The developing research within the field of Positive Psychology continues to introduce us to a range of concepts, interventions, tools and assessments that offer new insights into the prospect of human thriving.
One of these being the ‘reflected best self’, an intervention that was developed by researchers at the business schools of the University of Michigan and Harvard. The exercise invited participants to receive feedback about when they are at their very best, rather than at their worst, by way of encouraging and rewarding effective and valuable behaviour.
Providing the opportunity to experience your ‘best self’, reflected back to you, by those who’s judgment you trust, can be a powerful and life changing experience.
A number of structured exercises have developed in providing a framework for engaging in the model of the ‘best self’ and none more potent, as creating a personal mission statement.
A straightforward framework and one which I have introduced regularly to my coaching clients, with powerful effect.
I usually work with clients on a 1-1 basis for about an hour and a half to complete but you could potentially finish in a similar time on your own, if prepared.
Here’s the structure
Brainstorm and write down what you would consider to be your core values. Don’t worry if they are not exactly perfect or feel a little vague etc. Try to identify between two and five.
Take a moment to consider your personal strengths. Don’t rush this one. If the identification of strengths seems a little unfamiliar, take the opportunity to visit The VIA Institute, where you can take a free strengths survey. Take a look at the results and use this as a starting point for this step.
Here you are going to revisit looking at your values but will do so from a point of action. Allow yourself to take some time to write freely, paying little attention to getting things right but look to answer the following questions.
What are some of your proudest achievements/accomplishments?
When do you feel at your level best?
What is it that you would like to leave behind as your legacy for those that come after you?
You have managed to systematically address the first three questions, which will form the basis of your mission statement. Read through your answers and consider if there are any emerging or replicated themes. If you are ready, you can begin structuring the mission statement by the use of a two paragraph structure.
The first paragraph should be personally descriptive and should seek to describe your personal values. Moving onto the second paragraph, which should seek to describe how these values would be put into action.
Here is an example from a recent coaching client to guide you.
‘I value my family. I believe that surrounding them with happiness and kindness will create an environment where they will feel safe valued and able to achieve to their full potential. I believe in the power of a smile and that optimism and humour can help myself and others through difficult times. I love discovering new things and delight in creative thinking, novelty and intellectual stimulation.
I will be open and approachable and encourage not only family but also others in my life to share their problems and triumphs and I will listen supportively and provide encouragement. I will embrace the joy in life and use humour creativity and curiosity to develop my own positivity and that of others. I will seize every opportunity to develop myself physically, emotionally and intellectually and celebrate my successes and those of others.
I value happiness, harmony and peace of mind and I give myself the permission to enjoy softer things, nothing, relaxation and well-being’.
You may need to persist with crafting your statement but you will get there! I would also place it somewhere where you can visit it often.
Let me know how you get on or if you need some advice or guidance to complete.
You may be interested in a workshop I am running on February 10th 2018 on this very theme, entitled Mission Making with Huw Richards at Yaur Yoga Studio in Worcester UK https://www.facebook.com/events/299028370618182/