I recently took an Medicinal Herbal Class at the Rodale Institute. It was wonderfully informative. They opened the class up with a 15 minute introduction to the farm and how it was started. Within the introduction, the presenter told us about the founder’s mission statement: “Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People”. The foundation, itself has its own mission statement: “Through organic leadership we improve the health and well-being of people and the planet”.
Everyone, every business, every club benefits from a mission statement. A mission statement allows you to measure your progress and stay on track. Schedule time every week or month to seriously think about your mission statement and whether your actions over the past week/month have stayed in line or strayed from it. This will give you deep perspective as to whether you are heading in the right direction or not. You can also re-write your mission statement to evolve as you do.
Why do you need a mission statement? It is a way to keep yourself focused and on track. A mission statement is more encompassing than a simple goal. Goals are hard and cold, a mission statement is flexible and hits more of your emotional side. A mission statement is not something you check off your list. It is something you constantly make sure you or your business aligns.
For example, J.I. Rodale’s mission statement tells us that whatever he does, he wants to work towards a healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people. So when he worked on any project, be it his own garden, an article, book, or publication, he knew the direction he was heading.
How do you make a mission statement? Take a life’s mission statement. Think about what you want to leave behind. Do you want to help restore soils by planting trees? If so, think wider than that. Why do you want to restore soils? For healthier foods? To stop degradation of the land? To promote diversity. The key is to be wide enough that you can grow with it, but not so wide that you can easily ignore it and justify yourself. You don’t want to become something you hate. A mission statement works to keep you true to you (or true to the business you are building).
I, personally, have three mission statements in my life. My first mission statement is very broad as it applies to my life, and my life is very broad. My mission is to: leave the world a better place than I found it. This is in the line of “No Trace” hiking. Where you pack out what you pack in, and take out at least one piece of garbage. Probably no one else will notice that the trail is just a little better, but if everyone adopted this attitude, you can imagine the change we would see in the world.
My second mission statement has to do with the most important undertaking in my life: parenthood. I actually didn’t realize I had a mission statement until I wrote this post. My mission as a parent: To raise a kind, truly happy person. Kindness is important to me, as I feel “being nice” sets one up to be taken advantage of, and also feels a little fake. Whereas, being kind seems more genuine and loving. It implies empathy, and respect. And truly happy. Not so that he has that instant gratification going from one hand out to the next, but so he can be happy when times are hard or when they are great. So he has resiliency, self-confidence. That he can go to bed at night, and examine his actions from his lifetime and smile knowing he is a good person, knowing that he is true to himself no matter what adversity that brings. That seven word mission statement sums up a lot for me. This has been the most personal thing I have ever written on here, but I think it serves a purpose, so that is why I share.
This brings me to my third and last mission statement. My mission statement for my blog, the site you are reading right now: To provide informative, entertaining and inspirational posts to help folks live a more simple and fulfilling life.
Hopefully I have done that, or will do that for you. That is my mission. That is why I write this blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read. What is your mission statement?