“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain
Getting crushed by the daily grind?
You are not alone. A recent Gallup poll showed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs. The scale of dissatisfaction is similar, and sometimes even greater, in every corner of the world.
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
– Bruce Lee
Dislike, disinterest, and hatred, like limits, spread into all aspects of our lives. But what sort of way is this to spend our precious existence?
It is no surprise that the top regrets of the dying involve such things as doing what we really want to do (rather than what society expects of us), finding our true passions, taking risks, and touching and inspiring other people’s lives.
One way to break out of the rut of an unrealized life is to learn from those who have realized their dream jobs and actualized their heartfelt goals. How did they succeed? By remembering and reminding themselves of these ever important tips.
1. You are responsible for your life
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
– Jim Rohn
Not your boss, not your co-workers, not your parents, not your friends, not your partner. No one else thinks your thoughts. No one else has your emotions. No one else has your ideas. No one else has your dreams. No one else has lived your life.Advertising
If circumstances aren’t ideal, then you are going to have to be the one to make the first change.
Action: Take stock of your situation.
Get a pen and paper and ask yourself the following questions; How do you feel about all aspects of your life? Don’t try to sugar coat anything; face the reality of the pain and write it down.
How do you feel about your working life? Your family life? Your social life?
This exercise will help you get clear on where the problems are, and what you don’t want to continue into the future.
2. You can make a change
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
– Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
If you are waiting for the right time, you may be waiting a long time! Making big changes can be intimidating, so why not start by making the best of the circumstances that you find yourself in? Start wiggling, and you will find that you have far more wiggle room where you are than you realize.
Action: Make a small change.
This could be anything from going to a different place for lunch, to joining that gym you were thinking about. Even the smallest change can remind you of your power to change conditions, as well as make life more enjoyable.
3. Face your fears
“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while, ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’”
– Seneca, Roman Statesman
Often we live on auto-pilot, unconsciously motivated by our latent background of primal fears like starvation, homelessness and abandonment. Fears that, in truth, are highly unlikely in our age of the world.
We are no longer living in small survivalist groups in the desert, but alongside millions of other people in the midst of industrial levels of production and social safety nets.
Action: Remember, what is the worst thing that could happen?
What are you afraid of? What is the nightmare scenario that you want to avoid? If you took a risk to follow your dreams and failed, what would happen?
Take the time to think about these worst possible outcomes and write them all down. Later, review them and work out what you would do in those hypothetical situations. You will be surprised how the energy of worry turns into the energy of resolution to overcome.
To first conquer fear, we must first define it.
4. Avoid distress, seek eustress
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
Lifestyle designer, angel investor and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Ferriss – of The 4-Hour Work Week fame – advises us to recognize the difference between distress and eustress.
Distress, is the kind of stress which brings us down, disempowers us, and makes us ill. Being abused, unappreciated, overworked; all that kind of stuff. Eustress, on the other hand, is to distress what euphoria is to dysphoria.
Eustress is constructive stress; the kind of stress an athlete encounters during training, a businessperson experiences during continuing education or a musician during performing. It is the stimulus necessary for vibrant growth.
Action: Discover where you are not getting enough eustress.Advertising
In what areas of your life are you not challenged? Or not growing through lack of action or experience?
5. Reconnect with your passion
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
What would you do, if you could get paid to do anything? Our passions are often muted, buried beneath of a lifetime of being told “what we must do” and of telling ourselves “what we must do”.
Those who have their dream job are invariably coming from a different place. What do I like to do? What skills do I want to use? What am I good at?
Action: Write down your dreams.
If you were guaranteed not to fail, what would you do with your life? Don’t worry about practicality, just write down the fantasy. Time, money and circumstances are no object.
6. Set goals
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
– Tony Robbins
One of the primary causes of drifting aimlessly is lack of just that; aim!
While refusal to set goals can offer a psychological crutch against failure, it equally provides a barrier against success. Want to visit Timbuktu? Get a ticket to Timbuktu. Want to achieve something? Set it as a goal!
Actions: Create a set of goals.Advertising
Look at your written list of dreams. Convert them into a “Be”, “Do” and “Have” manifesto. What would I like to have? Who would I like to be? What would I like to do?
They key here is that “having” is not the first point. Instead, “being” and “doing” come first. When we are being who we really are, and doing what we really want to do, the having comes naturally.
7. Time waits for no one
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
– Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee’s death at the young age of 32 underlines this point, as does his life of exceptional achievement. Thankfully for the world, Bruce Lee didn’t waist his potential, and we are all enriched because of this. The opportunities you have today may not always be available – so begin!
Don’t put it off ’till tomorrow. Take at least one concrete step towards one of your goals today.
8. Avoid Adult Onset ADD
“It’s time to have fun and let the rest follow.”
– Tim Ferriss
What is ADD? Adventure Deficit Disorder. Like hating your job, a disease that affects far too many adults today. But thankfully, it is curable! The prescription is simply to do more interesting and exciting things. After all, what motivates us to find our dream jobs but the things that they allow us to do?
Action: Have more fun!
The best way to avoid the backwards mentality of “I’ll grit my teeth and bear my job until I can afford to do cool things” is to actually start doing the cool things now. In this way, we can break out of the limpet survival mentality and reconnect with the passions that really drive us.Advertising
Pick anyone who has realized their dream jobs and ask if their path of success measures up to these eight points. Tony Robbins? Bruce Lee? Tim Ferriss? Oprah Winfrey? Steve Jobs? Even Confucius? If it works for them, it will surely work for you. Good luck!
Featured photo credit: www.flickr.com via flickr.com
Published on March 20, 2019
How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business
Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?
As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.
While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.
Table of Contents
What is a Mission Statement?
Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.
In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:
“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”
In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.
Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement
While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.
First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.
While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.
While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:
“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”
This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.
What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?
When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.
Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.
When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;
- What we do?
- How we do it?
- Whom do we do it for?
- What value are we bringing?
Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”
After all, that did check off all the boxes:
What we do? Provide widgets.
How we do it? Online.
Who do we do it for? The consumer.
What value we bring? The best widgets.
The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.
Compare that mission statement to this one:
“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”
What’s the difference?
Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.
Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.
You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.
A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.
Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement
1. Keep It Brief
Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.
You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.
2. Have a Purpose
A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.
Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”
3. Include a “How”
Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.
How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?
4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table
This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.
Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.
5. Make Sure It’s Plausible
It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.
Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.
6. Make It Unique and Distinctive
Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.
7. Think Long Term
A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.
8. Get Feedback
This is very important, especially from managers and employees.
Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.
9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary
You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.
First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.
And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.
For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.
The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?
It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.
First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.
If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.
A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.
By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.
Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.
Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees
Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.
As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.
Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.
To Hold Management Accountable
By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.
So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.
If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.
To Serve as an Example
This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.
After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.
Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.
Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.
Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”
Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?
That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.
By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?
More Resources About Achieving Business Success
- 20 All-Time Best Entrepreneur Books to Make Your Business Successful
- 20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples
- 5 Ways To Increase Your Productivity To Match Your Business Growth
- 5 Business Management Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know
Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com
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