Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how the process of writing or telling our personal stories helps us to uncover the meaning and purpose in our lives.
I don’t expect to answer the great mystery of existence with just these simple questions:
“Where have I been?”
“What did I do?”
However, these questions can offer insight into who you are, what makes you unique, what forces have shaped your life, and the choices you’ve made.
I’ve been asking myself some of these questions lately (It’s good to practice being on the other end of the questions). These questions have come up primarily as I work on two personal projects:
1. My memoir
2. My Mission Statement
Over the last eight months, bit by bit, I've been writing chapters of a memoir about my Catholic school days. Writing my memoir has shown me that even the silly little things that happened to me during my childhood (i.e. embarrassing talent show memories, cheating on math in second grade, learning to distinguish a good friend from a bad friend, and plain good old nostalgia for my summer camp days) these seemingly random memories are really the fabric of my identity. I’ve made choices based on what has happened in my past. Maybe this isn’t a huge revelation to others, but for me it has been an eye-opener.
This week I decided to develop a personal mission statement and I started by answering these 15 questions. I noticed that stuff from my memoir overlapped with stuff in this mission statement questionnaire, such as my values and preferences, things that have shaped me into who I am today.
So, what does all this add up to?
Not only do I have a better understanding of myself – I also have a clearer vision of where I want to go and what I want to do with my future. I now have a window into my past and my future.
It’s been quite a transformative ride.
If you’re curious about my mission statement here it is (keep in mind, this is still a work in progress):
“To help people to find meaning and purpose in their lives by guiding them through the process of writing/telling/sharing their personal stories.”
I’m really excited about discovering this mission statement and where it is leading me. Keep an eye out, because I’m brainstorming some workshops around this idea. I'd love to hear your input.