Ideas: Blending Work And Spirit

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s bookBalancing Acts – More Than 250 Guiltfree, Creative Ideas to Blend your Work and your Life” (Dearborn 2003). 

The Idea

Write a Balanced Mission Statement. Think about all the roles you play in your life.  Do you:

  • Have a job?
  • Have a spouse or significant other?
  • Have children at home?
  • Have elderly parents?
  • Have a social life?
  • Participate in an exercise program?
  • Have a hobby?
  • Belong to a religious organization?
  • Volunteer for your church or community?
  • Believe strongly in one or two cause?

Susan Iida-Pederson, the vice president of corporate relations for Creative memories, talks about the importance of writing a balanced mission statement.  She says it is important to know who we are and what we value.  That way when we find ourselves in “fast-forward,” we can hit “pause” and remember that what we do is secondary to who we are.  Then we can focus less on our “to do” list and more on our “to be” list.  Writing a balanced mission statement is a part of blending our spirit with the other aspects of our lives.

To begin your own Balanced Mission Statement, first list each of the six areas of your life:

  1. WORK

For each area express in one or two phrases or a sentence what you value about that area or what you want to be in that part of your life.  Then put these sentences or phrases together to form your Balanced Mission Statement.  Here is an example from Rhonda Ellis, a senior director for Creative Memories:  “I want to contribute to a happy, loving, encouraging family and maintain a peaceful, secure home… to operate a profitable, part-time business… to grow in god’s wisdom and reflect this to others … to encourage and mentor others, especially women… and I want to be strong in character and gentle in spirit.”

As you think about each area, consider these questions:

WORK — Is this about income, an entrepreneurial spirit, security, sharing with others?  Is it a creative or social outlet, a personal development opportunity, the application of a gift or talent?  Do you have a sense of mission about your work?  What do you value or want to be in your work?

FAMILY — What do you value for your family — harmony, peace, quality time, love, respect, fun, communication, caring for others?  What is important to you about your home  – order, hospitality, comfort, joyfulness?  Do you value quiet, peace, and serenity or activity, energy and community?

FRIENDS — What value do you place on friends in your life?  What kind of relationships do you want to have and what kind of friend do you want to be?

HEALTH — What value do you place on your health?  How do you want to live and care for yourself?

SPIRIT — Is spirit to you about God, prayer, and reflection?  Or is about being ethical, moral, loving, forgiving, or generous, being a person of grace?  Do you value doing the right thing, spending time in church or a synagogue, helping others, inner peace?  Do you value education, lifelong learning, using your gifts?  Do you value the joy of living each day to the fullest?  What do you want to be in this area of your life?

SERVICE — Are you passionate about a cause?  Do you feel a need to give back to the world?  Where do you want to make a difference?

Notice if you had difficulty clarifying any of these six areas of you life.  Often this exercise will help us to see which areas of our lives we might have been neglecting.

Finally, define the essence of who you are as a person.  This is about character traits such as integrity, caring honesty, enthusiasm.  Are you task-minded, free-spirited, and adventurous, or are you conservative, quiet and thoughtful?  What do you want to be as a person?  What traits do you value most?

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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