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Roles and Activities

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Karl W. Palachuk
June 25, 2008

Translating your personal mission into your daily life.

In earlier posts (December, January), we discussed values and principles. They are literally the foundation for your goals. From this base we built a vision or mission statement.

Here’s the hierarchy:

Values Vision Roles Activities hierarchy

The obvious next question is, How do you translate your personal mission into your daily life?

In truth, all of your work so far has been theoretical. You hold certain values. You know this is more important than that. But it is rare for you to face a choice between high-level theoretical values (e.g., accountability, professionalism, or thoughtfulness).

So, let’s dig into the practical.

The next step is to identify the roles you play in your life. These might include spouse, parent, employer, employee, student, community member, community leader, and so forth.

Spend your morning Quiet Time identifying the most important roles you play in your life. Pick three to five. For most people, the temptation is to identify ten or twelve. And that might be useful. But for practical purposes, you need to identify the 3-5 most important roles you play.

You as an Individual

One choice you do not have is this: You must include the role of you individually, without regard to others. Most roles we play involve other people. You are a spouse to your spouse. You are an employee to your employer. You are a parent to your child.

And, again, most of the values we identify are related to our relationship with others (e.g., commitment, honesty, or service).

The result is that we tend to only consider ourselves in light of our relationship with others. Many positive traits come out of this. But it also has a drawback — we tend not to give ourselves the attention we deserve. We end up living for others, to the detriment of ourselves.

So one of your roles needs to be you as you.

Let’s work with the following example:
– You as self
– You as spouse
– You as employee
– You as community member

Once you’ve defined 3-5 primary roles for yourself, you’re ready to begin the work of setting goals for each of these roles.

Again, you need to dedicate a lot of morning quiet time to this process. Take it seriously. Don’t push it. You have the rest of your life.

Consider: What do you want to accomplish, personally (without regard to spouse, children, boss, parents, etc.)?
What do you want to accomplish personally?
What do you want to accomplish as a Spouse?
What do you want to accomplish as an Employee?
What do you want to accomplish as a Community Member?

For each of these, consider
– What are the long-term goals?
– What are the intermediate (1-3 year) goals?
– What are the short-term (0-12 months) goals?

And most important of all . . .
What one thing can I do, in each area, to advance these goals today?


Now here’s the bad news. Most people who read this will think it makes sense.

But they’re too busy. They don’t have the time. It’s not for them.

And most importantly — It looks like a lot of hard work.

You would think that Opportunity would be the most welcome guest in any house. But when he shows up wearing work clothes, most people won’t open the door to him.

There’s a lot of work here. True. But the rewards are phenomenal! Lasting personal happiness. A fulfilling family life. An enjoyable work environment.

It’s true. Once you focus your attention on the things that matter to you, you can’t help yourself. You will begin thinking differently. You’ll consider your actions more carefully. And you’ll start working toward your goals.

Good luck!

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