Maybe you’re an oil and gas executive, or a waitress, or a teacher, a pilot, an athlete, a taxi driver, or you’re in between jobs?
Perhaps you’re a Ph.D student, or an electrician, a mail carrier, a business owner, a soldier, a dog walker, a writer, a pizza delivery man?
That’s not you either?
A homemaker, a board member, a chef, construction worker, politician, salesperson, an accountant, a missionary, an actor, a musician?
Well it doesn’t really matter.
Because that’s not who you are anyway.
That’s what you do.
So who are you?
In a previous job my boss started a process where he met with all his direct reports to develop role descriptions as opposed to the usual job descriptions.
One of the first questions he asked me was, “What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?”
I thought about it for a moment and responded with, “I want them to say, wow, she’s one classy lady!”
This statement immediately influenced my interactions and relationships, both at work and in my private life.
And it inspired me to create a personal vision/mission statement. (More on that later)
Once my ‘Role Description’ was completed, I met with my direct reports to go through the same process.
They told me the things they wanted people to say about them when they left the room, things like:
she delivers on what she says she’s going to do;
she has great ideas;
he really knows his stuff;
I feel like I’m the only person in the world when he talks to me.
To my delight it gave me a clearer idea of who they were.
This simple exercise of discovering who I am saved me a lot of heartache when I left that organization.
An organization I’d been involved with for 20 years.
One I’d invested a whole lot of sweat and tears, along with my co-workers, to make more successful.
One who’s mission and people I still very much care about.
Sure it was hard to leave, but I knew who I was – my confidence and purpose in life were not tied into that specific job.
The benefit of knowing who you are and being able to articulate it is empowering.
Chances are that you already live out who you are – and have been doing so since you were a kid.
I know that when I developed my mission and vision statements and looked back on my life,
all the pieces seemed to fit together and finally make sense.
Writing out who you are in concise language
empowers you to more quickly assess and make decisions on the opportunities and struggles that come your way at work and in your personal life.
My personal vision and mission statements you ask?
I unabashedly display them on my blog, but in case you missed them, here they are:
Vision: Igniting the power and passion in others…
Mission: I relate with, promote and speak community wherever I am…
Short and sweet.
Transcending any job description.
I can’t say enough about the benefits of knowing who you are and strongly encourage you to find out, if you haven’t already done so.
Remember this: You are not who you are because of the things you do. You do the things you do because of who you are.
What do you want people to say about you when you leave the room?
And tell me…I really want to know.
Who are you?
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I did have work through an exercise such as this once and came up with a core purpose of ‘to live to my highest self and inspire others to reach theirs’ …… not sure if I actually achieve it though. One can only keep trying. Love your blog… 🙂
not sure if any of us ever live up to it… perhaps we did we have to change it. But it’s meant as a guidepost for us and we go off track it brings us back. What do you think?
Yes, I agree. It is always better to aim high, otherwise you may be denying your inner self, and a chance out there to do even better for yourself and for others.
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it is too low and we achieve it” Michelangelo…
That’s one of my fave quotes!
Excellent Post Di,
Thanks for making me think about the need for a personal Vision and Mission Statement. I have a good sense of who I am, but it will be interesting to try and define it in such a succinct summary as you have.
Love your posts, keep up the great work
Thanks friend – always good to hear from you 🙂
Shakti Ghosal said:
Loving post, Diana!
” Who am I?” is something each one of us needs to wrestle with in our wanderings through the pathways of life. This is a question that can take increasing control of us in our moments of self doubt and loss of self confidence. Awhile back, I took up this question and wrote a post. Thought it appropriate to point that to you and any of your other readers should they be interested.
Hope to return to your thoughtprovoking site again.
Cheers and God Bless!
Thanks for dropping by Shakti! Also, thank you for sharing your link – I will check it out after work!
What a wonderful post – it has really got me thinking instead of feeling – thank you!
Glad you liked it Julie!
Diana…you are quite possibly the best writer I have read. You have this ‘thing’…clarity…ease of clarity. You write with ease of clarity…and purpose! I enjoy. I ‘very much’ enjoy your word!!!
The question you pose i am unable to answer currently. I believe I am going through that little journey ‘now’…the journey of self discovery. And I’ll be honest, I’m not really enjoying it…but it’s enlightening!
Take care, speak to you soon!
Thank you so much! What a nice thing to say 🙂 Peace to you on your journey of self-discovery, I’m sure it’ll be worth the trip!
What a great thought-provoking post. Umm, what would I want people to say when I left the room? She’s passionate, has a wicked sense of humor and believes in compassion and humanity. Thanks, Diana for these wonderful words of wisdom. :).
Brigitte, from what I’ve seen (read) from you, I have no doubt, whatsoever, that this is what people say about you!
Zhen Huang said:
I am Zhen, howdy! Still wondering here, in the mean time, I will stick with the actions that are connected to this name. Thank you for the great post, it got me thinking about my identity.
You’re welcome! Thanks for reading the post and I wish you success in sticking with the actions connected to your name. 🙂
Interesting question about what you want people to say about you when you leave the room. Personally I think it all depends on how much you validate their thoughts, and how much weight one gives to the difference between what one ‘wants’ and what ‘actually happens’, (not always the same thing, lol).
You’re right! They are not always the same thing. But I found that when I was able to articulate what I want them to say, I started automatically behaving in a way that would encourage that type of response. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment!
LOVE!!!!! I developed a mission statement when I was between jobs, that I think still applies, although it is nowhere near as concise as yours or Louise’s – I need to work on that!
At the time, after some soul searching, I came up with: “I am committed to finding work that will allow good work-life balance. It will be work that nurtures my soul and doesn’t leave me feeing depleted or beaten up. The work will be intellectually stimulating and lead to developing lasting friendships. I am committed to finding a job that provides a good work life balance so that I can also focus on strengthening my marriage and family, and get enough exercise and rest.”
I guess that my concise mission statement would be “I am a balanced person, who does meaningful work, but prioritizes life outside the office.”
My vision would be: “A balanced lifestyle with time and energy for things I love.”
When I leave a room, I think I would want people to say that I am competent, dependable and loyal.
Thanks for the MOST thoughtful post! Consider yourself freshly pressed – at least by me! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such a thoughtful comment. (smiling) Now that’s an honour – freshly pressed by you 🙂
I loved this article and yes I know who you are! I love your passion on life!! Keep writing….I am reading :))
Hiiiiiiiii Letty!!! Thanks for stopping by and your words of encouragement. 🙂
a valuable post, one that requires a re-read and some thinking!
Thanks for stopping by!
that sounds I think I must work on both personal statement and purpose
Let me know what you come up with!
i will if I ever do
Louise G. said:
Powerful post Diana. I too have a vision and ‘purpose’ statement that helps me where ever I am and whatever I do to be true to me, myself and I. And, when I come from that place of authenticity, what is happening around me does not determine the tempo or temperature of my day, who I am does. And I am ‘a radiant woman’. This is the statement I use, my contract statement, that ensures I passionately engage with living every day. It reminds me to step through fear into the courage to be, do, have my best.
Vision: Igniting joy in an enlightened world of harmony and love.
Purpose: To touch hearts and open minds and set spirits free.
I love how we both use ‘ignite’. It’s a powerful word for me — makes me think of fireworks exploding in the hearts and minds of humanity. Or, as I recall Ray Bradbury describing it — to leap onto a landmine and explode into my day.
I love your personal statements! And I love the word ignite as well. Thanks for your generous encouragement and friendship Louise. 🙂
On The Way said:
Who am I?
A question I wish I could figure out the answer to.
I would try to answer the question, what would I want people to say about me when I’m not in the room, seems a little simpler. It looks more at how others might see me rather than how I actually see myself.
I guess I would like them to say…
“she believes in people, has time for anyone and does her best to help.”
“she’s kind, caring and really listens to what I have to say”
“she had a tough time for a while but that just makes her better at what she does.”
Those sorts of things, I don’t believe this is what is said about me or might ever be said but if I could get somewhere close to that it would be enough.
Sorry if that makes little sense but thank you for encouraging the question…
It makes perfect sense! Thank you so much for stopping by and your thoughtful comment. Building mission/vision statements does take some work – I agree! But I think it is well worth it. Lots of materials out there to help a person do this..
Magnolia Beginnings said:
Diana, I have spent the last week or so saying that I don’t know who I am anymore. I think the problem is I keep trying to define myself by what I do or where I am needed the most at that time. I don’t think I realized that until I read your blog this morning. Thank you. I’m off to go do some thinking… : )
Wow, that’s awesome! I’m glad you got something out of it and I can’t wait to hear who you are! 🙂
Thanks Diana. I’m going to make some time to revisit this properly. Going to keep this in mind now and get to work! A really inspiring post, thanks for sharing. Going to do my homework later 😉
(smiling) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!