In an episode of “Fix My Life”, Ms. Iyanla Vanzant (author, speaker, and spiritual coach) was coaching Evelyn Lozada (cast member on Basketball Wives & Ex-wife of former NFL player, Chad Johnson). Ms. Vanzant pressed the question, “Who are you, really?” over and over during her coaching session with Evelyn. Early on, many of the answers seemed to center around Evelyn’s celebrity status. Ms. Vanzant continued pressing, “Who are you, really?” The conversation then leads to lots of tears and examining previous relationships in the life of Evelyn, primarily her estranged relationship with her father. It was revealed that she did not have a relationship growing up with her father because he was absent. As Evelyn continued, she also talked about the pain of not being able to hear that she was beautiful from her father while growing up. The attention she got from being promiscuous was one way she sought to feel beautiful. She had sold herself short in every previous relationship in her teens that resulted in having a baby at the age of sixteen. She had defined herself by her outer image and tolerated ill-treatment to keep her status afloat as a diva and a tough girl. Her value had been reduced to her image, which cost her relationship after relationship. Author James Allen in his book As You Think expressed, “We do not attract what we want, but what we are.” (p. 36) We attract what we are. This was the message from Ms. Vanzant to Evelyn. Evelyn received the message and vowed to work on herself.
Often times, we determine our worth based on associations, status, wealth, possessions, activities, accomplishments, club memberships, unique physical and intellectual capabilities, and so on. The danger in defining our worth by external elements is that when we lose one or more of these factors, we lose our identity. I remember having this same struggle when I stopped playing football. It took me years to differentiate between what I did playing football and from who I am as Tommy Watson, the former football player.
Defining our value by external factors is not something that only impacts individuals, but can also impact organizations as well. For years, the Bic Company defined itself by manufacturing pens. The pens were its cash cow. An external consultant came along and recommended that Bic make razors to expand its line of products. Bic executives thought the idea of making razors was preposterous; after all, they were a pen company. The consultant further explained that Bic’s image of itself was too narrow and that Bic had solely been focused on what they had been doing in the past. However, beneath the surface, what the business was really about was producing lightweight, inexpensive, disposable plastic consumer products. The company would later embrace the idea that there was more to Bic than pens and has enjoyed great success with razors and lighters.
Psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, suggested that we go through seasons in our lives. During the first season, we focus on surface things revolving around physical and material
needs. In the later period, we start to go deeper asking questions like: Is there really a purpose for my life? Am I making a difference? How will I be remembered?
James Allen goes on to express in his book, As You Think, “Even if we fail again and again to accomplish our purpose- as we necessarily must until our weakness is overcome- the strength of character gained will be the measure of our true success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph”. (p. 60) Like many of us, Evelyn Lozada is now at a place in her life where she can take the character that she has built from her many failures and convert that learning to a new mission statement of valuable meaning and worth in her life.
True success, value, and worth are not in things but how well we live our life of purpose. Here are some questions to ponder:
1. Are you leading life or is life leading you?
2. What kind of leadership role have you taken in your own life?
3. Do you feel satisfied with your life and work?
4. Are you finding a balance between your needs and the needs of others?
5. Are you accomplishing meaningful goals?
(From Me, Inc. by Scott Ventrella)
What has been the cost for you by not answering yes to each of these questions? What will it take for you to go after the changes necessary to enhance your internal worth and value?
Individuals and organizations that have high value and meaningful worth are guided by mission statements that help them be more decisive, focused and effective. Here are steps that you can take to create your own mission statement of value and worth:
1. Create a statement that guides all aspects of your life
2. Remembering that it is not about how much you have or can get; it’s how well you are living your life
3. Your statement should focus on you and helping others
4. Your statement should be motivating and inspiring to you- it should evoke a fire inside of you
5. It should be positive and ignore obstacles and any perceived limitations
6. Your Statement should be enduring – it should not change even as your goals change. It is a reflection of who you are and what you are about.
(From Me, Inc. by Scott Ventrella)
Much of my life growing up was spent overcoming obstacles and adjusting to constant environmental changes. Therefore my mission statement reads:
My mission is to lead a life of service and inspire individuals and organizations to overcome obstacles and adjust to constant environmental changes.
Are you tired of being defined by what you do and what you have?
Now is the time for you to write your own mission statement that reflects your true value and worth. Don’t let someone else write your mission statement for you and define who you are.