By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
What is a mission? Interestingly, the Oxford Dictionary offers a variety of definitions. The first is an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes. This is not my preferred definition. On the surface it doesn’t sound problematic, but I prefer the third definition of mission: a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.
Over the years I have had an opportunity to speak to many adults. Many are sensing something significant that they are pursuing, and a desire to follow this important path that they are feeling. They have suspected its existence since they were young. The children and teens that I speak to also talk of their mission for this lifetime. What is especially extraordinary is that they have sensed this need from a young age, younger than most of the adults who have expressed it.
I have been writing recently about the kids of the future – those who are paradoxically here today. Have you seen these children on the news? These are compassionate and passionate children with a deep desire to create change, who seem to feel obligated to do just that. (For more information read Hippies, Indigos, Crystal Children, and Beyond).
Have you had conversations with these kids? Have you really listened to them? I recently had a conversation with a young woman who is involved in very important work to change systems. She feels that this work is not just her job, and it is more than a vocation. Her commitment is so strong that her whole being shows up for every conversation, every presentation, and every action. She is an example of our youth who take on missions of grand importance
She and I began to explore together what separates her and her passionate work from that of some others. First she recognized that this is her soul-mission work. As we talked further, we recognized that integrity is the key ingredient. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. I (we) believe that it is the merging of integrity with the mission that makes the work so powerful, so soul-filled.
Everyone has goals in life, work that they do, a sense of a purpose in life. I encourage you to look at your mission and work, as well as the missions/work of those whom you admire. Is it a soul-driven mission? Here are some characteristics, which can be viewed as scaffolding, to help you identify integrity within mission.
THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR MISSION
INTEGRITY OF SELF: Who are you when you do this work? Are you being authentic? Do you bring your whole self to the mission, to the goal, to the assignment? Do you give it all you have while still establishing proper boundaries with others?
INTEGRITY OF MORALS: Take a self-inventory: What are your values, beliefs, and morals? Do you align each aspect of your work with these values and beliefs? Do you make sure that your actions align with your moral compass?
INTEGRITY OF ALLIANCES: Look at the people who require your interactions. How is their integrity? If you believe that they lack integrity it doesn’t mean that you must stop working with them. When possible include people with comparable values on your own team. When you must interact with those with less integrity, note the following: Do you maintain your own moral principles while interacting with these individuals? Or do you feel that the ends justify the means and it’s okay to use the occasional person in order to achieve the mission? Remember the importance of not losing yourself, or your Self.
INTEGRITY OF APPRECIATION / GRATITUDE: Do you demonstrate your gratefulness to each of the people who helps you to achieve your mission regardless of how large or small a part they play? This might be as formal as a thank you card, or as simple as a genuine smile.
INTEGRITY OF MISSION: Perseverance and humility are important characteristics. Look at your involvement with the end goal. It is acceptable for you to receive a benefit from your work, and it’s fine that you enjoy the work that you provide. But it’s important to gauge, “Is it all about me?” or “Is this for the greater good?”
Until the evaluation and the behavior become second nature you might find it beneficial to review your scaffold at the end of each day and at the completion of each task to assess whether you have stayed true to your Self, your integrity, and ultimately your mission.
WHEN YOUR MISSION IS NOT YOUR WORK
Mission is most frequently assumed to be the work that you do. For some of you, your mission is your vocation. For others it is your relationship with the world around you. As example, your mission might be healer. A healer’s vocation could be involvement in animal, plant or human medicine; conventional or integrative; healing the mind, the body or the soul. As a healer you may get paid for your work as a physician, massage therapist, clinical therapist, veterinarian, in an animal sanctuary, etc. When your mission is not your vocation, but your mission is still healer, you may be an accountant, or a store clerk, or not working at all. You could even be homeless and struggling for resources. But each interaction that you have with another living being is filled with light and love, and the individual that you have just been with walks away feeling uplifted.
TAKING IT DEEPER
WALK THROUGH LIFE WITH AN OPEN HEART: Think about those times (not necessarily work related) when everything has felt in alignment. One of the hallmarks of this moment was that your heart was fully open and you were fully engaged with All That Is. Not sure when this occurs? Think about the times when you have been in nature, observing a fabulous sunset, or loving your child or pet. This moment is what it feels like when you are connected with your soul. For some of you this process is less about connecting with others, and more about opening to yourself.
ALIGN YOUR OUTER LIFE WITH YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF: Live all aspects of your life the same way you live your soul-filled mission: in integrity with your Self and your values.
One’s integrity and one’s mission are not just about the paycheck. Look deeper. Are you seeking authenticity? Are you hoping to live your soul’s mission? Consider using the scaffold above to bring integrity to everything you do. Live a soul-filled life.
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and educational strategist in West Bloomfield, MI. She helps clients of all ages who have learning difficulties, work or school related anxiety, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders, and those who wish to Remember and Become ‘Who You Really Are’. Contact Judy at 248.568.8665 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.SpiralWisdom.net for more information.
This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to replace medical care.