What Is Your Mission Statement?

>> Monday, March 30, 2009

For a few years, I ran a book club website called The Reading Lounge, so I read several books about starting your own business. Although some of the information in those books varied widely, they all agreed on one thing: If you are going to run a business, you need to have a mission statement and a business plan.

I was thinking about those books the other day in connection to my blog (which I am thinking of expanding into some workshops), and I had the thought, "Why do businesses have a mission statement, but not people?"

A mission statement describes the purpose of a business by defining their overall goals. When the owners of that business have crucial decisions to make, they can refer to their mission statement to help them decide which path to take, where to focus their efforts, and how to invest their money.

Wouldn't individuals benefit from a mission statement in the same way that businesses do?

Without a mission statement, we move through life on autopilot, making decisions based on habit and ease. With a mission statement, we focus our time, money, and efforts on the things that matter to us.

For example, in The Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyzyn relates that when she and her husband got married, they decided they wanted a big family and an old farmhouse in the country with an attached barn. With this long term goal in mind, their frugality never felt like a sacrifice because they knew every penny saved brought them closer to their dreams.

Other examples:

If your mission statement includes having a close, happy family, you will spend your time with your family, rather than putting in extra hours at work.

If your mission statement includes owning your own house, you will put your money into savings rather than spending it on plasma TVs, iPhones, and designer shoes.

If your mission statement includes having a successful business, you will focus your energy on building your business and growing your networks, rather than lounging in front of the TV.

Part of the advice for businesses to create a mission statement is that they clearly define it and write it down. I can think of many situations where I might have made a different choice if I had clearly defined and written down my mission statement.

So my mission is:

  • To raise three kind, creative, intelligent, and happy boys who care for humanity, love God, and have a connection to the earth.
  • To live a sustainable life, including having a "green" home and a bountiful garden. Bees, chickens, solar panels, passive solar design, and within walking distance from entertainment would be pluses.
  • To have a career I enjoy.
The last statement is pretty vague, I know. I'm still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. But hopefully, the other two statements will help me and my husband as we make decisions in the future.

What is your mission statement?

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