If you are providing workshops in life planning, then the ‘Mission Statement’ activity is one that you are welcome to use for free in your training and lesson plans. It’s a fairly straightforward activity to run and extremely useful if you are providing ‘Life Planning training‘.

Life planning activity

Activity Time-frame

This activity comes in two parts and you can potentially use this as two separate activities. I recommend though to use 15 minutes time-frame for each part but do feel free of course to adapt the time-frames as needed.

Activity Group Size

Participants start this activity individually and then end up working in pairs, as will be explained below.

Running the Activity

Part 1: What makes you happy?

Activity time-frame: 15 minutes

Ask participants to start working on their own for 5 minutes.

Ask them to think about some situations in which they were happy and to answer the questions on the slide (see above).

Ask them to see if they can identify 5 top things that make them happy.

After about 5 minutes, ask participants to discuss in pairs (or groups of three if there are an odd number of participants).

Allow another 5 minutes to share their thoughts with the class as a whole.

Part 2: Creating a Mission Statement

Activity time-frame: 15 minutes

You can start this activity by asking participants to start working on their own for 5 minutes.

After about 5 minutes, ask participants to discuss in pairs (or groups of three if there are an odd number of participants).

Allow another 5 minutes to share their thoughts with the class as a whole.]

Start by asking the participants to look back at their list of the top 5 things that make you happy and write down brief answers to the following questions.

1. Then show participants the questions on the slide above on the slide.

2. Then explain to the participants that after answering the questions, that:

  • They should be able to see themes emerging from their answers that show what the most important things are in their life.
  • They will then condense these themes in a short statement, which will constitute their mission statement. A mission statement is a summary of why you do the things you do and it is influenced by your values.

A mission statement is something that helps you stay on track and keep sight of what really matters to you as you start setting your goals. It helps you make sure you stay true to yourself.

It is also a motivational tool. You can write it down and keep it somewhere where you can easily see it every day.

Activity Example for the Participants

Let me give you an example that you can also give to your participants to make the goal of this activity clear.

Jane has listed the following 5 things as the things that make her happy:

  1. Spending time with her best friends
  2. Volunteering at the local care home for elderly people
  3. Walking in the countryside
  4. Playing the violin.
  5. Training new employees at work

“Why do these things make me happy?”

Spending time with my best friends is extremely important to me as I value friendship above anything else. I take great comfort from my friends and I enjoy being there to help them whenever they need me. I also like the social aspect of it, as I enjoy their company and sharing experiences with them.

I volunteer at the local care home as I like giving care and support. I also enjoy listening to older people’s stories as I think I can learn a lot from their experience s and the wisdom they have acquired through the years.

Walking in the countryside makes me feel closer to nature and makes me feel better because of the exercise. I like to watch plants and animals and the miracle of life.

Playing the violin challenges me mentally as it requires concentration and dedication.

Training new employees at work allows me to help somebody, get to know new people better and it is also a mental challenge as I need to find ways to engage them.

“What do these things do for me?”

These things make me feel alive and useful. I like to help and support other people and I also like mental challenges and learning from people, from the environment and from the things I do.

“How do they enhance my life?”

I like to feel that I am being useful by helping people in my social life, by volunteering and at work. Walking in the countryside and playing the violin are things that I do for my own enjoyment and they help me to relax and keep me mentally engaged.

“What is really important about them?”

These things help me fit in the world, as part of society and of nature.

“How would I feel if these things were missing from my life?”

I would lose the sense of purpose in my life. I would feel lonely, disconnected and bored.

If you look at Jane’s answers you will notice some keywords that will help you identify themes: friendship; sharing with other people; companionship; helping others; learning; physical activity; nature; mental challenges and learning.

So, Jane’s mission statement might be something like this:

“Every day I will seek out opportunities that help me to learn and develop as a person, both physically and mentally. My aim is to help other people and support them, so I can make a difference in their lives. I will try to turn every situation into an opportunity to develop myself and others.”

If you are teaching online

For this activity, participants start working on their own at first and so, if you teach online, there is no difference in terms of how the activity works.

For part two, allocate them in virtual breakout rooms. They can use the chat facility or a virtual whiteboard if they want to write down and share notes in their groups in real-time. At the end of the group discussion, bring all participants back together to the main room for a final summary of the activity.

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Dr Paul Symonds

Paul is a trained researcher with a PhD in wayfinding. Paul is a co-founder of Symonds training. We focus on providing high-quality training materials packages and programs for trainers, classroom teachers and HR departments.

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