I'm On A Mission

This past week, I spent two and a half days participating in the Corporate Athlete Program at The Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida. While I was there, I had my body fat measured in a BodPod, practiced interval training, learned how to use a Polar Heart monitor, found my target heart rate zone and reflected on my personal focus and mission.

In a world in which we are daily forced to make decisions that lead us either closer or further from our goals, no tool is as valuable in hewing to our direction as a mission statement. It is a clear, succinct and focused statement of purpose. A carefully thought out mission statement acts as both a harness and a sword—harnessing you to what is true about your life, and cutting away all that is false. A mission statement is, in essence, a written down reason for being—whether for a person or for a company. There are three simple elements to a good mission statement:

I. A mission statement should be no more than a single sentence long.

II. It should be easily understood by a ten year old.

III. It should be able to be recited by memory at gunpoint.

An ultimate mission is the single greatest driver of engagement. Knowing your mission as you see it in the present is central to successful navigation and course correction. Here are a few examples:

“My ultimate mission is to be an authentic, positive role model at work.”

“To have greater impact in the next 50 years than I did in the first half of my life.”

“My mission is to be an extraordinary CEO who motivates others to achieve their goals.”

“To live in such a way that I create hope in others.”

“My mission is to be more fully engaged with my three children regardless of the demands of my travel schedule.”

“To explore and experience the world in the spirit of adventure and a genuine sense of gratitude.”

“My mission is to excel as a business leader who demonstrates empathy, unfailing conviction to my values and positive energy.”

Ben and Jerry’s has a three-part mission statement which has inspired their company since 1978:

Product mission: To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.

Economic mission: To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.

Social mission: To operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.

When the whole picture is put together, the guiding principles that Ben & Jerry’s mission statement reflects is a respect for nature, helping one another and being good neighbors. Their mission statements set the tone for all employees which creates a positive, socially conscientious environment.

How can you create your own? Questions to ask yourself to help you discover your ultimate mission:

1. Begin with the end in mind. What legacy do I want to leave behind? How do I want to be remembered?

2. How do I want people to describe me?

3. Who do I want to be?

4. Who/what matters most to me?

5. What are my deepest values?

6. What is my definition of success?

7. What makes my life really worth living?

So, take some time today to think about your vision. As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going you’ll end up some place else.”