Friday, June 3, 2011


Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, asks for directions in this way during her encounter with the Cheshire Cat:

“Would you tell me please, which way ought I to go from here!” she asks.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” the cat replies with a grin.

“I don’t care much where,” she answers.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the cat responds.

Drop Of Water by Jani Ravas

The prerequisite to living an intentional life is deciding where you want to go. Expecting to live an intentional life without a plan is like building a house with no architectural plans. Can you imagine how the house would look at the end of the process? 

Yet, we expect our lives to matter when we (the architect) never really plan for where we are going. 

On Wednesday, I wrote about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People training that my school is currently experiencing. That post reflected on Habit 1 – BE PROACTIVE. Today, the focus is Habit 2 – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.

Habit 1 is about choice. Habit 2 is about vision. To begin with the end in mind, one must know what the end looks like. This is not easy work. Intentional living is about making conscious choices – one day at a time – to create a victorious life.  

Question: Do you have a personal mission statement written down? You can read about elaborate methods of creating mission statements all over the internet and in books, but below is a 5-minute activity to create momentum and move you forward in creating your life mission statement. All you need is paper, a pen, and a watch.

  1. Number 1-7 down the left side of the paper, leaving a few lines between each number.
  2. Beside the numbers, list the roles that you currently occupy in your life (i.e. wife/husband, mother/father, daughter/son, sister/brother, friend, colleague, etc.). Do not over-think this step. 
  3. Beside the roles, write the person's name who is most associated with that role (i.e. if your role is spouse, the person would be your spouse's name).
  4. Visualize your 80th birthday celebration. Attending the celebration are the key people from each role. Beside the role, write a few words articulating how you would want the key person in each role to describe you.
Congratulations – you now have the beginnings of your personal mission statement! Now, fold up that piece of paper and put it in your pocket.

As you walk through the remainder of today, imagine that your 80th birthday celebration is tonight. What would these key people say about you? It’s a tough question, but an important one. Take out your paper during the day and reflect on what you wrote.

A mission statement can be as simple as two or three words or as elaborate as a multi-page document. It might be a painting, a picture, a quote, or a scripture. The form is not important – the vision is.

Don’t wait another day. Live an intentional life - today! Go!


Randy Cantrell said...

My dad turns 88 in September. He's in good health and active. So, this being 80 exercise is a bit easier for me to imagine. ;-)

Jason said...

No doubt! I thought about my parents a lot during this exercise too. Of course, the older I get, the more real this 80th birthday stuff becomes to me.

Anonymous said...

Unlike the rest of the world, I have never read "7 Healthy Habits..." I'm glad I get a summary on your blog :) Have you seen Michael Hyatt's ebook on Creating a Lifeplan?

Jason said...

I have the Life Plan ebook and have worked through some of it. It is a great clarifying exercise. Thanks for the comment. BTW - you should do the 7 Habits training - it is awesome.

Anonymous said...

This should prove to be an interesting exercise. Thanks for the idea. As my parents hit the retirement stage, it has definitely made me think about how they are being honored and recognized as they move through the twilight hours of their career lives.

Jason said...

Thanks for the comment. The exercise does at least make you think about the legacy that you leave.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the steps. I started working throug the book again myself, based on your last post. I am almost finished writing my Mission Statement. Once done I will post for all to see.


Jason said...

Thanks for the post. I worked on a new mission statement at last week's 7 Habits training. Good reflection process!

Anonymous said...

After some early morning Tweaking on a SLOW day at work here we go:

I am a man of integrity. I will seek to continually develop myself and focus on the things that I can change. I will love my wife, show compassion for others, stand up for those who are unable, and give of myself. I will look to understand the views and ideas of others. I will constantly strive to inspire others and have fun.

Jason said...

Very nice. Those are words to live by!

charleswillsmom said...

Yes! I love it! I am still deciding how to fit all of the wonderful people from TES in to my 80th birthday party. What a great week. Your blog is so well done, and I do plan to be a follower. Thanks for reminding of the importance of INTENTION. Been thinking alot about the way you phrased it and yesterday I started my day with that question to myself: "What do I INTEND to occur or accomplish today?". Guess was all accompished!

Anonymous said...

@charleswillsmom I love that Idea of starting each morning with that question. I am thinking I may give that a try.

Josh said...

Jason, this was great. I've been thinking a lot about intentional living lately. I recently switched careers because I didn't want to be remembered as "that insurance guy" when I was older. Now I'm a full-time writer and I feel like I'm actually doing work I love. Thank you for the encouragement.

Jason said...

Thanks for the comment! Good for you that you are pursuing your passion. Good luck. I look forward to following your journey on your blog.