THE IMPORTANCE OF A MISSION STATEMENT
“THE MISSION STATEMENT MADE SIMPLE”
The Beatles, like any other band didn’t happen over night. They played some of the filthiest dives In Hamburg as well as the ever so celebrated “Cavern Club”. In other words, yes they were drawing an audience, but so was the guy with who juggled hatchets. It really wasn’t until the Beatles had a manager that they became the “Fab Four”. Why? Because they hired someone that had a vision. Fortunately his vision wasn’t filling his pockets with their money. He had a Mission Statement.
What is this “Intimidating” word? It’s not that hard to understand, but it’s one of the most important concepts for any carbon based life form. It helps you define your goals in life. It’s your career compass or GPS. The life spectrum is like the light spectrum. On the right side of the spectrum you have a Mission Statement driven life. On the left; You have: “Maybe I’ll win the lottery this week”.
I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. But I do wonder what life would be like if we had a clue as to what happens after you’re “grave yard dead”. The French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “We are not Human beings trying to have a spiritual experience; but Spiritual being having a human experience”. How would you live your life if you knew you only had 6 months to live?
The truth is, you don’t know if you’re going to see the sunrise tomorrow.
A mission statement is something that guides individuals, companies, organizations and its’ branches or any entity that stands for something and wants to achieve it. A mission statement is your purpose in life or business or your family. A mission statement for a company such as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel would be something of the nature of: “We will provide our guests with every possible comfort affordable to make their stay as pleasant as possible”. (I just made that up)
Everything you do MUST pertain to your mission statement. (This includes sleep, the food you eat, the vocabulary you use, everything) I’m not saying that everything you do has to be a major achievement towards your mission, but if you are striving to be a supermodel, avoiding a bag of chips has its’ place, just as choosing the right publicist.
THE LOST AND FOUND
Without a mission statement (written or not) you have no direction. You’re like a boat being tossed in the ocean without a rudder, sails or chart. Without direction, you are lost. Some organizations take the mission statement so seriously that they have mission statements for each employee’s position. One mission statement for all employees at the Hilton Hotel is “never point. Always escort“. The problem is; without a mission statement, you truly lose direction. If you are an individual that wants to become the CEO of Warner Brothers, you can’t just say “I’d like to be” or “I’ll work my way towards it” . BE SPECIFIC!
HOW A MISSION STATEMENT WORKS
A mission statement means that the single most important essence of your existence is to move towards becoming the CEO of Warner Brothers. If your’s is “I will become the CEO of Warner Brothers”. Then you have direction. You know where Warner Brothers is. You know What their Stock is worth. You know what they do. You know who the current CEO is and when he’s going to be replaced. But if you don’t know what company you want to become the CEO of, or if you don’t know if you want to be a CEO or a CFO, then you don’t have a mission statement.
Most people in life fall into the vast majority of those that don’t know what they want from life. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walden”; “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”. They don’t have a mission statement if even a clue of what they want to do in this life. Children are forced at the age of 17 to decide what their mission statements will be. They wonder what they will do when they leave the school system. Should I follow in my father’s footsteps? Should I find out who my father is? Should I be a doctor? Do I want a job to be rich? Do I want to do good for mankind? Am I going to sell computers or drugs? 17 is just too young of an age to make these decisions for some. I know many professionals that chose a field just to keep up with the expectations of their piers or parents. Only to find themselves unhappy and seeking what they truly were meant to do. On the other hand, the great German scientist, “Werner Von Braun” pretty much knew at the age of 8 that he wanted to build rockets and was attracted to astronomy.
When I was interviewed for a newspaper article the person interviewing me on the phone asked me about my philosophy on life. I told her that you needed to “find your voice” or that passion that gets you out of bed in the morning. It’s that one thing that you do that seems “timeless” when you do it. She soon confided in me that she was a former “registered nurse” that always wanted to be a writer. I knew a very talented “Plastic Surgeon” that had an important practice fixing scars on burn patients. I asked him what he enjoyed doing in his spare time. He responded, “My sculpting”. I was prepared to hear the usual response of “listen to music”, or “go hiking” etc… But he was passionate about sculpting. So much as to say that he wished he could afford to give up his practice to be a full time sculpture.
We all know deep inside that we have a special talent. This talent should become a purpose for your life. Without it, you are just 1.37 cents worth of chemicals waiting to die. I urge you to write down what your passion is. What would get you out of bed at 4 in the morning voluntarily to start work on? Write it down, then start researching the steps involved in accomplishing it. How many years of college, or what city you would have to move to? Then weigh the sacrifices versus the accomplishment. Most of us are frightened of the sacrifice.
But if it came easy, would you appreciate it?
The hardest part is finding what gets you out of bed when you would rather sleep in.
Identify the opportunities that “Thing” offers. What’s the highest position you can achieve? THINK BIG!
Develop a plan, (School, practice, managers, demographics etc…) and think long term. What will the VCR market be like in 10 years? (What’s this DVD crap)? Once you know where you want to be, it’s like plotting directions from L.A. to Chicago on route 66.