A Personal Mission Statement: 5 Steps to Making Your Own

Why a mission statement?  It’s simple: it helps keep you in your lane.

Have you been to a bowling alley lately?  Have you seen the bumpers they put on the lanes to stop your ball from landing in the gutter when you’re way off center?  A mission statement is like putting bumpers on the bowling lane of your life — it keeps you on course and in your lane, especially when you begin to veer off.

gutter bumpersHere’s a practical example:  assume you know your mission statement and you’re happy in your job; you enjoy what you do, and you’re doing valuable work that is aligned with your mission. Then a recruiter reaches out with a very enticing offer. Now what? If your mission is clear, you’ll know right away if the new offer is worth pursuing or not.  Maybe that company is offering free lunches and better health benefits, but maybe those perks aren’t so important to you because you don’t like the company’s values.  Or maybe that company has been on your “top ten” list for a long time, and you should definitely follow up, even though the timing isn’t right. Your mission statement provides a vision of the bowling pins AND the bumpers, so two things happen: 1. you know where you’re aiming, and 2. you don’t waste time in the gutter. Continue reading “A Personal Mission Statement: 5 Steps to Making Your Own”

The Three Seasons of a Start Up

Mother Nature is wise and has given us seasons.  Not just outdoors, but there are also seasons in life, work, and business:

  1. WINTER is a time to REGENERATE:  sleep, think, contemplate, rest, re-charge, dream, get ready.
  2. SPRING is a time to CHANGE: act, create chaos, pivot, switch, adapt, move.
  3. SUMMER is a time to GROW:  stretch, extend, strain, go far, push, drive.


It’s a simple concept:  a winter of regenerating, a spring of changing, and a summer of growing … then falling back through autumn (the fourth season), to regenerate again.


It’s important not to skip any season.  But why?

Continue reading “The Three Seasons of a Start Up”

Angry at Strangers? Amy’s Story Might Help

This story, that I read many years ago, has stayed with me — so much that it is now woven into the fabric of who I am. Good stories are like that. I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know if it’s true. But it might be.
subway car interior
Late one evening, Amy is on a subway, coming home from work. It’s been a long day and she’s tired. The subway car is pretty empty with just a smattering of passengers here and there. At the far end is a father, sitting with his head leaning against the window, his eyes staring straight ahead. He is oblivious to his two boys running rampant through the car. They look to be about eight and ten years old. They are having races down one length of the car, then running back, swinging around the poles, whooping it up. Their jackets are unzipped and sway behind them as they run.
Continue reading “Angry at Strangers? Amy’s Story Might Help”

Single-tasking is the New Black … I Hope

distraction image

Imagine going out for dinner with friends, and no one pulls out their phone; or trying to remember that name of Robert Downey Jr.’s most recent film without checking Google (Captain America: Civil War); or sitting on a bus and not having your neighbor talking loudly to his mother. Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for using cellphones, google-ing, and calling your mother. But research shows that there is a significant cost of both multi-tasking and being distracted by the phone — cost to brain development, creativity, and happiness.

“Wait, what?” you say. “My brain? My creativity? My happiness? But I can’t get my job done unless I multitask!” It’s time to re-think this.

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Ask Five Good Questions

imgresIn May of 2016 James Ryan, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, gave a commencement speech  about asking good questions.  While his words were directed at future teachers and leaders in education, they are invaluable to a much broader audience.
His speech includes a reference to Raymond Carver’s poem “Late Fragment.” In just thirty words, Carver beautifully articulates the simple desires that so many of us want at the end of our lives: “to call myself beloved” and “to feel myself beloved on the earth.”

Seems simple.

And it is.

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