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by Kimberly Shorter: Writer. Teacher. Breakfast food lover.
I have been in love with words since I was a little girl. I loved reading them, writing them, saying them. My excitement about reading and writing in elementary school gave my mother and my teachers reason to believe that I was going to be a writer. I spent much of my life both entertaining and resisting that notion. I only began to believe it myself when circumstances forced me to acknowledge my true desire to write.
I was laid off twice in 2008. The first time I saw it coming. The company I worked for was struggling financially, buckling under the weight of the crumbling real estate market. Construction projects were being either delayed or halted indefinitely. I prepared myself for the announcement, and was not surprised when the moment came. I landed another job three months later only to be laid off via cell phone in Chicago on business two weeks before Thanksgiving. On the flight home, I felt numb. I questioned my decision to pursue a career in project management. What seemed like a lucrative career path had become a long and desolate road. I faced the fact that project management was not my passion. Writing was.
I had been running from my passion for a very long time. Writing and creating made me happy, but it wasn’t paying the bills. And thus, I moved away from what I enjoyed doing — what felt natural to me — and immersed myself in the real world. It wasn’t too long before I sadly realized that moving about the real world tethered to the rules of corporate America was killing me slowly.
Several years ago I stumbled upon a book that changed my life. I was in a book store browsing the shelves for a particular book and a another book, The Path by Laurie Beth Jones, drew my attention. Looking at the spine, I had no idea what it was about. Once I read the subtitle: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, I knew this was what I needed.
The Path was instrumental in helping me delve into the heart of me to discover and explore my purpose and my passion. It all started with determining what my mission was. Once I realized that, it all made sense. I had been going through life without a mission statement! Jones’s book highlighted the importance of having a mission that could be stated in one sentence, easily understood by a twelve-year-old and recited at gunpoint. I used the exercises in the book to help define my mission and then state it concisely so I would be able to recite it, internalize it and live it.
Jones eloquently pointed out in the book that Jesus “articulated his mission statement in a single sentence two thousand years ago: ‘I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.’” (John 10:10) Our Savior had a mission that He lived, and He defined the mission for his twelve disciples (The Great Commission: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19). How could I be a follower of Christ — an effective one at that — and not have my mission statement defined?
The journey to developing my mission statement allowed me to see that my passion and my mission are intertwined. My mission, which is “to encourage, inspire and enlighten through my gift of writing”, is something I am completely committed to, and something I will be striving to do for the rest of my life.
What’s your passion? What’s your mission?