If you had to summarize "who you are" in one sentence, what would you say? Someone introduced me to this concept used by Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Drive. So I asked students to do this as an exercise and the results were interesting. I think most people struggled with this and I found it challenging myself.
At first, I said: "She is light-hearted." And my college roommate is about the only person who would understand this story. Then I thought: "She likes teaching, but is passionate about learning." And I kept thinking about this task. What is my sentence? "She wants to make people happy." But parts of life are not happy because life has highs and lows. Learning to be compassionate and empathetic are important skills in navigating life. Happiness can be shallow when we are being "real."
An exercise such as this makes us think about our purpose.
Why do we exist?
What is important to us?
We can use the sentence as a mission statement to guide us as we make decisions. As someone said to me years ago, "When someone asks you to do something, don't check your calendar–but check your goals." For most of us, the goal is not to be busy.
Are we spending our time in ways that really matter to us?