can you capture what you stand for?

Posted on April 15th, 2011

I have to come up with a mission statement, a raison d’etre for something I’m working on (actually, it’s my blog). I’ve struggled to get clear. I keep trying to get “on top” of what I think my blog is about, to get a definitive bird’s eye view. My view. Your view (as a reader). My critics’ views.

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I’ve mentioned before that with starting a blog – and when doing many things these days – it’s nigh impossible to get a definitive perspective on things. Everything moves so damn fast. Blogging doesn’t know where it’s heading…so enter the fray and just be part of it. Join the current, and learn to swim as you go, was my advice (I grew my entire career this way!). All of life is like this. Frazzled. Slippery.

But there’s another element to this resulting fugginess. As I say, this realm is all an experiment moving so fast that our ethical and emotional selves haven’t caught up.  Which is why I think so many of us feel so torn and flustered and unclear. And bothered. And desperate to grab a fistful of certainty…somewhere!

My beautiful  friend Kerry, who works with CEOs and charity organisations to help them get clear on their aims, said last night this is a widespread problem at the moment. She sees unclear visions all the time. Or doesn’t, more to the point. “We are so caught up in staying up to date and operating ‘out there’, we can’t actually see what our purpose is, why we’re doing what we do”.

“We do, do, do. We think the doing will find us clarity. But it’s the opposite. The doing has to stop before you get clear.”

Hell yeah.

I tell you where I’ve been getting it wrong – I’ve been after the bird’s eye view. I’ve wanted to stop things long enough to grasp it. IMPOSSIBLE!! This is something we need to accept is just not achievable nowadays.

The solution then? How to get clear? How to work out what you’re about? Don’t get on top…get down low. Into the heart.

I don’t think we can think – or do – ourselves clear any more. We can only FEEL ourselves clear.

Kerry and I pondered this last night….she quoted Einstein:

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

We need to think differently to get clear. Or not think at all.

I got down into my heart for a few quiet minutes last night (and it only takes that long) and FELT what I’m about and it kinda came screaming back at me…Kerry sat back….Here it is:

I friggen want to make my life matter… with my blog I pick apart, savour, sample ideas that help us live a life that matters. Fired up. Giving a shit. Getting real. With a dose of whimsy.

There. Better. It’s all made me a bit teary and raw now. I think I need a tea and some sun.

When you get low, does it help? AND, what do you stand for?

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  • http://adamcordner.com Adam Cordner

    Hi Sarah

    The bird’s eye view for me is my default setting, I’ll try and get a vision for my life, then go out into the world only to end right back where I started.

    Lately I have been spending more time being present and taking the ants eye view of my life and the people in it, I have been trying to wrangle my life into the one I want only to realize that the one I have is pretty awesome and the people in it are amazing.

    Getting low has helped me, making little colourful pixels now will render a big picture later.

    [Reply]

  • Dani

    What a great post Sarah!

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and your method – and the tears – reminded me of Steve Pavlina’s method for “determining your life purpose in 20 minutes”:

    1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster)
    2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
    3.Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
    4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

    I think you’re spot on when you say that your purpose isn’t something you rationalise, or design by commitee – it’s something you FEEL. Good on you for getting down and feeling it and articulating such a totally kick ass raison d’etre for your blog!

    (Full link to Pavlina article here: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/01/how-to-discover-your-life-purpose-in-about-20-minutes/)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Great link and great tip…”Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.”
    Thank you! x

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  • http://traceyadamson.wordpress.com/ Tracey Adamson

    Hi Sarah
    Love your blog I read it everyday .. almost when things are not hectic with work life etc

    I totally agree with you. Things are so hectic in our lives these days

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  • Anthony Porter

    Hi Sarah

    I have all too often found that when I have tried to understand or describe what I am about It has been really difficult, because my life has been too cluttered by noisy thoughts distorting my views.
    So, I cut off the noise by meditating for an hour each day, that brings a calming thought process and I’m able to focus. This is what I came to: I am a poet, who expresses ideas about life through my poetry.

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  • Claire

    This post actually made me shake a little – with the realisation of the truth. I’ve spent my days visualising the end-point, searching for the bird’s eye view as you have described. And recently I’ve realised that it’s deep down, here in the moment, the journey of IT all, that I’ve neglected… forgotten, almost.

    I’m trying now, to just do, think less. Your post literally has come a day after this realisation.

    Thank you.

    And yes. Your life does matter.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Claire, yours does too!

    [Reply]

  • Mel

    I have read a few of Sarah’s blogs lately and there seems to be a deeper level of soul searching going on than normal, and will disguised with a quick wit. Yes, I know the purpose of of this blog is to ‘make life better’ but perhaps the deeper we dive, the murkier things become and we don’t always like what we find. Alternatively, when we take an birds eye view of ourselves, how many of think don’t actually like what they see?

    What I think I’m struggling with here is after reading the article on Sunday about shaking things up and basically, following a ‘live and let live’ attitude, today’s blog almost feels like a contradiction.

    Don’t know…my response probably only makes sense to me, but I think the flow has stopped at bit today.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Mel, very astute. But as Walt Whitman said: I contradict myself…I am large and I have multitudes…

    [Reply]

  • Xanthe Addison

    Sarah, that’s gold! That is perfectly what you and you’re blog represents. Once again you manage to use words just as they should be used – for saying the most important things simply. Beautiful.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    That’s generous of you Xanthe. Thank you.

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  • http://oneaprilmorning.net Laura

    Lovely post Sarah : )

    When I started my blog, I decided to write an “author’s statement” as a permanent introduction… it was actually inspired by Laura Munson (who I discovered via this blog)
    whose author’s Statement is “I write to shine a light on a dim or otherwise pitch black corner to provide relief for myself and others.”

    Mine isn’t nearly so succinct or poetic as Laura or Sarah’s, I think because I am not yet quite sure of my “mission”… Anyway, even though it is a little convoluted, whenever I reread it, it still seems to encapsulate everything I seek to explore through my writing:

    “For me, the meaning of life is that… there is no meaning. We are here, on earth, with the freedom to make what we want of our unlikely existence. I want to love and be loved, most importantly. Create. Touch people. Connect. Make a mark, however small or obscure. Carve little windows of happiness, however fleeting. Acquire wisdom. Be unique. For there is not one person in the history of the world who is exactly like me. But the more I read and learn about everything, the greater my conviction that, although things change, they don’t change all that much. And it is my quest to tap into the eternal wisdom that human beings have accumulated throughout our limited but vast existence, from residing in caves to beholding Shakespearean plays to dabbling with iPads, to make sense of things as I see them, through my own eyes. And in doing so, I find my kindred spirits: people with the need to ask the same questions as I do and who, eventually, reach the same conclusions. They may have died 500 years ago, live on the other side of the world or be sitting beside me on the train. Which is my kind of magic.”

    [Reply]

  • Jacinta

    Tim winton, Helen garner, mark mordue, Pablo neruda, Michael ondaatje and even singers like PJ, Nick Cave, Tim Rogers, Thom Yorke, Sonic youth….are all hugely creative people that don’t define what they do, nor should they…. Should we define stuff? I love your writing because it has made my life sweeter, it has drawn me back into healthy living and I don’t think anyone can sum up a life or a writing practice in a one phrase brand. Rock on

    [Reply]

  • Stephanie

    You know, it’s funny, but when I started to read this post I thought, “She has her mission in her tagline (to make life sweeter),” but your revision is lovely! Take care!

    [Reply]

  • http://thechocolatefigsf.com Sarah

    I realize, only now, that I’ve known all along. I’ve always felt that silent urge, that pull in a certain direction. Only because I thought I “should be” doing things or pursuing certain achievements have I deviated from what I already know. By trying too hard, doing what i thought was right, I made life more complicated for myself. Infinite thank-yous, Sarah.

    [Reply]

  • http://innerbeam.com Sarah Rose

    What a great post Sarah, I totally hear you on how amazing it feels to come back to centre, to that place where we know why we’re here & what we really need to be doing. I’ve just returned from a 4 day retreat feeling so much more clarity, from this space anything is possible. When we’re just doing and trying to push through it can cause so much pain and dis-ease. Thanks so much for sharing, it’s so funny isn’t it because as Stephanie pointed out you already had the words in you tagline- they just needed some expansion for your own clarity.

    [Reply]

  • Hanna

    I remember once when I was studying music production as part of a performance degree, our teacher brought in a whole lot of sayings, telling us each one came from a famous person in the music biz, and we were to try to work out who we thought they were. We spent about 40 minutes looking at all these contradictory quotes, and when time was up, we gave our responses – maybe 20 or 30 different people were named. It turned out that although some of the statements were rampantly contradictory, all of them had been uttered at some time by Brian Eno, the legendary producer, over the course of his long career. It really taught me a lot, this exercise, about the flexibility of creativity, about not nailing yourself to one set of ideals. No-one could say Brian Eno was a follower, or that he was not true to himself.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.janclifford.vemma.com Janet

    Hi Sarah
    Your life does “friggen matter” and you only have to read all the posts here to realise that. The discussions that you start give a forum for other people to comment and reach out and help other people. I love the eclectic nature of your blog, the health stuff and the life stuff. You do a great job. I don’t know if you ever really find out why you are here, my philosophy on life is to do the best I can at whatever I do and to make a difference in my corner of the world whenever I can.

    [Reply]

  • Mim

    Sarah! I love this..
    2 things that came to me when I was reading this
    – the blog you wrote about Oprah Winfrey when she came to Australia, and how she told the audience to ‘live life on purpose’.. that short phrase completely resonates with me and has stuck in my head ever since! I often ask myself now whether I’m living on purpose as much as I could/would like to. I think it possibly sums up what you wrote in blue :) although I do like the way you wrote it! ;)
    – thinking about purpose as I read on I started humming the tune to a song called purpose! :) it’s from Avenue Q, you should check it out if you haven’t heard it – it’s awesome!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mATf3SAqj30
    Cheers for your words once again. Love it :)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.mikewilde.com mike wilde

    Amen !!

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  • pip

    Sarah – I love your blog and have been reading it from the start. It really resonates with me and this entry in particular felt like you were echoing my own truth. Perhaps we humans are all seekers of a better way to ‘be’ and you have the gift of being able to express that search. On the other hand, what I love about you (because, of course, I feel like I know you personally!) is the tireless nature of your search irregardless of set-backs and through tough circumstances. Not everyone has your strength of spirit. It takes courage, energy, and a childlike ability to see the new opportunity in each fresh moment. You inspire me to keep going, keep seeking, even when melancholy and self pity threaten to overwhelm. No idea how to put that into one concise vision statement but THANK YOU!! xxx

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  • http://www.mindfulstrategies.com.au Christine Maingard

    Thank you Sarah for this so very insightful post. When you say “I don’t think we can think – or do – ourselves clear anymore. We can only FEEL ourselves clear…” you say it all!

    Warm regards, Christine
    Author of “Think Less, Be More” – http://www.thinklessbemore.com

    [Reply]

  • http://www.producetothepeopletasmania.com.au penelope

    This book is pretty amazing “Make a Name for Yourself. 8 steps every woman needs to create a personal brand strategy for success” by Robin Fisher Roffer. Highly recommend it for helping get clear on what your message is.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.illuminateyoga.com.au Amanda

    Sarah.
    Just read this. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I LOVE you, your work, what you stand for. You MATTER girlfriend. xx

    [Reply]

  • http://mymezzaluna.com Edwina

    I struggled with this also for the longest time. I think the reason we all have problems with this is also because we compare ourselves with others and their blogs. I decided to simply stop. I don’t have a large following….and I am ok with that. However, I do want to do something that matters to me and make a difference. To make a difference you have to touch people’s lives. How the hell do you do that? I think maybe it’s just about being yourself. I find it really difficult to expose myself to the world and at the same time it feels ridiculous that you actually have to do that to get noticed. Sometimes it’s all just too much….still, even after making peace.

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