“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~Eric Hoffer
People get up every day and go to work. They do their assigned tasks, collect their pay, and head on home. Tomorrow, they will do the same. For most folks, this is just a routine that keeps food on the table.
But for an elite few, something else is driving them. They look to make a difference by what they do, and they choose what they do based on what will have an impact. They may, at times, forgo pay to make this happen, although making it happen may actually result in very great financial reward.
What we have here is the difference between having a job and having a mission.
Why Have a Mission?
A mission spares you from expending yourself all over the place just doing things. It focuses you on BEING. You are moved to take on inspired action in support of your mission, and you stop wasting your time, effort, and resources on anything that doesn’t. It stops all the confusion and frustration.
When your mission is big and clear, you have staying power and don’t feel compelled to give up easily. You don’t have to make it on mere willpower because the mission is compelling to you.
Your mission makes for a compelling story for others, too. People are drawn to you because of what they see in you, and that connection makes it feel right to work with you.
Is a Mission of My Own Really Necessary?
You may be wondering if you really need a mission. After all, you may just want to have a job that takes care of you and your family or to do a little good in the world.
You may already be associated with an organization. You may be thinking that they have a mission and that it should be good enough for you.
But without a vision of your own, something happens along the way. You feel unfocused and undirected. You find yourself doing, doing, doing, but nothing ever seems to get done. Things aren’t closing or opening.
You may have chosen to work in a particular organization because you found their mission compelling. Their mission inspired you, and you wanted to be a part of it. You are even happy to share their mission with others.
But it’s not yours.
So ask yourself these questions:
What do I want to do that is big?
What do I want to do for my community?
What do I want to do in this world?
What is it that really gets me going?
What is it that wakes me up early on Monday morning?
There is no getting around answering these questions if you want to touch a lot of lives and make a big impact. You need something bigger than yourself.
Your mission is like a prerequisite since it comes before everything else that you intend to create.
What Exactly Is a Mission?
A mission boils down to this: what is it that you want to do that is bigger than yourself? What makes another person want to engage with you? Even more importantly, what makes you happy to serve others?
The answers to these questions provides you with focus and clarity. They make everything flow: every conversation, every opportunity, and every connection.
You get to discover who you really are.
People lose their own way when they just buy into someone else’s mission or even an organization’s mission. What ends up happening is that they promote that “other” mission and then forget how or even if it connects to them.
Getting a Mission of Your Very Own
Okay, we have established the importance of having a big mission. So how do you get one?
There are four steps. Each is important, and they must be approached in order. Follow this blueprint and you can build a big mission that will energize you and inspire others.
The first step is to give birth to your DREAM. Your dream keeps you connected emotionally.
Once you have a dream, you can now funnel your passion or DRIVE into it. Drive keeps it alive.
Once your dream is energized, it needs structure. A dream without structure is just a fantasy, but a dream with structure is your VISION. This is where you apply the laws of physics, economics, and human nature to your dream to turn it into something real.
Finally, you need a means to bring your vision to the world. That means is your VEHICLE. The vehicle might be something as organized as a business or as organic as a movement.
When you bring together DREAM, DRIVE, VISION, and VEHICLE, you have a mission.
Make It Big
Your mission may not be as big as world peace or the end of poverty. But whatever it is, it will be big for you. How big it feels is how you will determine whether or not it is worthy of you.
Starting a community garden may be big for you. Running for president may be big for you. It is yours to choose.
This is not the time to hold back. A mission will be larger than you. That is one of its best characteristics. Make it something you are proud to be associated with. Honor your big mission and it will honor you.