“I know I don’t want to do this anymore,” Erica, a financial advisor working for a large firm, complained to me during our first call together,“But I just don’t know what I do want to do.”
“Erica,” I responded, “Imagine you’re at your 100th Birthday Party. Gathered around you are all the people you love and who love you—your children, your grandchildren…maybe even your great-grandchildren.”
“I don’t know,” Erica persisted.
“Well, what do you want to be remembered for?” I pressed.
“I want them to think I was adventurous—maybe eccentric,” Erica began. “I want them to think I was a good Mom,” she continued. “I want to be able to tell them about my travels.”
Erica was beginning to enjoy the game.
“I want to be able to get away when I feel the urge—to have some kind of work that doesn’t tie me down to an office like I am now. I could work from home, pick my own hours, and make house calls, or rent some space if I needed to bring some people to me.”
By herself, Erica had switched the conversation from how she would like to be seen and remembered to what she wanted her life and her work to look like.
“Would that work be in the financial field?” I asked.
“It could be, I guess—at least in the beginning,” she responded, “But I might want to write something and maybe try to sell some things on line—helping people manage their own finances—or helping other advisors to cope or change, like I’m doing. If I had a business selling things like that, I could be helping people, and earning money even while I traveled.”
In a matter of minutes, with the help of the 100th Birthday Party Game, Erica had found direction and was working on her Mission Statement. (This exercise can be completed in detail with the help of my book The High Diving Board: How to Overcome Your Fears and Live Your Dreams.) One of the best things you can do for yourself is to sit down and write out your own Mission Statement. What do you want to stand for? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to be known?
What’s the story you want to be telling at your 100th Birthday Party? Writing a Mission Statement will help you live your life on purpose. All you have to do is make sure that everything you do each day is in some way connected to the mission you’ve chosen for yourself.
I hope to see you at my 100th Birthday Party. In the meantime, keep REACHING…