Clarifying Your Mission(s)

Clarifying Your Mission(s)

Written by Emilie

Topics: Productivity

Last week I wrote about how instead of striving to find your one true calling, you should try to pursue many goals over the course of your life. I would like to clarify something though. Pursuing your many passions does not mean being unfocused. On the contrary, it requires great focus, discipline, and self-awareness.

Just because your life isn’t based around a single identity, that doesn’t mean your projects shouldn’t each stand for something. Of course they don’t have to. If you enjoy painting or hiking for no other reason than it makes you happy, then that is enough. (I would argue though, that pure enjoyment counts as a purpose too- and a perfectly valid one at that.)

But if you are trying to connect with an audience or inspire people, it helps to have a clear vision of what your project stands for. Having a clear idea of what you would like to communicate will help you make a greater impact on your audience.

This can be challenging, especially if you’re like I am, and have the tendency to want to throw everything you’re excited about into your work.

Jump In Now and Clarify Your Mission Later

Sometimes it takes jumping into a project and just getting started, before you know exactly where it’s leading you and what your ultimate message will be. I actually believe that the majority of projects start out this way.

If you begin with a purpose in mind, that’s cool too. But you might find that that purpose changes as you work. It’s important to be open to a shifting mission as well.

Too often though people wait and wait to start something, trying to clarify their mission from the get-go. This form of perfectionism is just another excuse not to start taking action. Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by perfectionism.

When you feel that urge to start something, it’s best to trust your instinct and jump in. Learn only as much as you need to know to get started and then TAKE ACTION. The mission of your project will reveal itself to you in time. And when it does, grab it and begin focusing your action more in that direction.

Puttylike as a Case Study

Since launching Puttylike, one of the things I’ve been struggling with is finding a way to bring all of my seemingly-disparate interests together. I’ve been writing primarily about confidence, productivity, and lifestyle design. But how do these things all integrate together exactly? How do they relate to being the kind of person who has a bunch of different interests in life and doesn’t want to settle on just one? Is this just my excuse for aimlessly exploring my own interests without a clear vision in mind?

These are the kinds of questions I’ve been asking myself over the last week. I knew there was some relationship between everything I was writing about, I just wasn’t sure specifically what it was.

But the other night, the mission for Puttylike revealed itself to me:

I want to help people understand that it’s ok to NOT specialize and that you don’t need to deny your intense curiosity for many things in order to thrive in this world. In other words, I want people to understand that it’s ok to be ‘undeclared for life’ and I want to help them do just that.

But in order to be ‘undeclared for life’, there are certain skills you need to cultivate, and these are the topics I will explore on the blog and in the podcast. They are:

1. Plans (I was initially going to write “A Plan”, but we all know of my dislike of the singular…)

You need to know what you want to get out of life. Most of us don’t want to just sit on the beach for years (trust me, you’ll eventually get bored). We want our lives to be exciting and stimulating. We also want to be remembered after we’re gone and have some sort of lasting impact.

Similarly, most of us think we want a lot of money, but what we really want is those experiences that we believe come from having great wealth. Money in and of itself is useless. What matters is the experiences you can have as a result of that money. You need to start thinking about money as freedom currency- a way to finance your dreams. But having money is ultimately useless without a plan as to how that money will be spent.

2. Execution

Not only do you need to have some plans or goals, but you need to be able to follow through with them. This is where productivity comes in. Being able to tackle your fears and your Resistance is huge. Learning to discipline yourself to work a little each day in order to achieve massive results over the long term is not easy.

3. Confidence

The reason I spend so much time harping on confidence is that it is really the crucial element in living an unconventional, multifaceted life. When you live a life that involves pursuing many different things and changing course regularly, you will constantly be faced with external pressures to conform. People will not understand. Having solid inner confidence is the only thing that will help get you through this.

Confidence is also necessary in order to meet like-minded people and find others to collaborate with on your projects. Learning how to connect with others is really important. Some refer to this as “networking”, though I find the term a little too me-centric. I prefer to look at it as having a certain social intelligence. But confidence is key for developing the social skills required to get out there and meet your allies. We can’t always go it alone. Sometimes we need a little help.

Where Does This Leave Me?

Well now that I have clarified my mission for Puttylike, I will have a better idea of what exactly to communicate in my blog entries. It will help me be more focused.

I may make some changes to the site as well. For instance, I’ve noticed that not many of you have been downloading my free audio guide about boosting confidence, which leads me to believe that I’m either not delivering something you want or I’m not explaining its purpose well enough (note: I did just edit the text a little, in the hopes of better clarifying)… But this has got me thinking about what I could provide that would be more valuable to my readers. So you can expect something new, and hopefully more relevant, very soon.

My point is that I couldn’t have really known where to take things without clarifying my mission. And I couldn’t have arrived at my mission without first jumping in and receiving feedback from you. If I had waited to start till I knew exactly what I was doing, it would have taken a really really long time and I would have maybe never launched this website at all!

The truth is you owe it to yourself and to all the people you might help to put your projects out into the world. So get started now and clarify your mission later.

***

What do you guys think? How important is it to know what your projects stand for? Don’t be a stranger! Say hi. :)

7 Comments

  1. Marco says:

    My goal is to make money in the stock market. What should I do?

    • Julie says:

      Marco, This was my goal 2 years ago. As Puttylike just told us, set yourself some goals and then do it, even if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. That’s what I did. I signed up with sharebuilder.com, deposited $500 into my account and just started playing with it. You will learn by doing. There is plenty of information on the site to guide you. As soon as I made $750, I took out my initial investment of $500 and kept playing with my profits. I also started listening to Fox Business channel where you get ideas on who to invest in. At first when I started watching the channel I knew nothing about what they were talking about, but now they are part of my morning routine. I can speak their language and actually laugh and cry when they laugh and cry. Decide how much money you’re willing to sacrifice to learn the ropes and then go for it.

  2. Emilie says:

    Well I guess I’d first ask you why? What is it you want to do with that money? Is there a particular lifestyle you imagine having? Maybe there are other ways of attaining that lifestyle besides looking to the stock market?

    I don’t know much about the stock market, but I’d suggest starting out by finding someone who has already done what you’re trying to do and picking their brain. Maybe there are some good blogs out there? It’ll probably take a bit of research. But generally speaking, I think it’s always a good idea to look to someone who has done what you seek to do and try to emulate their beliefs and patterns and also learn from their mistakes.

  3. Marco says:

    Oh, that’s excellent advice! I’ll try to find someone.

    I was also wondering how to cope with failure, which is something I excel at. I start several projects which go nowhere? How do you cope?

    • Emilie says:

      haha that’s a big question! I could write a whole post on that (and I probably will…)

      I guess I would say first that it depends how you are defining failure. I made it through law school but I’m not going to be a lawyer… Does that make me a failure? I don’t think so. (Others might disagree, but that’s their problem). But the way I see it, I learned what I needed to learn. I’m satisfied with that and now it’s time to move on.

      If you just loose interest in something, I don’t think it makes you a “failure” to move on to something new. I think it’s smart actually. Other people might not understand it, but people with many different interests need to keep exploring and trying new things. We owe it to ourselves and to anyone we might impact with our next project.

      However, if you’re talking about failing at something you really want… Well then it’s best to view failure as feedback. Something you were doing wasn’t working. It’s not you, it’s your approach. You just need to try a new method or tweak the old one. Sometimes it takes failing over and over again to determine what works and what doesn’t. The key is not to get discouraged and give up, but instead to learn from your failures and move forward from there.

      Also, the fact that you’re not letting your failures stop you is great! Most people are so terrified of failure that they don’t even try in the first place.

  4. Lex Mosgrove says:

    “Something you were doing wasn’t working. It’s not you, it’s your approach. You just need to try a new method or tweak the old one. Sometimes it takes failing over and over again to determine what works and what doesn’t.”

    Been there, done that (well, still doing). This is so obvious, and still the best advice I ever read anywhere.

  5. Emilie says:

    Aw.. now I’m blushing. :)

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