As I jogged through Grant Park this morning listening to Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989), I was moved to action. I’ve known of this book for years but have shunned it as just another self-help book. What a mistake. Actually this is the third time I’ve listened to this very wise man’s work.
What hit me today was the urge to write my own personal mission statement. Until now this didn’t interest me. After my run I spent a half hour on the first draft.
I thought carefully about my core values – what is most important to me in life. Mr. Covey suggested that I imagine my own funeral to hear what loved ones, friends, and work colleagues had to say about me. How would I like to be remembered? How do I want people to think of me now? But most importantly, how do I want to think of myself? Oddly, I’ve never taken a good look at the totality of my life. I’ve never deeply questioned my most important priorities.
After writing out a good enough first draft, I listed the roles I play in life: individual, husband, businessman. Then under each role I put aspects of ideal functioning in these roles. This simple, thirty minute exercise was eye opening. Writing them out made the ideas more concrete and harder to avoid. As I thought and wrote, my true priorities unfolded before my eyes.
This exercise was not included in Starting and Growing Concierge Psychotherapy and Psychiatric Practices, but it will be in the next version. The closest I came was to urge the reader to dream big – to imagine what comes next after establishing a successful practice. After following Stephen Covey’s advice this morning I see that I was encouraging clinicians to think of their practices as just one thing embedded in their larger life.
If you haven’t read Covey’s work, get it now. We are so much more than what we do for a living. As I continue working on my personal mission statement I know I will see more clearly, in surprising detail, what the important things are for me and what I must do to reach or embody them.
Where does work fit within your life priorities? To join in on the conversation leave a comment via the ”Leave a comment” link at the top of this article.