This blog post is Part 12 in a 14-part blog series on discovering and living your mission. (If you missed the previous posts, you can find Part 1 here.) In this blog post, we will discuss another exercise that can help you discover and clarify your mission and expertise: explore your stories of accomplishment.
In a previous blog post, we talked about exploring your stories of brokenness. I think these stories are important because they can help fuel and motivate your purpose. In this blog post, we are going to look at the other side of the coin—exploring your stories of accomplishment. Stories of accomplishment are important because they can help you identify your expertise.
Sometimes the process of identifying stories of accomplishment can be difficult. We might not have gotten affirmed enough growing up for the things we did well. Maybe love and affirmation were conditional—we were loved and affirmed only if we performed or met a certain standard. So there might be some mixed feelings around our accomplishments.
Still, identifying and exploring stories of accomplishments can be helpful in order to identify and develop your expertise, so I encourage you to give this exercise a try.
Think back on your childhood. We are looking for stories of accomplishment—things you did that were fun, and you were happy with the outcome. Try to think about something that had both—it was fun, and you also did it well. What comes to mind?
Sit with the experience for a bit. What was the accomplishment? What did you do? What about the accomplishment was satisfying to you? What was fun about what you did? Again, sit with the experience for a moment. Get in touch with your feelings. What are you feeling right now? Sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, tender?
Now take some time and think about the skills that it took to make that accomplishment happen. What was it about you that was necessary to accomplish what you did? Write down at least one skill that you had that helped make the accomplishment happen. For example:
Finally, create an affirmation from the accomplishment story. An affirmation is a statement that is true about yourself, based in the accomplishment story. For example:
- “I am creative.”
- “I am smart.”
- “I have what it takes.”
- “I am spontaneous.”
If you have the time, you might want to repeat this exercise again, identifying stories of accomplishments for different time periods of your life:
- Middle school to High school
- College or Young adult
- A more recent accomplishment
Take some time and reflect on your experiences with this exercise. What comes up for you? Can you see a connection between your stories of accomplishment and your expertise? How might what you discovered here inform your “how?”