This week, we will step through establishing a clear vision, core values, and other vital elements for planning the Intentional Life!
Step Two – Now you will identify your core values or define the qualities of character that will inspire you to show up each day representing your highest self or the best version of you. There are many character trait lists to be found on the internet. As an example, here is a list of my core values: Integrity, Honesty, Responsibility, Wisdom, Humor, Confidence, Achievement, Good Health, Courage, Flexibility, Mindfulness, Perseverance, Discipline, Humility, and Stamina. These words represent the best of how I want to show up every day. Do I live up to these core values every moment of every day? Nope, not even close, but I am chasing them every day. My heart is right, and the desire to live into these core values is always present. To be the best possible version of ourselves, we first need to determine how we desire to show up in the world!
Designing and living your life is no different than building a house. Every house is constructed twice. The first house is created in someone’s imagination and the second version is built in reality. We imagine how we want to live our lives and transfer that vision to paper. Establishing our core values in our mind is equivalent to building a strong foundation for a house that can last for centuries versus a weak foundation that will eventually allow the house to collapse onto itself. Would you want to live in a house with a strong foundation or a weak foundation? Would you rather live a life with a strong foundation of intentionally chosen values or a life unintentionally directed? If you haven’t visualized and articulated the core values that inspire you to be the best you every day, it is likely you are not serving at your highest potential. The world needs you to show up as the best possible version of you! What is your target? What is your vision? You can’t hit your target without knowing what the target looks like and that is why we must define the target by intentionally planning our lives.
Step Three – Now that we have clearly articulated how we want the people that matter most to us to remember us, and defined our core values, it is time to articulate a vision statement. The vision statement is not some hokey pledge that describes unrealistic expectations with big words. The vision statement is your description of your life well lived. It is your view from the top of the mountain. Our vision should certainly be aspirational but also always achievable. Through the initial creation of my vision statement, I found it helpful to review the vision statements of others. The internet has thousands of examples to review and contemplate. Remember that this is your vision statement and you are reviewing examples to help bring your vision to life on paper. Here is mine, for example: My family has uncompromising qualities of character, my friends are many, my health is sound, and my community is strong! I poured into the youth of America by teaching them the lessons seldom taught in school about how to learn, how to love, how to thrive, how to serve, and how to think.
Our vision should be in alignment with the eulogy and core values that you developed earlier in the planning process. It should inspire you to show up as the best version of you. You will write it in the present tense because you are living it today (“I have”, or “I am”). Study after study has proven that the world seems to align itself to help people with a clear vision of their future. Make sure to use precise language to describe your vision. Where do you want to go? Your vision should take you there!
Step Four – What is your mission? The mission is the plan for getting to the top of the mountain. If the vision statement is the view from the top of the mountain, the mission is how you will get there. As an example, let us deconstruct my vision statement:
- My family has uncompromising qualities of character. Each day I intentionally taught our children about character and demonstrated these qualities. First I had to live these qualities, and then I did my best to demonstrate and teach them to our children.
- My friends are many. Each day I poured into my friends in meaningful ways. I encouraged them, prayed for them, guided them, cried with them, laughed with them.
- My health is sound. Each day, I was a student of healthy habits. I focused on movement, nutrition, and mental training. My healthy body is my primary source of energy to fuel my vision and is possible only as a result of healthy habits and choices.
- My community is strong. Each day, I invested with the expectation that I will leave this world better than I found it. I made it better through the transfer of knowledge and exchange of ideas. My community focus has been on the youth, teaching them to take charge of their lives through the creation of a meaningful plan and living with intention.
Here is my personal mission: Put first my family, my friends and my spiritual beliefs in all my decisions without compromising the qualities of character most important to me (core values), while continually increasing my knowledge, improving my health, improving my community, improving my relationships and improving my country.
This mission statement represents how I want to show up every day! Remember this is my mission, and yours will resonate with you. The mission is all about how you want to show up each day to live your best life and be the best version of you.
Next week, we will wrap up with Purpose and Goals! Remember, if you haven’t taken the time to plan your life you are living someone else’s plan and that is a scary thought!