My kids are finishing up their second week of the new school year. I am finding my rhythm once again.
As exciting as new beginnings are, they can bring forth anxiety for both parents and kids. It’s natural when we’re embarking on the unknown.
For me the best antidote for anxiety is being clear minded, that is, being connected to my purpose, direction and focus. I don’t have to have every detail buttoned up if I’m clear of where I am headed.
This summer I thought about this and wanted to ease my kids transition back to school with the same clear mindedness.
I decided to do something I’ve never done with my family: create a family mission statement.
Truth is I never liked mission statements. I know it’s a little controversial for a coach to say. It’s something about the word. They remind me of my past corporate world where I was either forced to embrace a mission statement I didn’t buy into or spend a lot of time creating ones that were never referred to again.
Despite my salty predisposition toward mission statements, I know they work. Mission statements are simply clear visualizations of your ideal business, team, career, project or life.
I help my clients create visualizations of their ideal or “best version” of themselves all the time. I wondered, “why wouldn’t it work for my family?”
After all, what I know for certain is…
- we can’t hit a target we can’t see
- telling kids (and adults) what NOT to do without being clear of what to aim for puts the focus on and creates more of what we don’t want and
- successful individuals rank a happy family FIRST in determining their personal and professional satisfaction.
So I decided to go for it. We wrote the family mission statement.
And the results surprised me.
Despite thinking I would have a reluctant audience and it would take a lot of time, neither assumption was true.
My fifth and second grade daughter’s fell right into the exercise when I asked them these questions from Bruce Feiler’s fabulous book, The Secret of Happy Families.
What words best describe our family?
What is most important to our family?
What are our strengths as a family?
What sayings best capture our family?
This is what we created…
The Hyland Mission Statement
May Our First Word be Optimism and
Our Last Word Be Courage…
We give and receive love unconditionally.
We know its ok to make mistakes.
We build people up.
We contribute instead of contaminate.
We are open and curious.
We are daring and vulnerable.
We show up fully and give our best.
We dream big and set our intentions to live our dreams.
We step into our power and invite others to do the same.
We create consciously.
We express gratitude frequently.
We love life.
We are happiness and joy!
Everyone agreed it felt good and true.
We now have a copy of our family mission statement on the dashboard in the car and hanging in our kitchen. We read it at family dinner on Sunday nights as a reminder.
Recently, when my older daughter was verbally hurtful to her younger sister, I pointed and referred to it. “In this family, we build people up,” I said. (She chose those words. Sweet!)
The mission statement helps my kids know they are part of a team. We have standards. A core set of values. Most importantly, we have a clear vision of what we want our family to be.
We don’t always meet it, but we have our North Star.
That statement is one thing that is steadfast and assuring in both our kids and our ever-changing lives.
I have found my rhythm this year more quickly than normal. My family’s anxiety has been noticeably reduced. I believe it has something to do with the family mission statement experience.
A family mission statement may not be for everyone, but for us it was uniting and fun to visualize our family at its’ best!