Monday, April 19, 2010

A Mission Statement: Who Needs One?

Finding purpose through a mission statement

The world is filled with exciting threads. Pull one here. Pull one there. The next thing you know, you’re tangled up in a mass of twisted threads with nothing to show. On the other hand, select the right thread, combine it with another good thread, and you create a beautiful sweater.

So how do you know which thread is the right thread? You follow the thread that fits your mission statement.

Here’s the problem. I launched a business without a mission statement. The term "mission statement" creeps me out. Too many mission statements are complicated trite. Besides my business is just me. Writing a mission statement seemed pretentious.

Now I have millions of shiny, exciting threads dangling in front of me, and I’m grabbing at them like a cat under the influence of catnip. Without at least an informal mission statement, I have no solid way to select the right thread.

While the term “mission statement” doesn’t work for me, I do appreciate the clarity of purpose that the concept brings. What I am seeking is the business equivalent of the philosophical questions “Who am I, and why am I here?” To develop a meaningful mission statement, you have to start with some serious soul searching.

  • Who am I? Who do I want to be?
  • What do I do? Why?
  • What thrills me? What drains me?
  • If I only finished one thing today, what would have the most meaning?
  • What should I pursue and what should I leave behind.
  • Does anyone care what I do? Why should they?
  • Can I do anything useful for them?
  • What is important to them?
  • Am I really different from other people doing the same thing?

This isn’t something you do in 5 minutes. I’m going through the process, and it is not an easy one. Fortunately, it is an enlightening one.

I’d love your help on this.

How do you select the right threads in life? What questions do you ask in your soul searching? Is there a better term than “mission statement?”

Please share your thoughts, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress!


  1. WOW Marie. You cut right to the chase and ask some excellent soul-searching questions. The answers will surely be enlightening. I think few people take the time to pose the question to themselves that you have posed to yourself. KUDOS!

    "Mission statement?" = "Journey's pathway? I think that the threads in life are constantly changing and the course constantly being renegotiated and recalculating. I don't really see a lot of difference for me whether it's a personal pathway or professional pathway, as I think they are so interconnected.


    I think maybe carving out a little bit of time every day to get quiet and listen to that "voice within" which is the source of personal wisdom and also knowing that whatever thread you select, it is the right thread for now,..... and that you have the ability to choose changing threads that no longer serve.

    At this stage of my life the most important thing to me seems to be "what makes me happy and how can I create more of this happiness in my life"? What pathway do I need to take to guide me there. I have found that what makes me happy is often the win/win situation of making other people happy, too, whether personal of professional.

    # <>

    Some will, some won't, but if you put yourself and your work "out there" I believe you will touch those lives you are meant to touch. It takes courage to do that.


    Yes, you ARE really different from other people doing the same thing! You are uniquely YOU and that will be reflected in everything you do, make; every interpersonal connection. I think the fact that you are even ASKING these questions makes you different (in a very positive way).

    Looking forward to seeing what answers you come up with that will work for you.

  2. Sorry, I didn't know this before I posted this, but every time I copied quote from your list and put it in << >> marks to answer it, the quote disappeared and it was left with just << >> when it posted. Don't know if it will make much sense reading this way without the actual quotes I was referring to. I can re-post for clarification if you need me to.

  3. Great post! I think we are both working on the same thing, but you are more organized. I like your ideas! Thank you! I think I need to walk my dog, GusGus, now. That usually helps clear my mind...some. It is difficult, though, when I feel like I'm going in 8 directions at once. Life needs to be less busy! :-)

  4. Thanks Deb and Anita! I have been doing some great soul searching, and I'll do a follow-up when things start to gel.


Ooh,a comment! How delightful.


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