Staying on Plan: Holiday Jetpak

Staying on plan during the holidays can be challenging. Yet, seriously, what is our vision of the holiday season - our motivation - and how are we aligning our actions to make what's in it for us happen? Here's a way to create a create a wonderful holiday experience and launch into the new year by developing a holiday plan that reflects what we value.

A carefully crafted vision and mission statement enables accord about what needs to be done and how, as well as what needs to be released because it impedes the outcome.

Like the starlings and the two girls in the Vimeo video link listed below, I strongly suggest that you do not skimp on the steps or push anyone to abandon something that he or she may feel strongly about if you want a powerful outcome for your holiday experience. Or, make your values come to life by how you go about this exercise. This exercise may set an effective tone for your entire holiday season and new year if you let it.

Start by openly sharing what you value about the holiday season using 2-3 word descriptors that include action-oriented verbs on a large piece of paper or a white board. Freely write down everything that each person suggests.

Then each person should select the top 5 descriptors that literally sing to them about his or her perfect holiday.

The first round of consensus is reached by picking the top 5 descriptors that have the most votes.

The next step is opening the floor for 1-2 minute monologues about why a person feels strongly that a value is not in the top 5. If you are the one speaking, be certain to give examples of your reasoning that the group can relate to.

The second round of consensus is reached by everyone casting a second vote.

If there are still values that people feel strongly should be included in the top five, another round of monologues and voting can occur. The point is to continue this process until everyone feels that the top 5 values represent him or her and the group.

Once final consensus is reached, then it is time to write the vision statement. The vision statement should be simple. The starlings passionately dream of warmer weather each fall to increase their comfort and survival. Who is involved? What is the shared passionate dream? What is the time frame? Why does the group value it? What is the desired outcome? Remember that values should be driven by action-oriented and less subjective verbs. We dream of a happy holiday this season to increase our family spirit throughout the winter is a start. Yet, ask yourself what happiness and family spirit means, and so on. Be specific.

After you have your vision statement, which is what you want, then it is time to build your mission statement. The mission statement is the how or container of what you want and should demonstrate the verbs in the vision statement. For example, in the case of the starlings, the mission statement should demonstrate passionate dreaming in actionable steps or tasks. Put differently, how you are going to get what you want. Building your mission statement should be easier than the vision statement, as it should be almost equationlike, if you did the work with the vision statement. So, the mission of [the individuals involved] [time frame] is to [action verb and description] [how often] from [when to when] by [action-verb(s) and description(s) of action] to [where or what] [in what manner] until [what occurs].

To understand how the exercise works in general, here's an example. Be sure to watch this video first to better ground the exercise: Murmuration of the Starlings at


The starlings passionately dream of warmer weather each fall to increase their comfort and survival.


So, the mission of individual starlings every fall is to migrate daily from dawn to dusk by flying hundreds of miles in entrainment as a murmuration with 4-6 hour recovery periods until reaching warm climates.

To give you an example of another vision and mission statement, I'll share with you that of our family's this holiday.


The Benninghovens of Alki passionately envision abundant merriment and inexpensive outdoor activities from 24 November to 6 January to increase our time together and create a unified platform for 2012 that enables us to comfortably travel to Switzerland in the spring and visit more of our family. (Our values for this vision statement are family merriment, being outdoors, community involvement, saving money, and travel.)


The mission of the Benninghovens of Alki this holiday season is to save at least $1,500 while we excitedly join in abundant local festivals and activities as often as possible from 24 November to 6 January by doing a person-per-person-gift exchange, attending community-center and local events, and using the local Nordic trails to snow shoe and cross country ski followed by staying overnight at friend's cabins at least 4 times throughout the season.

Deone Benninghoven, MSM, CPC uses a pragmatic approach to business and life. She is known as The Be-Clear Gal and is a sought after coach, speaker, consultant, and author. Benninghoven's work facilitates the performance development of individuals, teams, and organizations using a strength-based and systemic approach. Her clients consistently indicate that Benninghoven's approach to change management is practical, useful, and sustainable. Audiences leave her Be-Clear keynotes with academically-sound and evidence-based information shared in a fun and easy-to-understand and apply format. Benninghoven has 20 years of experience in the field of behavioral and change management. Please contact her for more support at

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