I don’t do all that much with my Twitter account. Yes, I do tweet most of my blog posts, but I’ve never taken the time to explore the platform, keep up with a running stream of “what’s out there,” or find my communication rhythm in 140 characters or less. But frugality of words – character conservation and parsimony in phrasing – can certainly have its advantages. The exercise requires incisive, keen, penetrative thinking, a deliberate “cutting to the chase.” Yesterday, for example, the site administrator for an on-line newsletter I resource asked me to “write a 2 sentence bio about yourself.” I have to admit the two-sentence bio request was a challenge; because there is so much that gets left out. Even a full-length book leaves things out. Abraham Lincoln, for example, has been the subject of not one, not several, but scores of biographical volumes. Yet there is still more that could be written. So I looked around. You can find Derek Maul bios all over the place; everywhere from newspaper articles, to my Amazon author page, to www.derekmaul.com, to the “about” section of this blog, to conference “faculty” write-ups, to the back cover of a recent book. They range from as much as 1,000 words to the following blurb from my twitter account profile (@derekmaul):
Derek Maul: Husband of an awesome wife, father of two exceptional children, caretaker of cool pets. Author, columnist, inspirational speaker, and pilgrim in progress.
- The first is the one we’re already considering: “Write a two-sentence bio about yourself.” (I’ll share what I came up with at the end of this post).
- The second is this: “In two sentences or less – or what would fit neatly onto an index card – write your personal mission statement.” (again, I’ll share mine later in this post).
The more I think about it, the more I believe the two are related. Because we have to understand who we are now before we can imagine and articulate a clear path into the future.
- My two-sentence bio ended up looking like this: “Author Derek Maul is a child of God, a blessed husband, a proud father, a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged Christian life.”
- My current personal mission statement is brief (I found it in a column I wrote last month for Wake Forest Today): “The mission I’ve been given is to speak encouragement, hope, faith, and inspiration into this fragmented, broken world.”
I’d like to challenge each one of us to answer both questions. Then write your carefully worded answers on an index card; the two-sentence bio on one side, and your personal mission statement on the other. Reference the card daily, preferably around the same time you do your daily devotions. I’d be interested to hear what some of you come up with. Peace, love, promise, and blessings – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.