Clarifying Our Purpose, Mission, Vision & Values for 2023
By Fleet Maull. PhD Here we are, in early January 2023. I hope you had a chance to reflect during the month of December and bring 2022 to a good close—celebrating the positive, owning the things that maybe didn't work out so well, and identifying areas of your life where you would like to create change or grow. By taking an honest look at the past year (through journaling perhaps), and doing so without self-shaming or blame, we create the perfect conditions for personal growth and a more conscious life. The end of the year is also an excellent time to mourn any losses we experienced and let go of old patterns that do not serve us so well anymore. Having gone through that reflective process, we can then relaunch ourselves and make a fresh start with 2023.
1. What is your Purpose?
The first step to this fresh start is to become really clear about who we are, what we want in life, and what our priorities are. Without that clarity, it becomes very hard to stay on course with any real sense of purpose or direction in our life, because we risk being continually distracted. As we all know, we are flooded with distractions in modern life, especially if we engage with social media. We are all extremely busy, and having to deal with so many demands and responsibilities… We, therefore, need to make an effort to identify and define our values and goals. We can ask ourselves questions like: What is important to me? What is my calling in life? What am I here for? What is my purpose? Personally, a very important focus of my life is being a teacher and sharing with others everything I have received in terms of transformational technologies, meditation teachings, and so forth. And I have made it one of my missions to rid the world of shame and blame, because I feel that these toxic behaviors are endemic in our culture and highly destructive to our human society. I do that by offering all kinds of transformational programs, online courses, and virtual summits, as well as approaches to meditation and inner work that are grounded in self-compassion and developing confidence in our own and others' unconditional basic goodness. I truly believe that we can change the world, and work for fairness, justice, and peace from a place of love and empowerment without falling into the trap of shaming and blaming others, or ourselves for that matter. What about you? What is your calling? Why are you here on the planet at this time? What is your life about? Maybe you are already very clear about your purpose. Maybe you are a bit confused or vague about it and wondering how to gain insight. I find that simply opening up a journal and writing page after page without editing, returning often to reflect and write more, can be very revealing. It’s amazing what will surface sometimes. Writing allows us to reflect on the kind of messages we are receiving in our life and you might begin to discover that there is some common thread and that the world is calling you in some way. And, of course, this calling may change over time, it may evolve and transform.
2. What is your Mission
The next step, of course, is how do I get there. How do I fulfill my life purpose? Where do I actually put my time and energy? What are the concrete steps to take to create the life I want? What strategies, tactics and actions will I employ to fulfill my purpose in life? Our life’s mission is what we actually do in life on a daily basis to fulfill our purpose or answer our calling. To help you identify your goals and keep track of what you are concretely doing to reach them, you could use what is called a life design wheel or life plan wheel. I will say more about this below.
3. What is your Vision?
Spend some time clarifying what your vision is for your life--what you want it to look like and feel like. You can literally visualize the life you want, envisioning it in its every detail, as if you were watching it on TV. Where do you want to live? Is living in a city appealing to you? Or would you prefer a rural area? Do you want to own a single-family home, or would you rather rent an apartment or a condo? Are you inspired by shared housing arrangements, or by some kind of intentional community? A clear vision for your life would, of course, include your livelihood and what that looks like and feels like, the kind of place you would like to work in, how you would like to arrange your work-life schedule, whether you would like to be in business for yourself, do some kind of service work, or work in the corporate sector. Your vision would also encompass all your relationships, and the quality of those relationships, with your life partner, family, friends, coworkers, and so on. Maybe you are a very social person enjoying many interactions or maybe you are a bit introverted. Without any self-judgment, you can evaluate what your needs and wishes are in that regard. And write about it and envision a life that appeals to you. It is very helpful and powerful to clarify your vision in as much detail as possible. We can only create or manifest what we can envision. So in order to create the life we want, we must first be able to envision it and believe in that vision.
If you want, you could even grab some old magazines and create a collage of images that resonate with you. And in this whole process, we need to suspend self-criticism and all the self-limiting beliefs and editing (“oh, I could never do that, or I could never have that” etc). Instead, we can have the audacity and the courage to ask, “who am I, and what do I really want?”
4. What are your Core Values
And then the last piece of that is to focus on our values and principles. So, as I'm working on my mission, responding to my calling, and manifesting the vision I have for my life… as I'm doing all that, who do I want to be while I'm doing that? How do I want to treat others? How do I want to show up? What is really important to me? What are the qualities that I want to embody? What values do I want to base my life upon? These could be… Integrity, honesty, compassion, accountability, responsibility, treating others like I would like to be treated, etc…
This clarity and focus will keep us from getting distracted and help us stay on track. It will protect us from falling into the “coping mode”, the “good enough mentality”, and the “whatever” refrain. Anytime we veer from our Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values, we will naturally feel a kind of anxiety or discomfort. We will notice that we are out of alignment and naturally long to get back on track. And this kind of clarity can really supercharge our lives and help us create a different future. Of course, we may need to make adjustments along the way… As always, life happens. We need to be fluid and flexible, but still, we can stay focused and when challenges occur for us, we can be in this relational responsive mode and flow with life, instead of feeling like we're in a constant state of struggle.
Wheel of Life Planning Tool:
Having clarified your life purpose, mission, vision and values, you now need a plan to carry out. The “wheel of life design” planning tool is basically a pie chart divided into sections, each representing an important domain of your life like health, relationships, finances, etc. You can use a wheel of life to assess both where you are currently and where you would like to be in each significant domain of your life and you can then create strategies and planned actions to make progress toward your goals in each of these domains, assessing your progress on a regular basis. You will find many free resources on the web for wheel of life planning.
The Importance of Mindset
A genuine sense of fulfillment in life is within reach for all of us. Ultimately, life satisfaction and genuine happiness are based on the deeply-felt experience that we are growing and evolving, and that we are contributing to life. It is important to be aware of and cultivate an effective mindset as we begin this journey. Unfortunately, our attempts to create positive change in ourselves and our lives are often grounded in feelings of unworthiness and not being enough. These feelings will actually impede our progress and diminish our overall life fulfillment and happiness. They set us up for cycles of self-shaming and discouragement. Instead, we need to cultivate a mindset based on the genuine experience of our own innate goodness and wholeness, which can be accessed through meditation and other contemplative practices. The Neuro-Somatic Mindfulness (NSM) approach to meditation that I teach is designed to provide us with the direct experience of the depth of our being where it is absolutely clear that we are not broken, do not need fixing, and are not missing anything, such that over time we develop greater and greater confidence in our own and others unconditional, innate basic goodness. It is natural for any life form to change and evolve throughout its lifespan. That's what we do. So rather than saying, I need to work on myself because where I am is not good enough, it's more like I'm perfectly beautiful and good the way I am AND it's natural to continue to grow, evolve, and flourish, and allow myself to reach my full potential. Life is so much more fulfilling when we have that sense of being aligned with something that's important to us, right? Let’s work together to co-create this year as truly the best year of our lives. And I encourage you to check out our yearly free summit, which will give you a lot more support and information on how to get started with all this. It is called The Best Year of Your Life (www.bestyear.life). Take care everyone, be safe, be well, and have a wonderful 2023!