission and develop a purposeful life. Here are the steps that can be taken in order to Design Mission for your family or your life:
- Rally the Troops
- Nail down Values
- Explore Phrases
- Write it Down
- Sleep on it
- Make it Public
- Make it a Daily Reminder
- Make Adjustments
Rallying the Troops:
My wife and I have been working on a family mission statement for nearly twenty years. We started during our pre-marital days. Our mentors encouraged us to have special times to discuss what we want our lives to look like. We come back to it on an annual basis during family vacation.
This process can be an entire family adventure. It could be extremely strategic to give everyone a voice. The youngest to the oldest will be effected by the statement as well as give affect. Make it fun if young kids are involved, have realistic expectations, listen for common themes and write things down. One way to get more people involved is to have different people writing things down. Sometimes the louder and more outgoing personalities can overwhelm the quiet, so instead of having brainstorming times, consider having write storming times, same thing as brainstorming but everyone is quiet and writing instead of a couple sharing their ideas out loud.
Someone, likely the leader, mom or dad, will take what has been written down and make summary statements. A family mission statement will not be decided upon in a single sitting. Time is not your enemy, it is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The slower the better on this journey. It is nothing like our trip from H-Town to Raleigh, NC. I always try and beat my previous times.
Things to Consider:
Make family meetings short if you have young kids (15-20 minutes).
Have the expectation that kids will not be adults and give kid type offerings.
If you have older and younger kids, have coloring pages for the younger kids, so they can be around, while you work with the older kids in forming the statement.
What are other ideas on setting up a family meeting time?