The story goes that journalist Clare Booth Luce once asked President John F Kennedy what his one sentence was, that a “great man is a sentence”. Concerned that Kennedy was more “a paragraph” than a sentence, Booth (one of the first females to serve in Congress) was making a point that he needed to focus. Daniel Pink, in his latest book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” uses this exercise to implore readers to figure out what really motivates them.
By asking “What’s Your Sentence?” you are putting your goals into clearer focus. You are shedding the hundreds of things you want to be and defining what matters. Pink offers up famous examples to this answer, such as Abe Lincoln’s one sentence being “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.”
This is a question you can apply not only to your personal goals and self-definition, but to how you define your brand, a campaign goal, a resolution for next year. That’s right: resolution, not resolutions. As we enter the quieter days of the year, when we are hopefully taking a break from the office and spending more time with family and friends, it might be a good and challenging question to ponder. So, what’s your sentence? There’s no right or wrong answer, but how you answer it can change the way you work, think and communicate in 2013 and beyond.