Home Page
ABout Susan
Bosswoman Newsletters
Speaking Schedule
About Coaching
Business Woman
Professor Destressor
BossWoman ENews
Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
September 2002

My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

Self-care during the week of September 11.

September 11, 2001 will always be remembered as a tragic and an important day in the history of our country and the world and the one year commemorations are needed and appropriate. One year anniversaries of losses often bring a process to a close, a process of extending the loss by living each season of the year in its shadows.

However, be in touch with your own needs to re-experience the events of last year and to experience whatever healing you need at this time. Our media will be offering many opportunities in articles and shows that take every angle imaginable from interviews with survivors to book reviews of the over 150 books written on the tragedy and its implications. Chose your own pace wisely by deciding in advance what you really need.

  • Consider whether you need immersion or short exposures to the media information.
  • Plan something that is not media related - like attendance at a service at a place of worship.
  • If you have children, review for them some key comforting themes such as the statistical improbability of this tragedy. Limit their exposure to the media.
  • Take some private time to reflect, journal, pray, or share with friends how last year's shocking news has affected you personally.
  • Engage in random acts of kindness to bring more positive feelings into the world.
Making that Back-to-School Feeling Work for You.

Do you get that back-to-school feeling when the school buses start to roll? Does it seem like "so many goals, such little time?" From taking a course to starting a home decorating project, you have much you want to do this fall.

Before you let your enthusiasm outstrip you calendar, pause to build a strong base for your fall commitments. Here is a process for developing your personal or business goals that will keep you from feeling overwhelmed while making the aspects of your life feel more seamless.

The Pyramid Process for Evaluating Commitments

Picture a solid pyramid, the strongest structure possible. Draw four horizontal segments across the pyramid labeling the bottom strip, purpose, the next one above it, mission, the next one vision, and the next goals. Most of us make our to-do lists from those immediately urgent tasks calling to us from our inboxes. Building your pyramid from the base upwards will make your time management decisions clearer, easier, and more integrated.

Start with a statement of purpose, a short phrase, comprehensive enough to encompass all that you do and inspiring enough to motivate you to keep doing it. A purpose statement answers some form of the cosmic question:

  • Why am I here?
  • Why was I born?
  • What do I do?
  • Why was I sent here?
  • At my best, what am I about?
  • What phrase could be my epitaph?
  • What are people who know me most likely to say about me?
Some examples of purpose statements I have collected from students and clients:
  • I bring good things to you.
  • I am here to manifest God's love.
  • I add joy and peace to the world.
  • I live my faith.
If these statements sound very big, they should. A purpose statement does not usually change in a lifetime - or changes only in its language but not much in its concept. I first wrote my first one while on retreat at aged 12. My vocabulary is more sophisticated today but the concept of my purpose still remains true.

Mission - How I Do My Purpose

The next level up of your pyramid is your mission statement, a longer statement that describes how you do what you do. It changes more frequently than the purpose statement. It will be more clear and action oriented than your purpose statement. The best formula for writing a mission statement was developed by Laura Beth Jones in her excellent little book, The Path. Here are her steps:

  1. Write down three action words (verbs) that you are good at.
  2. Write three to eight values that are important to you.
  3. Write two groups of people that you do what you do for/with/to.
You may wish to try this exercise twice, once for a personal mission statement and once for a statement describing you in your ideal work (not necessarily your current work). Completing the exercise takes some mulling and thinking time but once you have done it you will have learned an exercise that will produce new mission statements for the rest of your life. Here is the formula to fill in:

I __________, __________, and ____________(verbs)
for/to/with__________ and ________(people)
who want ___________, _____________, and ___________(values).

Later you will smooth the formulaic statement into something compact that expresses who you are at your very best. For example, my current work mission statement is:

I educate, inspire, and entertain clients and audiences who want more ease, harmony, love, and fun in their lives.

It took me a while to nail that down. I never would have come up with those three verbs - well, I would have come up with "educate" part but never the "inspire and entertain" part. Those words have too much ego for me. How I arrived at them was to reread course evaluations and client exit interviews. Those verbs came from the people I served; they saw something in me I couldn't dare verbalize.

Now that you have your mission, those fall commitment decisions will become easier if you follow these tips:

  • Do goals that are described by your mission and lead to your vision. Examine everything on your to-do lists to make sure they fit.
  • Avoid activities that don't fit your mission or if you love the activities you must rewrite your mission statements to include the activities.
  • Learn to say "no" to all that doesn't fit. Be firm, polite, and skip the explanations. If you have a hard time breaking that habit say, "That's not part of my mission." I guarantee no one will try to argue with that one.
Vision and Goals

The next level of your pyramid will contain your vision statement. Your vision statement or statements (personal and work) describe what will happen in, say, five years if you keep doing your mission. It is a visual reminder of what the world will get if you live your mission. It could be:

  • A list of statements stated in the present tense of what is happening as a result of your living out that mission.
  • A poem or a song to describe the results.
  • A collage of picture clipped to represent aspects of your vision.
The top level of your pyramid, your goals and your daily to-do lists, will become very easy to write with this firm foundation. They make your purpose, vision, and mission come alive and become real.

This same process is the start of strategic planning for any organization such as your business. People who are organized, left brain types like the structural clarity of the pyramid approach. Next month, we will explore a more right brain, creative approach to making your dreams come true.

With the big picture and little pictures in place, back to school has never been easier.


Jones, Laura Beth. (1996). The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life. N.Y.: Hyperion.

Happy Fall,
Susan Robison

BossWoman coaching topics include

  • work-life balance,
  • career transitions,
  • building your business or practice,
  • time management,
  • increasing productivity.
Up and coming workshops
From Susan Robison

Title: Not Just a Job: Helping Clients Achieve Work-Life Balance Through Meaning, Mastery, & Mindfulness
When: November 8, 2002; 1-4pm
Where: University of Pennsylvania Center for Continuing Education in Psychological and Community Services; Philadelphia, PA
What & Who: Designed for counselors who want to help clients with work related stress.
Fee: TBA
How: Preregister with Dr. Jeanne Stanley at 215-898-4171.

From Susan Robison & Pat Macomber

Title: Living Peacefully in an Anxious World: Stress Management for Busy Women
When: November 18, 2002 5:45-7:30
Where: TBA; somewhere in Baltimore, MD area
What: Stress management workshop.
Sponsored by: Executive Women's Network
Fee: free, but please preregister with Susan at 410-465-5892.

Subscribe to BossWoman e-Newsletter by sending an email with in the Subject to: susan@bosswoman.org

BossWomen e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

Copyright 2002 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

3725 Font Hill Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Office: (410) 465-5892
Fax: (410) 465-5967

Home |  About Susan |  Programs |  Newsletters
Speaking Schedule |  About Coaching |  Clients
Business Woman of the Year
email: Susan@BossWoman.org
Copyright © 2024