Okay, if you have not yet seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk on Start with Why, go ahead and see the clip…it is worth it.

my_why_bluprintMy personal mission – live authentically, live intentionally, live passionately – is something I’ve had for quite a few years now. It is part of me, and it describes my aspirational self…I don’t always hit the mark, but I work each day to do so. However, as I have been reflecting on it, I’ve come to realize that as sound as that mission is, as much as it is who I want to be, I had never truly articulated my Why. It has always been there, but I have never been brave enough to put it “out there” publicly. I have also never gone the other way and articulated publicly how I believe I live my mission. So the task before me was to do just that.

I am a visual person…I have always loved to design conceptual models and see how things work rather than describe them. So as I set to this task, I thought about developing some sort of visual representation…a plan of action in a way. As I mapped it out, it became clear that what I was attempting to do was to create a blueprint of how my Why influences my mission, which in turn influences my actions. It just made sense to call this thing My Blueprint.

My Why is fairly simple, but not simplistic: When it is all said and done, when they put me in the ground, I hope that my epitaph will be, “he made a difference.” I want to make a difference in the lives of the students I work with, with the young professionals I mentor, with my peers, on my campuses, and in the communities I call home. If my legacy is that people recall how I helped them in some way or at least challenged them to think differently, then mission accomplished.

Now, how do I live my mission? Well, living authentically means, “be who you are.” This means being honest with yourself about your talents and your weaknesses. It means doing what you say you’re going to do, and to do the right things for the right reasons.

Living intentionally means that everything you do you do it with purpose. It means thinking about the potential consequences of your actions, and being comfortable with those consequences before acting. That doesn’t mean that everything has to be scripted – spontaneity can be an intentional act – you simply have to recognize that you are choosing to be spontaneous.

Living passionately is, to me, a Zen thing. If you are passionate about the things you are doing, the people you are with, and what is happening, then you need to be 100% in the moment. Each thing you set out to do – reading a book, going for a run, being with your kids – let that thing grab your full attention.

Are these 3 things connected? Absolutely. That’s why I represented it with my old friend the Venn diagram. If you are living passionately, your actions will tend to be intentional. And if you are living intentionally and passionately, you are more likely to be who you are as opposed to being what someone else wants you to be.

You may want to try to develop your own Blueprint…it is an interesting exercise, and I believe worth the effort.