One of the questions I get most at my seminars or when I am speaking is “What is the difference between a goal and a mission statement?” This is a very good question. In my upcoming book we address both. Goals and a mission statement are tools that can help you live an amazing life in a lot shorter time than you may expect. Which one is more important and how do they differ? Those are the two questions that we will address here today. I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book, Living the Dream, for deeper reading.
To begin, let us look at how goals and mission statements are different. In the simplest of terms, goals define what we are going to accomplish and a mission statement defines who we are. By this definition you may be tempted to think that a mission statement is more important. The truth is goals and mission statements work synergistically. In my book I suggest developing a well thought out mission statement. You could do so using the tool above or many of the great tools online. When you have a great idea of who you wish to become, what you need to become can be broken down into smaller goals. Thus, the mission statement can generate some great goals. Once again, if you would like more information about mission statements or how they will help you pick up my soon-to-be-released book, Living the Dream.
If you were to approach this from the other directions and start crafting goals, you can certainly use those goals to discover who you are trying to become and what direction you are heading. By doing so you can craft a mission statement. Personally I find this way a bit more complicated, but you may enjoy it.
Having a mission statement and goals will really propel you to the life you deserve to have and both should be a part of everyone’s plan of success. One important thing to note is that both goals and mission statements can, and will change and evolve as you do. Knowing this, the most important thing to do is get started. I would love to hear examples of your mission statements and goals you are currently working on. I will leave you the example of my mission statement below. I look forward to reading yours.
“To become someone who helps all individuals reduce stress, increase joy and become the best versions of themselves.”
Ok, this is not a blog about being self-employed, but I do suggest to everyone they start their own business either full-time or on the side. That being said we are not discussing that today. Yesterday we discussed how developing your own mission statement can be a quick tool to assist you in maintaining focus and direction in your life amidst a sometimes chaotic world. Companies and organizations do this everyday. It helps them decide if the actions they are taking and the words they are saying fit who they want to be. That’s great but you are not a corporation. You do not have shareholders, a research and development team, a budget and bottom line to adjust right? Not so fast. Looking at our lives as a business has some real, logical advantages. First we must decide we are the president and CEO of our own lives. The control and ultimately the decisions fall to us and we should not leave them to the mercy of other interested parties. Think of one of the most successful companies you can come up with. How long do you think that company would last if it tried to cater to every outside interest? That being said, companies have to coexist with others in the business world and the same is true between individuals. Each person, whether they choose to view it like this is in charge of their own company. A negative interaction with another company (a spouse perhaps) could negatively affect our bottom line. Therefore although the decisions are made by us, we must be careful to make them while taking into account the considerations of others. Now what about those shareholders? Family, friends, and coworkers are shareholders in our companies. Obviously the closer we are to people and the more frequent our interaction with them the more shares they hold. For example if you choose to spend a night on the town it may compromise your ability to attend the fun festivities at your place of employment the following morning. That affects your boss who has a fair amount a shares invested in your life. Anger that shareholder to often and he may give up his investment in your company. That could cause some major problems. Therefore we must consider major shareholders when making our decisions. Companies, wisely or not, place a great deal of focus on the bottom line. This does seem to make sense as a company who is putting out more than it is taking in can find itself on the short track to ruin. This applies to our lives in more ways than just the family budget although that may be a good place to begin. The bottom line can incorporate a lot of other things. Time with family, joy, charity, free time and countless other things we place value on. Now each company will define their bottom line in their own way. The integrity of a company can also do a lot to determine its success. View your mission statement. Is one of the items in your mission statement to bring joy to others, but you find yourself speaking negatively about people behind their backs? In this case your company, and your life could be in some serious trouble. If the press, we will call them the people in your life, get wind of this you may develop a reputation that you do desire and is hard to shake. This model can be expanded on and could fill a book with ideas, but for today we will end it with this. Grab your mission statement, decide who the main shareholders in your life are. How much are you doing to keep them invested in your corporation? How is your bottom line looking? When we view things this way we can often be a little more honest with ourselves and make decisions that may be hard to do when we are to emotionally attached to the situation.
We ended last week talking about goals. Hopefully by now you have developed a set of goals you hope to attain in the coming year. Even though we have shown how important these goals are and how much benefit they can bring to your life there still exists one problem. Time. Now truly taking 5 minutes twice a day to review your goals and cement them in your mind should not be that great of a challenge. Especially considering the great benefits you stand to gain. Today we live in a nanosecond world. If an internet page takes more than ten seconds to download to your phone something must be wrong. So to review a list of several items several times a day just is too much to ask most people. In some ways this sounds crazy to me considering I know what a difference it can make. Still the point of this blog and my mission in life is to help the most people change their lives for the better. So taking the modern person into consideration how can one stay focused and give their life direction without taking time to review goals. First, let me make it clear and am saying you should give up on the practice of reviewing your goals. Try to incorporate it into your life as often as you can. Still if we can get some of the same results and make it as simple as remembering a single idea or theme wouldn’t that streamline the focusing process?
How many of you have heard of a mission statement? They are pretty popular with companies and organizations in the corporate world. The main purpose of a mission statement is to define a direction and ethical standard for companies to follow. That way they can easily decide if they or any situation they find themselves in meets their standards. Sound familiar? It is the same thing we have been discussing on an individual basis. Viewing your life as a corporation where you are the president and CEO has great value. that is a subject we will approach tomorrow. Keeping that in the back of your mind begin to think of what would make a good mission statement for the company that is your life? What is your life’s main purpose? Are there any standards you must not violate? What are you passionate about? There is a great website that can assist you in crafting your own mission statement nightingale.com is a site full of self-improvement products you can purchase. Still one impressive thing they have available free on their website is a tool allowing you to write your own mission statement. After you do so you will have one emotionally charged, positive and descriptive statement for the purpose of your life. This statement can be amended throughout your life, but it provides you a great tool to decide if you and any situation in your life is meeting your standards and purpose for being on this amazing planet. I highly suggest beginning to view your life as your own company and do so by crafting your own mission statement. We will examine the benefits of this tomorrow.