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Guy Kawasaki’s Fall from Grace – Create a Mantra

7 Habits CoveyGuy Kawasaki is a heretic. He doesn’t believe in the sacred cow of the productivity movement, the all-important mission statement. I think he’s onto something.

In the late 1980s, right after I read the brand new, soon-to-be bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,I set out to create a personal mission statement. After much labor and analysis, I completed an utter work of motivational art. I typeset it, printed it out, kept it in my day planner, and reviewed it weekly. It was brilliant and inspiring — but I can’t begin to tell you what it said.

A few years later, when we read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, we tried to craft a family mission statement. We gathered the family together to talk about the future and the kind of family culture we wanted to create. It didn’t go so well. It was a bit of a struggle to get a seven-year-old, a four-year-old, and a one-year-old on board with:

Our challenge is to proactively and synergistically foster an empowering growth environment that nurtures each individual to attain his or her emerging potential by exploring paradigms — internally and externally — that elevate and compliment while encouraging growth and excellence in all areas of focus and influence.

Sometimes the mission statement is just a big wad of overkill. So here’s what Guy and I suggest:

Resist the urge to get engulfed in overwrought corporate culture. Instead, create a personal mantra! Find just a handful of words that packs a powerful punch for you and gets you off to a running start. I’ll share mine in the next couple of days. Today, you share yours!

What’s your mantra? How did you find it? How does it help you in creating an amazing life?

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • RodL January 25, 2011, 10:17 am

    That’s a great tip. With a mantra I can actually say it during the day to motivate myself. My mission statement is long and I can’t even remember it. Doh!

  • partner2 January 25, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I’m going to try this over this week. Will probably help me more than the other.

  • Bryan Thompson January 25, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Alison, I’m with you on the personal mantra. We have tried to create systems in our families, too. I’ve tried them with my freelancing work. I tried them for years as a pastor, but it never really worked for me, either. For me, there are things I have definite standards I try to live by, but they’re usually in relation to what I demand for myself, not my family or anyone else.

    Good reminder. Thanks for challenging me for the night. I need to stop trying to be corporate so much! 🙂

  • Benjamin January 25, 2011, 11:16 pm

    This is an important insight for me. The whole mission statement thing has never clicked for me — and now I see why. I’m going to work on one. Interested to see what yours is. I will guess:

    Work now, sleep later. 😉

  • Ileane January 27, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Alison, I used to be a star gazer. Well more like an internet star gazer that is. I studied the sun, the moon, Jupiter – some of the other planets too, but Jupiter is my favorite. So back when I was really into these studies, I wrote up a mission statement that included this goal – Establish a grass roots foundation for scientific research with an observatory serving as a community outreach program.
    Boy-oh-boy did I get sidetracked!
    Ileane recently posted…Help Me Win the Credit Cards Canada Guest Post ContestMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith February 6, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Bryan, thanks for dropping by and for your input.

    We have lots of systems that I find really useful, but my mantra does seem to be much more helpful than a rambling mission statement ever was.

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