Making a Personal Mission Statement

MAKING A CLARETIAN PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT

 -Paulson V Veliyannoor, CMF

(You will understand this section better if you first go the “Making a community mission statement”. This part is the continuation of the community mission statement, though you can also work with this separately)

We now proceed to drafting the Personal Mission Statement (PMS) and Hierarchy of Core Values (HCV) for each of us as Claretians. For the general structure and methodology of drafting the PMS, I am adapting the structure followed by Laurie Beth Jones in her book, “The Path”. However, the steps are revised, enriched and adapted to suit the Claretian personnel.

 The whole exercise is divided into two sets: First, the ‘Preparatory Steps’ where you will dwell on who you are; and the Second, the ‘Final Steps’ of the drafting.

PART I: PREPARATORY STEPS: WHO ARE YOU?

 Exercise One:

Reflection on the Mission and Vision of the Congregation, Province (Cf.”Making the Community Mission Statement”.)

 Exercise Two: Positive Influences in your life:

 None of us is self-made person. We carry the gifts and virtues of others in our lives. We inherit lots of blessings from others in our personalities. Of course, we do inherit many not-so-good traits too, but we have naturally dwelt on them too often and to detrimental effect. So let us focus only on the positive influences, blessings inherited, which have shaped our personalities significantly.

 We can think of several sources of influences, but let us limit to three sources: Your father, your mother, and another significant other.

  1. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Relax your body and mind through some simple relaxation exercises. Play soft, pleasant music at the background which may be deeply relaxing.
  2. Hold the person of your Father in your mind’s screen. Think of some of the positive characteristics of your dad. Visualize and re-live a few events wherein you watched your dad living those characteristics. (eg: dad being very helpful to the needy, and an event wherein he dropped his work and went out of his way to help a needy person… etc). Search within your life for the presence of any of those good traits of your dad…. Identify one or a maximum of three traits that seem to have been inherited by you from your dad…. Think of a few events that seem to confirm that you had practiced those traits almost naturally, spontanesouly…. Have you thanked your dad for this ‘gift’? Hold your dad in imagination, and speak silent words of thanks to him for passing on such beautiful character traits to you, and to God, for the gift of your dad in your life…. Express your thanks by some concrete acts to him, in your imagination, like a hug to him, or shaking hands, etc… Now open your eyes and on a sheet of paper, write down those qualities you have inherited from your dad.

Positive Influence from my Dad is/are:

  1. ……………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………

Repeat the same exercise with holding the person of your Mom in your mind’s eye…. Write them down at the end.

Positive Influence from my Mother is/are:

  1. ……………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………

 Repeat the same procedure by holding another significant person who has impacted your life. It could be one of the relatives, or teachers or priests.

Positive Influence from my ……………. is/are:

  1. ……………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………

 Exercise Three: Positive Prophesies on you

In our lives, we might have heard lots of condemnations (‘you will never make it in life’, ‘you are good for nothing’, etc), and we have dwelt enough on them. Now let us patiently dig into the past and identify moments of positive, life-giving prophesies people have made on us. These need not be earth-shattering and Guinness book record-like prophesies, but gentle sincere expressions of trust in your abilities, talents, and their hopes on you. (Eg: ‘you have an amazing voice’, ‘you sing well’, your homilies are wonderful’, ‘you will make a good priest’, etc).

Continue in the state of relaxation and imagination, with the soft music being played in the background.

  1. Dig into your past and recollect those events wherein someone made some encouraging remarks about you that lifted your spirits and brightened up the day then. Revive those events, and re-live those events in your memory.
  2. Thank those people for believing in you. Hold them in front of your mind’s eyes, and express your gratitude to them and to God, for them.
  3. Identify three to five such Positive Prophesies about you, and note them down on a sheet of paper.

 My Positive Prophesies on me are:

  1. ……………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………
  4. ……………………………………………………………
  5. ……………………………………………………………

 Exercise Four: USP and Gifts

 Every one of us has certain central defining positive character trait/gift that makes him or her truly special. It becomes one’s “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP).

What is your USP? What is that particular central character trait, talent, ability that would make you successful in life? It could be intelligence for one, cheerfulness and amazing social skills for another, pure and sheer optimism for a third one, creative writing abilities for yet another…. What is yours? Reflect on your possible USPs from a pool of blessings, and finally zero in on the most cardinal, central one. Put it down in paper as:

My USP is: ……………………………………

 Along with this cardinal trait, there are other blessings, gifts, talents that God has gifted you with. Identify five to seven such “Gifts” and put them down on paper as:

 My Gifts are:

  1. ……………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………
  4. ……………………………………………………………
  5. ……………………………………………………………
  6. ……………………………………………………………
  7. ……………………………………………………………

 Exercise Five: Image for Self

Jesus knew the power of imagery for transformation and creative strength. He used powerful images for himself, to communicate to himself and to others what he was and wanted to be: ‘Good Shepherd’, ‘Gate’, ‘Bridegroom’, ‘Light’, ‘Way’, etc. Having a concrete image that signifies what we are and hope to be and constantly dwelling on the same powerfully impacts our lives and transforms us.

 Hence, you need to carefully choose an image in order to represent your actual and ideal selves. The actual self is what we had been reflecting until now: the Positive Influences and Positive Prophesies on you, your USP and Gifts, together with the nature of the Mission and the Vision of the Congregation has shaped you what you are. With these reflections on the back of your mind, choose an image that depicts your givens, sensibilities and treasures of the heart. Which image best describes your personality?

  •  Laurie Beth Jones advocates that one may ideally choose from the four basic elements of the universe: Earth/Water/Fire/Wind. However, one may also choose from a variety of other images (provided they are very concrete and ‘imaginable’ by the mind) like Tree, Bridge, Hearth, Temple, Lighthouse, etc… Meditate on the properties of each of these elements and see which image resonates best with your heart’s sensibilities and expressive of your traits and gifts, and with which you feel totally at home…. As you meditate, please know each of these images has negative qualities (eg: fire destroys houses, water drowns people, etc) but DO NOT focus on the negatives, but focus only on the positive qualities (eg: the earth supports life, it is strong; the wind gives breath, soothes, is free and dynamic, etc).
  • The qualities could be in terms of what they are (eg: bridge is strong) and what they do (eg: bridge helps connect people) and write them down, applying them to you, as:

 I, ……………(your name)……., am fire.

I, fire, provides warmth for others

I, fire, cleanses the mistakes and failures

I, fire, am energetic, enthusiastic., etc…

  • Draw a picture of the Image, and write your name on it.
  • Please note that once you complete the exercise of drafting the PMS and HCV, you might want to revise or re-choose the image for yourself, combining what you are and what you hope to be. Please feel free to revise your image at the end of the Workshop.

PART II: FINAL STEPS: PMS PROPER

 With the Preparatory steps successfully concluded, and with a lovely meditation on who we are, and a beautiful image for ourselves, we are now ready to draft our PMS as a Claretian. Given below are the simple steps to the creation of your Personal Mission Statement:

Step I: ACTION VERBS:

Given below is a list of verbs in Table I. Pick out four verbs from each column that most excite you, resonate most with your heart and are consonant with your sense of self and personal gifts. Keep in your mind the Mission and Vision of the Congregation, and the Mission Statement of your community, and your own reflection on your unique gifts, prophesies and dreams. Choose action-oriented, other-centered constructive verbs. And enter them in Table II below:

TABLE I:

Accomplish

Acquire

Adopt

Advance

Affect

Affirm

Alleviate

Amplify

Appreciate

Ascend

Associate

Believe

Bestow

Brighten

Build

Call

Cause

Choose

Claim

Collect

Combine

Command

Communicate

Compel

Compete

Complement

Complete

Compose

Conceive

Confirm

Connect

Consider

Construct

Contact

Continue

Counsel

Create

Decide

Defend

Delight

Deliver

Demonstrate

Devise

Direct

Discover

Discuss

Distribute

Draft

Dream

Drive

Educate

Elect

Embrace

Encourage

Endow

Engage

Engineer

Enhance

Enlighten

Enlist

Enliven

Entertain

Enthuse

Evaluate

Excite

Explore

Express

Extend

Facilitate

Finance

Facilitate

Formulate

Foster

Franchise

Further

Gather

Generate

Give

Grant

Heal

Hold

Host

Identify

Illuminate

Implement

Improve

Improvise

Inspire

Integrate

Involve

Keep

Know

Labor

Launch

Lead

Light

Live

Love

Make

Manifest

Master

Mature

Measure

Mediate

Model

Mold

Motivate

Move

Negotiate

Nurture

Open

Organize

Participate

Pass

Perform

Persuade

Plant

Play

Possess

Practice

Praise

Prepare

Present

Produce

Progress

Promise

Promote

Provide

Pursue

Realize

Receive

Reclaim

Reduce

Refine

Reflect

Reform

Regards

Relate

Relax

Release

Rely

Remember

Renew

Resonate

Respect

Restore

Return

Revise

Sacrifice

Safeguard

Satisfy

Save

Sell

Serve

Share

Speak

Stand

Summon

Support

Surrender

Sustain

Take

Tap

Team

Touch

Trade

Translate

Travel

Understand

Use

Utilize

Validate

Value

Venture

Verbalize

Volunteer

Work

Worship

Write

Yield

  TABLE II: [Enter the four verbs chosen from each column in the corresponding column here]

  Step II: RECIPIENT OF YOUR MISSION: Whom/What cause are you here to serve? Get clear on whom you really want to serve, be around, inspire and impact in a positive way. Again, keep in mind the Congregational and Provincial Mission/ministries, and your own personal gifts, and a group/cause that could benefit those gifts, that seems to move your heart and soul and love energies. Given below is a sample list of groups/causes you may choose to live your life for. The list here is only suggestive and not exhaustive. If your soul prefers yet another group/cause that is not listed here, go ahead and choose it. And write it in the space given below the table:

Children

The Sick

Politics

Alcoholics

Students

Books

The Marginalized

Girl Children

Tribals

Printing and Publishing

Pro-life

Environment

The Poor

Aids Victims

Human Development

The Handicapped

Villagers/Villages

Families

Rural Development

Social Development

Media

Broken Families

Human Rights

Education

Drug Addicts

Orphans

Psychologically Ill

The Elderly

Spirituality

Health Care

Prisoners

Justice System

Now, enter the choice here: ……………………………………………………………….

Step III: CORE VALUE/s: What do you stand for in the above selected group/cause? What principle, cause, value, or purpose would you be willing to instill in the group/cause you have chosen as the recipient of your mission? Your life commitment to he chosen group of people/cause should be for the sake of instilling/defending/realizing in them something of value and nobility.

Given below is a list of core values. Study them carefully and choose one/two/three values that you want to realize/defend in the group/cause you have chosen. The list below is only suggestive and not exhaustive. You may choose something not mentioned in the list below. After choosing, write it/tem down in the space given below:

Moral Uprightness

Intellectual Competence

Sense of Co-operation

Passion for Learning

Excellence

Service

Fruits of the Spirit

Humaneness

Universal Brotherhood

Self-esteem

Knowledge & Wisdom

Equality

Faith in God

Personal Integrity

Professional Excellence

Hard work

Social Commitment

Diligence

Gifts of the Spirit

Justice & Peace

Joyful Living

Social Harmony

Truthfulness

Respectful Relationality

Cultural Tolerance

Love of Humanity

Compassionate Love

Integral Human Development

Vocational Discernment

Obedience to God’s Will

God-consciousness

Spiritual evolution

Communion

 Now, enter the choice(s) here: …………………, …………………………, ………………

Step IV: FINAL VERBS: Now, go back to the 20 action verbs selected from Table I and written in Table II. With the recipient of your Mission and the Core Value/s you would want to inculcate in them, choose THREE most fitting verbs from the pool. Focus only on the selected 20 verbs as they are the most appealing verbs for you.                                  

Now, enter them here: …………………………., ……………………………., ……………………..

 Step V: COMPLETE THE MISSION STATEMENT:

 Combine the Products of Step IV + Step III + Step II

 My Mission is to:

               ———————— -, ——————————, ————————

[your     three     verbs]

———————————–

[your core value]

to/ for/ with (or the most appropriate preposition)

————————————-

[the locus/ recipient of the mission]

  Re-enter your Mission Statement:

 —————————————————————————————————————

 Verify:

  • Does the Mission Statement surprise you? Is it similar to what you had been doing? Does it fit your givens? If it is different, how is it different?
  • Does it suit your life, prophecies and gifts?
  • Does it go in tune with the religious and spiritual values?
  • Is it consonant with the Mission & Vision of the Congregation?
  • Is it consonant with the Mission Statement of your Province?
  • Is it exciting enough to live for and die for?
  • Does your heart rejoice and burn, when you read your Mission statement?

 Step VI: REFINE THE MISSION STATEMENT:

  1. For the next two weeks, meditate on the Mission Statement; make the necessary cosmetic and stylistic corrections to make it into a beautiful sentence.
  2. Draw up for yourself some five Life Values that go along with the Mission Statement. (see the exercise on Drafting Core Values).
  3. Remember the Image of the Self you have chosen for yourself in the first half of this exercise. If you did not choose an Image of the Self then, choose it now. (You may revise your earlier choice if necessary, to match the Mission Statement).
  4. Choose a Scriptural God-parent (from one of the Patriarchs/Prophets/Apostles, etc) who appears to match your sensibilities, dreams, mission and your struggles. Let him/her be your prayer companion.
  5. Choose a Scriptural Story that appeals to your sensibilities and matches the dynamics of your PMS. It could be a parable, miracle narrative, discourse, etc.
  6. Choose a Scriptural Verse that matches all the above: PMS, Core Values, Image, Scriptural God-parent and Scriptural Story.
  7. Once finalized, fill in your Religious Profile enclosed herewith.
  8. write the PMS along with your Life Values, Image of the Self, Scriptural God-parent, Scriptural Story and Scriptural Verse on beautiful cards, well decorated and place them on your table, mirror, inside of the door: in some three or four places so that you get to see them a couple of times daily.
  9. qEveryday morning, as you get up, along with the morning prayers, offer your Mission Statement, and meditate on the same, along with the other adjuncts.
  10. In the evening, do the review of the day in the light of the Mission Statement. As you retire to bed pray God to help you live it the next day.

C.DRAFTING A HIERARCHY OF CORE VALUES

 While the PMS and the Values you selected in the PMS are specifically in relation to the recipients of your Mission, and what you desire to realize in them through your committed works, the Hierarchy of Core Values refers to the Values you will live upto in your very personal and Claretian living. They refer directly to you, and help you shine as the Light of Christ.

 PART I:

  1. Go through the list of values given below [Table I]. They are not exhaustive. If you think some values are missing, add them to the list in the blank spaces, preserving the five-column format.
  2. From each column of values, select three values that you think should be governing your life, and enter them in the boxes given under each column [Table II]. Select them keeping in mind the Congregational and Provincial Mission and Vision, and your own PMS. Thus you will have 3 x 5 = 15 values.
  3. Now, from the list of the 15 values selected by you, arrive at the five values that should govern your life. Arrange them in the order of priority, ie, rank order them in such a manner that a lower level value may be compromised in case of the theoretical possibility of a conflict between it and a higher value. Enter them in Table III.
  4. These five values will form the CORE VALUES in your life as a Claretian.

Table I: List of Values: [select three each from each column]

Beauty

Obedience

Leisure

Productivity

Status

Belonging

Faith

Knowledge

Prayer

Spontaneity

Caring

Equality

Justice

Power

Solitude

Cleanliness

Forgiveness

Love

Relaxation

Survival

Companionship

Flexibility

Loyalty

Religion

Success

Competence

Friendship

Life of Sharing

Risk taking

Trust

Cooperation

Gratitude

Openness

Sanctity

Wisdom

Courage

Happiness

Orderliness

Security

Work

Creativity

Health

Patience

Self-confidence

Worship

Duty

Honor

Patriotism

Self-discipline

Zeal

Education

Independence

Peace

Self-worth

Honesty

Efficacy

Empathy

Intimacy

Pleasure

Renunciation

Efficiency

Initiative

Perseverance

Service

Responsibility

God’s Will

Freedom

Maturity

Respect for others

Tradition

Humaneness

Justice & Peace

Truthfulness

Excellence

Joyful living

Moral Uprightness

Life in Spirit

Faith in God

Harmony

Excellence

Poverty

Generosity

Obligation

Salvation

Wonder

Vows

Communion

Chastity

Austerity

Compassionate Love

 Table II: Selected values [15]

 Table III: Five Core Values Identified: [ in order of priority ]

Value no.1

Value no.2

Value no. 3

Value no. 4

Value no. 5

  PART II:

  1. To find out where you stand currently in relation to each of the selected values, use the following Rating Scale. Get the ratings done by yourself, two of your family members, two of your teachers and two of your reliable, truthful friends. The rating is to be done on a 7-point scale, with 1 referring to an absence of the value specified in the person, and 7 referring to the person living the value to perfection, and 4 being the hypothetical average.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Value absent

Negligible

Moderate

Average

Significant

Very Significant

Perfect

 eg:   1. Honesty:                          1          2          3          4          5          6          7

      [The rater has to circle the number he/she thinks describes the person aptly]

 2. Compute the average (mean) of the ratings for each value given by all the acquaintances and compare the mean values against your own ratings to understand the differences in how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you with respect to the presence of values in your lives. If there is a difference of 2 and above for any value, you need to reflect further about the discrepancies in concept others have of you and your self-concept with regards the value stated.

 3.Keep the ratings entered in your personal diary, and for the next six months, try to live your life on the basis of the values selected. Keep the core values written on your table/on the mirror so that every day you get to see the values you have chosen.

 4.At the end of the six-month period, get the same persons to give their ratings about you once again, and compare the ratings with the previous ones. The same can be repeated after one year, two years and three years.

 FORM FOR SELF-RATING ON CORE VALUES

Rate yourself on the following selected values, as to where you stand, as of now, in actually living each value. Using the following rating scale, in the table given below, circle the number which you think best explains your living of a particular value.

Scale:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Value absent

Negligible

Moderate

Average

Significant

Very Significant

Perfect

 Your Rating:

Sl.No.

Value

Rating

1

1           2           3          4           5         6           7

2

     1           2           3         4           5         6           7

3

     1           2           3         4           5         6           7

4

     1           2           3        4             5         6           7

5

     1           2           3         4           5         6           7

 CORE VALUES: FORM FOR RATING BY SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

Rate your friend/community member on the following selected values, as to where he/she stands, as of now, in actually living each value. Using the following rating scale, in the table given below, circle the number which you think best explains your friend’s living of a particular value.

Scale:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Value absent

Negligible

Moderate

Average

Significant

Very Significant

Perfect

Name of the Person being Rated:…………………………..

Sl.No.

Value

Rating

1

1           2           3         4           5         6           7

2

     1           2           3         4            5         6           7

3

     1           2           3         4           5         6           7

4

     1           2           3         4           5         6           7

5

     1           2           3         4          5         6           7

 Rater’s Name (Optional, but recommended): ……………………………….

 CORE VALUES OF MY LIFE:

CONGRUENCE OF SELF-RATING AND OTHERS’ RATING

            Sl. No.

Values

Self – Rating

Others’ Rating

[Mean]

Difference

1

2

3

4

5

©Paulson V Veliyannoor, CMF

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