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Doesn’t Feel Like Work: 15 Signs You Are Doing What You Love

Doesn’t Feel Like Work: 15 Signs You Are Doing What You Love

Doing what you love looks and feels an awful lot like, well, being in love!

1. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

You’re working on your project, and you think of a solution to a particular client’s problem, so you jot it down. And then you stumble across a really cool article that you just have to share with your social network. And then you get a call from a client who needs a quick consult. And then you think, “Oh, I should call this person and wish them a happy birthday.” While you’re talking to them, you think of other people that your work would help and ways to tell them about it, and you jot those down. And oh, yeah, your stomach is growling, you really should eat. And now, oops, time to pick the kids up from school already, and you totally forgot to walk the poor dog or update your website!

Why, oh why, aren’t there about five of you?

2. You bound out of bed, full of energy and eager to get the day started.

You rush through the “have tos”—exercising, eating, brushing your teeth, all of the other bodily maintenance stuff we all gotta do—so that you can dive in.

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3. You can’t wait to finish what you’re doing so you can start the next project.

While working on your current project, your creativity is in overdrive, coming up with new schemes and products—each one so much more exciting than the last!—that you have to force yourself to finish what you’re working on before starting the next one.

4. You are an idea-generating machine.

You wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, your head spinning with new ideas. You begin keeping a notebook or a voice memo recorder next to your bed, because you know you won’t be able to get to sleep again until you write these ideas down.

5. When you’re working, time flies.

You start working at 9 a.m., and when you look at your watch again, it’s after 2! (Oh, crap, missed that lunch date with the girlfriend, and she’s gonna be pissed).

6. You work like your hair is on fire.

You’ve been eating nothing but rice for the last five days because you can’t be bothered to go to the grocery store, and you find yourself turning your underwear inside-out and wearing them again because doing laundry means you would have to take a break from working, and who has the time?

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7. You have to resist the urge to tell everybody in the world what you’re doing.

When people ask you, “How are you doing?”, you have to bite your tongue to keep from talking their ear off about your latest project, even though, deep down, you really don’t care what they think. But you want to keep a FEW friends!

8. Your income starts increasing.

You started out doing this for free, or for a few dollars an hour, but before you knew it, you started getting calls from clients who wanted to pay you $50, $100, $500, $1000 a project—and you weren’t even looking!

9. Your health gets better.

Those stubborn pounds you’ve been trying to lose for the last 20 years just start melting off without your doing anything different. Your energy is through the roof—but wait, did you even drink any coffee this morning? Your psoriasis or acne clears up, and you can’t remember the last time you had a migraine. You go to the doctor, and he takes you off of your blood pressure medication and antidepressants because you no longer need them.

10. Good things start happening to you.

Suddenly, clients start lining up outside your door, or you get a big promotion or pay raise at work. Attractive, eligible men or women start showing up in your experience, or your partner starts wanting more sex. Your car, which is usually fussy about starting in the morning, mysteriously starts firing right up.

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11. New, positive people start showing up in your life.

The person sitting at the next table next to yours in the cafe spontaneously starts talking to you, and pretty soon you’re chatting as though you had known each other your whole life. Or someone you haven’t heard from in years gives you a call out of the blue, and to your delight, they are even more awesome than you remember them!

12. Suddenly, everywhere you look, you see more and more things related to what you love.

You’re cruising down the highway, and suddenly you notice billboards advertising products or services like yours, and you appreciate their clever marketing tactics. Or everybody starts posting videos and pictures about your favorite topic on Facebook. Or you see something that you need for your business marked down 50%.

13. People start treating you like an expert.

You’re going about your day, dum-de-dum, and suddenly someone emerges from the woodwork and tells you about a problem that they have that you can solve. The thing is, you’ve never seen this person before in your life!

Creepy? Nah. Meet your next client!

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14. You wish everybody could feel like this.

You want to shake everyone and say, “Look! Look! Look at how cool everything is! You can do this, too! Why are you choosing to stay so miserable?”

15. At the end of the day, you fall into bed, exhausted and deeply satisfied.

As you lie in bed, you review your day and remember the things that made your client happy, the smile you put on someone’s face, or the kick-ass article you wrote, and know that you have done the best job you ever have in your whole life. And tomorrow, it’s gonna be even better.

How many of these things have YOU experienced?

Featured photo credit: Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing / Richard Foster via flickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

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.

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:[1]

“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:[2]

“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.

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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%.

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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.

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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.

Strategic Planning

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.

Measuring Performance

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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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