I think life on Earth must be about more than just solving problems… It’s got to be something inspiring, even if it is vicarious.Elon Musk
When I was 20, I had an inspiring dream. I planned to start my own company by the time I reach 40. Until then, I would learn about business in corporate jobs.
Life followed its course. I got pushed around in jobs and ended up in unexpected places. Like in a sales job, even though sales was one of the last things I wanted to do.
But I didn’t forget my dream. Here I am at 39 on a quest to setup my own business. I wonder how this is going to pan out.
In my quest I figured out I needed clarity. I needed to know exactly what I should be doing and what type of business would inspire me. I needed to crack the code to an inspiring life.
That brought be to writing down my mission statement, which is my dashboard to an inspiring life.
It all started with reading 6 Months To 6 Figures by Peter Voogd.
Throughout the book Peter lays out exercises that help you figuring out what your life is all about, where you should be heading and what is important to you. Following the exercises, I slowly started to draft my mission statement.
Since then, I have spent a long time pondering, trying out different question-answers methods, exploring new activities and making adjustments. In the end, I found specific questions and steps more useful than others to figure out my mission.
Here is the result of my exploration, this is 5 Steps To Crack The Code To An Inspiring Life.
1. Find your inspiration
To find out what inspires you and what brings you closer to your true self, a good place to start is your childhood. Ask yourself:
- What did you do for fun when you were a child?
- What activities could you get involved with for hours on end?
List as many activities as you can. One thing I dug out is that, as a child, I could spend hours playing video games and I loved electronics toys.
Now it’s time to move to the present.
- What activities are you doing when you loose track of time?
It can be hobbies, it can be activities at work or at home, wherever. Take your time and make sure you write down a long list of activities. In my case, I found out I can spend hours researching and then analyzing data. I love making plans and devising strategies.
The last digging step covers your strengths. Answer the following:
- What do people say you are good at?
List down everything. One of the things I am good at is: learning and adapting to new situations.
To consolidate your conclusion, you can take an extra step: email 10 people who know you well (friends, family, current or past colleagues) and ask them what they think you are good at, what your strengths are.
2. Talents, challenges and knowledge
At this stage you should have a list of activities that show your strengths and what you are passionate about.
Does this list sparkle ideas in your head? Does it inspire and excite you to start new endeavors? If not, you might need to dig further.
To do so, write down:
- 20 talents that you have
- 20 challenges you have overcome
- 20 knowledge you have acquired
Once you have scratched your brain enough, you will get a list of activities that are going to show you a pattern.
It is time to move to step 3.
3. An inspiring future
To crystallize your mission, the next step is to ask yourself what you want to be remembered for.
Project yourself into the future 25 years from now and imagine looking back on your life.
- What accomplishments do you want to look back on with pride
- What would you need to have done, for you to feel that you have had a full life and that you have lived to your full potential?
- Will you have maximised all your talents?
Dig deep and write down the results of your introspection.
4. Your mission statement
Time to wrap up. Hopefully, step 1-3 will have captured what you are about and what inspires you. Also you will have defined what you want to achieve in your life to feel fulfilled and content.
With this information, you are now able to write down a mission statement. That is a one sentence statement defining what your life mission is.
How to write a mission statement is a post in itself. Hence I wrote one. You can find all the details here.
And this post will teach you how you can set up short term goals from your mission statement.
5. Explore, track and adjust
Writing your mission statement is not the end of the road, but its beginning. As George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” But it is an important first step that will give you directions and focus.
The next step is to explore. With your mission statement and plan in hand, get started. Start working towards your goals.
Take a few steps forward. Then, take a step back and reflect.
- Do you enjoy what you are doing?
- Are there activities that are not making you fulfilled and not exciting you?
- How is your procrastination doing?
- Are you using your strengths effectively or are you dragged down by your weaknesses?
- How is your growth?
Track and review your progress every week. When you notice something is not right, make adjustments. When you get new insights about yourself that are pulling you in one direction, listen to them. Keep growing, keep learning.
Enjoy your new life, an inspiring life. Your mission will guide you in your choices. Handling your priorities will now be much easier.
Are you already living an inspiring life? If not, are you going to follow the steps above? Share your stories below.