Some of the most influential productivity and business books I’ve read have a take on a “mission statement” exercise — whether for yourself or for a business/organization. These mission statements or mottos serve as guiding principles, a North Star to focus and clarify decisions.
Inspired by a post from Tsh Oxenrider at The Art of Simple, Lesley and I decided that our family would benefit from having a family motto; and it has been a great tool for our family. As Tsh writes, the goal for having a family motto is:
A timeless, easy-to-read, holistic family mission statement that applies to everyone in the family. This will help you make decisions, feel confident about saying “no,” and be a bit better at focusing on the important instead of the urgent.
Lesley and I took separate turns writing and brainstorming different ideas, like:
- priorities for our family
- where we saw ourselves in 5–10 years
- what does our ideal home look like
- how do we want to treat each other
A tip I read from while doing research, is to fill in the blanks to “In our family, we. . .”
- . . . are ____
- . . . will ____
Lesley and I came back together with our initial ideas and examined them for common themes (and possible contrasts). Finally, it was time to piece together a draft (and try to make it memorable — especially helpful for the kids).
Lesley was keen on the phrase “choose love,” which we then worked into some of our repeating themes. We settled on:
We the Langs choose love for:
* our bodies
* our family
* our home
* our friends
Short, simple, to the point. Our motto allows us to reframe teachable moments with the kids (or even crucial conversations between us adults) back to our guiding principles as a family.
So get started! Plan some time with your partner to brainstorm and come up with at least a draft (you each could do a little individual work ahead of time and compare answers like Lesley and I did). And finally, share some of your mottos with us; we’d love to read them.