How to Create a Liberation-Based Livelihood

How to Create a Liberation-Based Livelihood

on Mar 27, 2012 in Livelihood+Financial Liberation | 5 comments

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons:

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons:

Knowing what you want is only half the journey—
knowing what’s driving you is the half that will get you there.

~ Danielle LaPorte


In my last post, I shared some of my story and how it illustrates what I call “liberation-based livelihood.” I defined this as one in which you consistently return to your core intention and see how what you are doing for work is in some way an expression of that intention.

So how do you find your core intention? How can you discern your passion and purpose on the planet? One fun way to do this is by identifying one or two qualities that make up the very core of who you are, and then use those to create your own mission statement. Because having a personal mission statement is such an important part of so many dimensions of a liberated life – including livelihood – how to create one is the focus of today’s post.

Let’s begin with this simple exercise. Look at the list of verbs below. As you look at each word, say it aloud and allow a full minute to absorb how much you resonate with that particular quality. Then write a number next to that word, using a rating scale of 1 to 5. If you feel nothing at all about the word, give it a 1. If you’re ready to jump out of your chair because you feel so in tune with that quality, give it a 5.

  • Bridging
  • Brightening
  • Communicating
  • Connecting
  • Creating
  • Discovering
  • Embracing
  • Encouraging
  • Giving
  • Healing
  • Integrating
  • Leading
  • Learning
  • Loving
  • Organizing
  • Relating
  • Remembering
  • Restoring
  • Teaching

And you may find there are some powerful verbs not included on this list that you want to add. Go for it!

Now look at your numbers – every word that you’ve rated with a 4 or 5 should make it into your mission statement. As I shared in my story from last week, my key words are “discovering” and “connecting.” These words describe both what makes me feel most alive as well as how I am here to serve others. I am at my best when I embody discovery and connection and when I am helping other people to discover and connect.

These words can become the foundation of your personal mission statement. You can go deeper into this exercise and play with this “Mission Statement Builder” on the Franklin Covey website – you’ll be guided through a series of 10 questions and at the end it will generate your personal mission statement.

Once you’ve come up with your mission statement, consider how much your current work situation allows you to experience these qualities. If your answer is a resounding “yes,” you’re on the right path and have successfully created liberation-based livelihood. If it’s not so clear how your work is related to your mission statement, it’s likely that you may be feeling in a rut or in need of a change. If there is no presence of it, you’re probably feeling burned out.

I really love what Pamela Slim says in this post about having a “deep commitment to a cause or problem that is bigger than any job title or profession or business.” That is exactly what a personal mission statement is meant to help you do. Pam offers two examples of women who got clear on their life mission and then translated it into inspiring work. One defined her purpose to strengthen the bond between parents and children; the other is making the world more accessible to more people.

See what magic you can do in your life once you get clear on your mission – I think you’ll be amazed.

Next: Three Pathways to Liberation-Based Livelihood


Want to learn more about Liberation-based Livelihood? You might just love my “Fall in Love with Your Work” e-course where we go into much more depth to help you find your core intention and then build a livelihood based on it. Find out more here.


  1. My family and I are reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People right now and the second habit involves creating a mission statement. I noticed your post on Facebook or something the other day and added “read Maia’s post about personal mission statements” to my to-do list, followed by “do Franklin Covey exercise on personal mission statement.” How affirming that you mentioned that here.

    My 4s and 5s, by the way, are:

    Communicating 5
    Connecting 4
    Discovering 5
    Embracing 5
    Encouraging 4
    Leading 4

    I’m a little worried I have too many!!

    Miss Britt

    April 2, 2012

    • Hey Britt and Shelly,

      Yes, I think some of us “Renaissance Women” (and men) can easily find ourselves with excessive verbs floating around! Another way you might try thinking about this is what kinds of activities would be hardest for you to have absent in your life? In other words, if you were given the choice between going the rest of your life without being able to ‘discover’ new things or ’embrace’ people/experiences, which would you miss the most? What can you absolutely not live without? That might help narrow it down a wee bit : )

      Maia Duerr

      April 2, 2012

  2. Maia, this is a great exercise, but I resonate with too many of the verbs! Getting to the very heart of my purpose has always been challenging for me. So many things are exciting and compelling – for a while. I am grateful to be closing in on this, but I have far to go.

    Even without a crystal clear core intention, all through life I’ve checked to see whether my work is in alignment with who I am and who I want to be in the world. It’s broader, but it’s a starting place. It gave me enough clarity to know I had to start my own business 14 years ago.

    Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to more in the series, and to talking next week!

    Shelly Immel

    March 31, 2012

  3. Maia,

    I’ve been reflecting a lot on my “core intention” this past week. I am at a crossroads and this series of articles is helping me ruminate more clearly on my true purpose and how to manifest that. I loved this exercise of working with verbs. It’s quite telling! Thank you.

    • So glad this series of posts has been helpful to you, Sandra. I look forward to learning where your crossroads takes you.

      Maia Duerr

      April 2, 2012


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