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How to define your mission in three easy steps


“A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” –Karen Lamb

Many of us start off having dreams of what we want to be and what we want to do in life. But not many of us know how to get there. Although dreams and aspirations are good, without setting a mission in life, it’s difficult to achieve the results one desires.

The below three steps will help guide you towards achieving your mission in life:

1.)    What do you want to be known for?

I once heard someone say that to find your mission in life think about what you want to be known for when you die. How would friends and family describe you? How would you want them to remember? Oftentimes, we think in terms of achievement: we want to be well-off, extremely smart, extremely talented, and so on. All of these are good things to do in life but they do not say anything about who you are or what your ultimate purpose in life is. One peer recently commented that at the end of her life, she wanted her friends and family to know that she cared about them. She determined that even though a great job and great pay were key success factors to her being satisfied with her achievements, at the end of the day, she wanted people to know that they were cared for. Your mission does not need to be material (car, house, job, etc); it can also be immaterial (mentoring, care, building strong relationships). What would you want your headstone to say about the type of person that you were?

2.)    How will you express your mission?

Bill Gates is a great example of one who expresses his mission in life well. He was recently asked about what he thought of Google’s  Project Loon initiative which is geared towards providing internet access to very poor areas in 3rd world countries via a network of broadband transmitters on red balloons. His responded by saying, “When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.” Bill Gates has consistently made it a point to reach millions with life-changing technologies that can save their lives. Not only does his foundation go after hard to cure diseases, but he is also an avid advocate for giving away one’s wealth for charitable causes. We know Bill Gates because of his development of Microsoft, but the legacy he will leave behind entails much more than technology- it includes changing the landscape of poverty for future generations. In the same way, what do you have in your hands that you could start using right away towards your mission?

3.)    What active steps can you start doing today to get you closer to your mission?

You wouldn’t have the desire to fulfill your mission if you didn’t have at least some of the skills required to complete them. Taking the first step is often the most crucial as it is the start of defining your mission.  A writer whose mission in life is to inspire young people only needs to pick up a pen and start writing. Don’t worry about being perfect or getting it right the first time. The fact of the matter is you will develop your own personal style as you go. The Chronicles of Narnia was not conceived overnight, but the writer’s inspiration was based on years of personal experiences which ultimately culminated in one of the most well-known and beloved classical children’s book series. It has sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. In the same way, pick up the tools you currently have and begin weaving your masterpiece. In time, your actions will define your mission.



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