Monday, January 28, 2008

For the past three years, I've found it very instructive to write a personal mission statement for the coming year. It's a way to put on paper personal goals, professional objectives, as well as guiding questions and the "big picture" view of who I want to be. It is 1-2 pages long, and I'll share it here, not so much because I think you'll be interested in the nitty-gritty of my life, but because I find it a useful template for thinking about how I want to spend my "one wild and precious life." (Thanks Mary Oliver).

I keep past years in a folder and enjoy looking back at them. I get excited to see when things are "checked off" and I am gentle on myself when things get deleted or pushed into a future year. It is a working document, just like my life will always be a work in progress.

If I had to sum up two particular artistic goals I have for 2008, it would be finishing old projects (namely a piece I am donating to a center for human rights in California) and collaborating with people I really admire (like Chris Jordan and Steve Scher) on projects that cross several disciplines.

With that, here's my mission statement for 2008!

Sarah Waller 2008

Mission Statement
I endeavor:
*To live in the world as richly and fully as my humanity allows.
*To soak up life like a sponge, letting the membrane between my heart and the world be a permeable one.
*To stay true to the core values I feel in my bones.
*To acknowledge what a gift it is to wake up in the morning.
*To live intentionally.
*To take creative risks and value the wisdom that comes from failures.
*To give back in meaningful ways.

Professional and Personal Goals

In Radio:
• Continue developing skills as a producer on a part-time basis for KUOW’s Sound Focus and bring compelling stories to air.
• Play creatively with independent producing. Create a handful of new radio works for KUOW’s evening line-up and/or national programs. (Stories on underwater hockey, personal loss, travelogue along Route 2, etc.)
• Set up informational interviews with other producers to learn more about the field.
• Continue evaluating how/if radio fits into my future.

In Art:
• Develop a look for “Moon Bear” story that stretches my artistic style – and submit to publishers in 2008.
• Finish work for the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights. (Complete one new component of the collage each month in 2008.)
• Embark on “Running the Numbers” series with Chris Jordan.
• Enroll in one fine art class in figure drawing or painting (only if time permits – this is a piece I could take up in 2009.)
• Reserve one day per quarter for creative experimentation and play with no stress on outcome/output.
• Evaluate options for making art more central to my daily work.

In the Environment:
• Continue arranging stewardship projects and other special events with FCRW. Keep these activities in balance with other priorities.
• Challenge myself to make deeper personal changes about how I consume resources.

Giving Back:
• Serve on committees by without overloading myself. Invest time in the pieces of work that will serve the WI best, and which ones will be personally fulfilling to complete.
• Finish repairing violin for the String Connection in Arizona.

Personal Development:
• Continue deepening my mentorship with Francie Wood.
• Meet the people I admire most (Susan Brenninger, Eric Liu, Diana Gail, etc.) and have open ears to learn from them.

At Home:
• Enjoy being silly, loving, and supportive in my partnership with Mika.
• Embark on the adventure of building our own family.
• Continue reaching out to family and being willing to stretch myself emotionally when roadblocks and challenges arise.
• Eat healthful foods, rest well, and stay physically active. (Start crew in the spring and plan at least one backpack over the summer.)
• Travel, both as a tourist within my own city and in the larger world. (Including if possible one trip to visit Mika’s mom over the summer.)
• Create a home that is welcoming, warm and open to visitors. Take time to savor the joy of decorating for each season.
• Learn one new violin song or duet.
• Continue studying Finnish.
• Continue writing in my journal.
• To compose my annual Valentine’s Day letter and write short stories on occasion.
• Organize at least four activities for the Oddball club (yak farm, roller derby, curling, cinnamon tasting, etc.) and host a wine club event.

Guiding Questions for 2008

• Am I happy with the balance of activities/priorities I have in my life? How might I want to adjust it?
• What activities will I let go when Mika and I start a family? Why would I choose that/those?
• What are the things I value most deeply (and want to keep) in my personal life and my professional life as our family expands?
• As we grow older and change, how do I want to relate to my mom this year? My dad? Andy, Aimee and their new baby?
• What do I love most about my life?
• What am I having trouble with?
• What do I long for that I don’t currently find time/room/courage to include?
• What do I fear most this year?
• What is a dream I am holding?


isobel said...

This is so fine Sarah, thank you for sharing and being courageaous enough to be "out there" with your proclamations and descriptions. You are an asset to this earth with so much to give,and you are a great steering committee self-monitorer for keeping yourself on track! Just remember to ajust the goals as needed. I would continually become bowed at the failure to accomplish what I intended every day and Rajan's dad shared with me his advice. He would take his list for what to accomplish at his office (environmental consulting) for that day and by 10 reduce it to 50 percent. After lunch he would reduce it again to about 10%. He would end up getting a small percentage done. But the other stuff would have been purged from the list for that day, so he focused on what was accomplished. I find this helpful to not belabor yesterday and just regroup and charge ahead. It's a hard lesson!

Rebecca Bush said...

Thanks for sharing your mission statement, Sarah. It's inspiring to see such thoughtful consideration given to so many areas of life. I have written in journals for years and it is interesting to look back on them and see how my goals have either been accomplished, or not, or how they have changed altogether. I tend to focus so tightly on career issues, but there is really so much more to life. I appreciate the scope of interests that you have!

tlc illustration said...

You are an amazing individual Sarah. I admire how well-thought out these are and how invested you are in embracing all aspects of life.