By Barbara McRae
Most individual or corporate mission statements contain industry
buzzwords, are so complex that no one can recite them and do
nothing to inspire. The more elaborate it is, the less likely it is
understood and remembered. Having a clear and concise mission
statement for yourself and your company becomes your guiding
compass as you journey through life.
1. Your mission is larger than a job.
Ideally your job will align with your mission. For example, you could
be employed as a teacher while your mission is education. To limit
your personality and unique abilities to such boundaries causes a
profound loss of identity when your job or career changes. The
average person can expect to have seven employment changes in
2. Your mission is much more than your role.
We all have various roles we fulfill: spouse, parent, manager,
friend. In our culture, men tend to define themselves by what
they do professionally. Often, women define themselves by their
roles or relationships. Linking your role to your mission places you
in a vulnerable position because your role is likely to change—most
notably through death or divorce. Who were you before your
3. Your mission is not your To-Do List.
As Stephen Covey so masterfully points out in First Things First,
there is a huge distinction between what is important and what is
urgent. Most people fill their to-do lists with activities which
appear to require immediate attention. When writing your mission
statement, contemplate the big picture and focus on your core
values. Develop your mission first, then list corresponding goals.
Otherwise, you can be very busy following a to-do list without
creating anything worthwhile.
4. You are already living your mission on some level.
Living your mission may not require massive changes. You can
begin right where you are now. Increase your awareness daily of
what's really important to you. What do you want to be known
for? Increased focus allows you to receive, recognize and fully
integrate your mission.
5. You are born with a purpose.
Everyone's life is important enough to warrant a mission. In the
classic movie: It's a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart portrays a
suicidal businessman who experiences what the lives of his friends
and loved ones would be like WITHOUT him. Mostly, we don't have
this overview or the understanding of how interconnected we are.
Every thought we have, word we speak and action we take
affects the entire universe.
6. Your mission may not appear to be grand.
You don't have to be another Mother Theresa or significantly
contribute to the Gross National Product. You've heard the saying:
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the
horse was lost; for want of a horse, the battle was lost. The
blacksmith responsible for Paul Revere's horse's feet indirectly
helped lead a nation to freedom. Positively affect one life and you
can be considered successful.
7. Your mission is a perfect fit for you.
Your mission is not something you loathe doing. Years ago, I
feared God would want me to be a missionary living in a grass hut,
and I wanted to postpone this event as long as possible. It was
irrational. Think of this: what CEO in his/her right mind would have
the sales team switch to accounting? When you are living your
mission, you experience pure joy. It is not hard and does not
involve suffering. Rather, it resonates with the essence of who
you are 100%: at work, at home, at a party and alone. Accept a
mission that fits you, not the needs or expectations of others.
8. Your mission is not the same as that of your peers.
While crafting your mission statement, temporarily disassociate
yourself from your peers. We are often influenced by and take as
our own the values and goals of those in our network, thus
inhibiting self-discovery. This distancing will allow you to
concentrate on what is important and unique to you.
9. Your mission is your true heart's desire.
You may be in a career that parallels your dream. I'd like to have a
dollar for every magazine editor, advertising copywriter or reporter
whose real dream is to be a full-time novelist. Go for the REAL
THING. Ask yourself: Is this the highest thing I could do in my life?
10. Your mission inspires you to take action.
Great leaders can state their mission succinctly. Nelson Mandela's
mission was to end apartheid; Mother Theresa 's mission was to
show compassion to the dying. If you don't feel passionate about
your mission, it isn't your mission. Choose action verbs that are
meaningful to you. For example, my mission is to breathe, ignite
and magnify personal power. Join the 1% of the people in the
world who have a clear sense of who they are and where they are
Your First Mission Statement
To start building your very first Mission Statement, you will need to answer three
questions: 1) Who is your target market? 2) What does your target market want and need? 3) How can you fulfill these wants and needs?
Tune Up Your Vision to Ignite Your Business
Even the most well-conceived, authentic visions can veer off
course or get lost on automatic pilot. When this happens, it can
be a signal to tune up your business vision. Refining and
building our "vision-sense" is an often overlooked tool of
Business Plan Outline
outline of a typical business plan is given that can serve as a guide. You can adapt it to your specific business. Breaking down the plan into several components helps make drafting it a more manageable task.