As you start a new week, I want to pose a challenge that I think is quite meaningful in helping to revisit your purpose and to give you something worth thinking deeply about. My wife, Neila Steele, drew my attention earlier today to a Daniel Pink video "Two questions that can change your life". It's all about creating our personal mission statements that are just one sentence in length. In creating these mission statements, we need to ask ourselves two very important questions:
As Pink states in the video, when we are trying to do too much, our mission statements can some times become muddled paragraphs instead of succinctly written sentences that sum up our exact purpose or what we strive to achieve. The interesting thing here is that the sentences should be written from a 'looking back at your life' type of perspective.
In the 1960's, the first American woman to serve on congress in the US, Clare Booth Luce, went to speak with John F. Kennedy and said to him that 'A great man is a sentence." In the video, Daniel Pink provides examples of what these personal statements might look like:
Could we extend upon upon Clare Booth Luce's 'A great man is a sentence' analogy and apply it to our work in education? Could we say instead, 'A great teacher is a sentence.'? If so, what would your one sentence be if you were to look back at your life's work and succinctly sum up what you had achieved?
I've thought about this the last few hours, it's no easy task, but fun and challenging. Perhaps this would be mine:
"He taught people how to truly take pride in who they are and what they can accomplish in life."
Hopefully my personal statement applies to the teachers I work with through my consulting and the students that I have taught in the past.
I challenge you to not only take the time to write your personal statement but to also post it in your personal space or work space and look at it every day. At the end of each day, I ask you to honestly reflect upon whether or not your actions that day allowed you to check the 'Yes' box for meeting your personal mission statement. There will no doubt be days that we check the 'No' box, but know that these days will be greatly outnumbered by 'Yes' checks when you one day look back on your teaching career. Check out Daniel Pink's video below and take on this challenge when you are ready. Good luck!