Well folks, it’s almost September. And you know what that means…regardless of whether you are in school or not, there are dreams of bright red apples, hard-cover textbooks, and first-day-of-class outfits dancing in your head. Working in a college environment, I understand that I am biased. No matter how old I get, I will always view this time of year as “time-to-go-back-to-school,” no matter what.
Except this year, I’m trying to be a little more intentional in approaching the school year. The summer flew by, training hit me hard, and now I am literally enjoying the very last day to myself before classes start.
One activity during our office’s training that really stuck with me was “Developing a Personal Mission Statement.” The author of the worksheet identifies five steps to develop your own personal mission statement:
- Define what you want to be and do
- Identify an influential person
- Define your life roles
- Write a draft of your personal mission statement
Well when you write it all out, in five easy steps, it sounds…easy! Don’t let the steps fool you. It’s not hard work, necessarily, but it will take some thought. I’ll give you an example of how I started with step one. “I’d like to create a meaningful impact in the community for myself and for others. I’d like to be balanced with a consistent yet fluctuating sense of well-being.”
Okay. So what does that mean?
It means that ultimately, I want to be my best self. For others, but also for myself. And eventually, that’s how I developed my own mantra for my last year of grad school. “Be your best self – for others, and also for yourself.” It’s quick, simple, and meaningful to me.
Growing up, I was always told that as long as I did my best, the outcome didn’t matter. Whether it was grades in school, the next piano recital performance, whatever. It didn’t matter, as long as I tried my best. I think the message that is missing though is that as long as you try your best, the outcome for yourself doesn’t matter. If I messed up at a piano recital, my parents didn’t mind…but wow, I sure did! I would beat myself up for weeks, hitting the keyboard for hours after the fact, practicing and repeating the exact same measure over and over until my fingers cramped. Did I ever miss that note again? Nope. But did I try my best at that piano recital, even though I messed up? Well, yeah. I did.
I’m finding that the twentysomething life is a lot like performing at a piano recital. Sometimes, it’s flawless. Other times, it sucks. But regardless of the outcome, as long as you do your best, that should be enough…for everyone involved, including yourself.
I’m also in the process of learning that it’s more than just being your best self. It’s allowing it. Allow yourself to be your best self! Embrace it. Own it. Love it.
And allow yourself to embrace it, own it, and love it even if it sucks. Even if you messed up. Even if it wasn’t the best. As long as it was your best, that’s all that matters.
A simple lesson, really…one I learned in elementary school. Yet, reading it through a twentysomething lens really seems to add a whole new perspective.