No matter where you are in life—physically, spiritually, or emotionally—finding inspiration and direction is essential to ensuring happiness and well-being. That inspiration can come from anywhere—religious leaders, books, TV shows, friends, or the internet. The source is not as important as the guidance and direction that inspiration can bring to your life.
This is why USGA’s Faith Committee hosted an event centered around finding inspiration by creating personal mission statements. In Stephen Covey’s bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he describes the second habit as “Begin with the end in mind.” In order to accomplish this, knowing what “the end” looks like is the first step in actualizing a personal mission statement. Stephen Covey asks: “Are you—right now—who you want to be, what you dreamed you’d be, doing what you always wanted to do?” For the first half of the evening of this activity, the objective was to identify some goals, personal character traits, and accomplishments. Once again, 7 Habits states, “In one’s life, the most effective way to begin with the end in mind is to develop a mission statement—one that focuses what you want to be in terms of character and what you want to do in reference to contribution of achievements. Writing a mission statement can be the most important activity an individual can take to truly lead one’s life.”
As was discussed during the activity, personal mission statements take many forms. They could be a statement written by individual about their goals. Or, they could be a collection of quotes that represent goals, values, qualities, etc. that exemplify a personal mission or “end.” This activity centered around the latter. The following questions were presented to get everyone thinking about what their goals and values were:
- Think of a person who made a positive difference in your life. What qualities does that person have that you would like to develop?
- Imagine 20 years from now— you are surrounded by the most important people in your life. Who are they and what are you doing?
- If a steel beam (about 6 inches wide) were placed across two skyscrapers, for what would you be willing to cross? A thousand dollars? A million? Your pet? Your brother? Fame?
- If you could spend one day in a great library studying anything you wanted, what would you study?
- List 10 things that you love to do. It could be singing, dancing, watching YouTube videos, drawing, reading, daydreaming—anything!
- Describe a time when you were deeply inspired.
- Five years from now, your local news station does a story about you and they want to interview three people: a parent, a sibling, and a friend. What would you want them to say about you?
- Think of something that represents you— a rose, a song, an animal. Why does it represent you?
- If you could spend an hour with any person who ever lived, who would that be? Why that person? What would you ask?
- Everyone has one or more talents. What are yours?
With the answers to these questions in mind, participants were encouraged to consider what their own mission statements might include.
Part of the evening also included collecting quotes, lyrics, etc. and presenting them in small groups.This activity was meant to give participants the chance to share words and sayings that were motivational and inspirational to them. The exercise itself was was actually inspired by a famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”
In order to help everyone find inspiration for their mission statement (or just to help brighten a hard day) the faith committee has compiled some of USGA members’ favorite words, a “USGA Bible”. It features quotes from the scriptures, the general authorities, famous philosophers and poets, and The Queen (J.K Rowling of course). It can be found here.
We hope that this exercise and these quotes can help anyone who feels lost or directionless, or who needs some extra inspiration in their lives.