Why I Wrote A Personal Mission Statement And You Should, Too

All successful organizations have a mission statement.  It gives teams direction and purpose.  When life happens and the business gets thrown off course, a mission statement helps teams get back on track.  It also helps them decide what “opportunities” not to tackle and any existing business areas that don’t fit.

Growing up, my mom told me to run my life like a business.  As a child, I didn’t fully understand what she meant by that beyond being serious about life.  Now as a bigger child, I better understand.  In short, live with intention. Set goals and go for them.

Okay, got it, mom!  I’m tracking!

Until a couple of years ago or so though, I was missing a key ingredient to leading myself well. The personal mission statement.

Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I had listened to people speak about having personal mission statements, and I thought it was a little corny back then.

Then I got smarter because I began surrounding myself with really successful people. And I started reading blogs and books they recommended and discovered a personal mission statement and a clear sense of purpose were fueling these people to success. Well, I want to be successful, and if successful people do this, I should too!  This isn’t hard folks.

It was corny no more.  I had to have one.  After a lot of thinking, prayer and listening to God, mine became clear.

To advance others through personal-growth education

If you know me well enough, perhaps some things about me just became clear.

Ever wonder why my wife and I lead a personal finances course?

Ever wonder why I choose to write about the stuff I do on this blog?

Ever wonder why I blab on and on about pretty much anything related to personal growth?

It’s because it’s my purpose, my higher calling.  And I’m a bit fanatical about my mission, and I want it to succeed!  So, why not give it structure and direction through a mission statement?  Successful businesses do!  It’s key.

If you believe your calling is to raise the best children on the face of the planet, write it down!  Then, align your goals to support it.

If you believe your purpose is to start a nonprofit that benefits starving people somewhere, write it down, and build your life around it.

For me, the stakes are too high to not have written mine down.  Since my purpose is about helping people, something God has told me to do, the stakes are too high to just idly go about it.

While I love it, it’s too hard, and life has and will continue to present obstacles that will pull me off purpose.  My personal mission statement, however, will always be there to remind me of what God has asked me to do in the kingdom.

So I challenge you to develop your own personal mission statement.  If you don’t know where to start, I’ll write about it soon.

Question: How do you think a personal mission statement could benefit your life?

5 ways living on purpose benefits your life

I graduated high school as mediatarian.  No that doesn’t mean I subsisted on finely aged books and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince cassettes (Summertime!). It means I was really good at being mediocre.  So good, in fact, it’s worthy of a name.  Mediatarian it is.

Back then, living centered around all things social.  That all changed in college though when I got involved in student activities and assumed leadership positions.  I then began devoting more of my life to living for other students, trying to make their college experience better.  From throwing big events to being their primary representative with school administration, I was living with more of a purpose.

While doing this, I met professor and motivational speaker, Joe Martin.  Joe changed my life.

To this day, he speaks all around the nation about living with purpose.  When I first heard Joe speak, I was blown away.  The idea of finding my calling and pursuing a career that aligned with it was incredibly powerful to me.  So, we brought Joe to the college to speak.  I had the honor of introducing him.  I was like a proud dad.  I did my thing and then Joe did his.  He knocked it out of the park.  I mean he killed it.  I wonder if anyone’s life was changed that day?

More than a decade has now passed.  A lot has happened to me related to living on purpose, which over time I’ll write about here, but for now, here’s what living on purpose has done for me and what I believe it can also do for you.

1. Provides direction

Living on purpose gives us direction, no matter what.  Let’s face it, life happens.  From laziness to tragedy to temptation, there are so many things that can derail the purpose train.  If you believe you’re living purposefully, don’t trick yourself into believing you always will.  Again, life happens, but purpose-driven life always give us a home to return to where we can re-center ourselves and get moving again.

2. Accomplish more

Even living with a calling takes work.  After all, we’re human.  We get distracted, lazy, negatively influenced or a litany of other things that pull us away from our God-given calling, however, when we’re cranking on purpose, we accomplish a lot.  I’ve found that when working to achieve a higher calling, we get more disciplined in all areas of life, which then begin to build upon one another.  Financial begins to feed social which feeds spiritual which feeds family and so on.  At that point, we create near-unstoppable life momentum.

3. Builds confidence

People feed off productivity, especially when it’s something we value or feel is important.  When life stops happening to you and you start happening to life, the natural by-product is increased confidence.

4. Keeps you energized

We all know people who just seem down in dumps constantly.  Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh books pretty much sums up this person. Perhaps you are them.  On the other end of the spectrum are the Tiggers of the world.  Sure, there are plenty of happy, bouncy people who aren’t living on purpose, but people who do are energized all the time.  They’re positive, optimistic and hopeful.  Even introverts who are living purposefully are Tiggers on the inside.

5. Helps you fight when life happens

As I said above, life happens, even to the best of us.  Life happened to Jesus.  Life happened to his disciples.  Life will happen to you, too, if it hasn’t already.  One of the greatest pleasures of living is sharing the world with spectacular people who bring amazement and wonder to our lives.  It feels great when we’re trucking along, living out our calling, helping people and then a parent gets Alzheimer’s disease.  Cancer strikes your spouse.  Your best friend gets killed in a car accident.  Worst of all, a child dies.

Life happens.  When it does, you need more than Saturday morning golf with your friends or book club or running or even the confines of church to help strengthen you.  Living on purpose gives you fight because it gives you hope, even when you’re so far down you question whether your purpose is even real.

Question: Are you living on purpose? How has living this way benefited your life?

How to Take our Country Back

This post was written by Luke Stokes and originally was a note he posted on Facebook on Nov. 26, 2009.  He later published it on his blog. I read it recently, and found it still very relevant.
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I’ve heard a lot of people say we need to vote them all home. That’s true, but will that really change anything? What about the lobbyists, the Washington machine, the attitude? Republicans, Democrats, what’s the difference these days?

There’s a better idea. Let’s put them out of business.

Here’s how: the church needs to get back to being the church. True religion is about caring for orphans and widows. Conservatives across the nation are yelling about how the liberals are destroying our country with their socialist agenda, but what if the liberals are just trying to do a job we’ve been ignoring? Churches used to build orphanages, hospitals and universities. They used to take care of those in our society that couldn’t take care of themselves. When did that become the government’s business?

I think we can do better.

If each and every believing American will step up to the plate and be the children of God we’re called to be, we can change this nation. If there are people in our neighborhoods turning to the government for health care, why don’t we help them? If there are people in our city turning to food stamps and welfare, why don’t we help them? The help we can give, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will truly change lives, not just cover the symptoms. We can start businesses, create jobs, provide healing and education. We can make a difference.

The next time you get angry about where this country is going, the next time you yell at the nightly news or your radio, think about what you can do to take back these jobs from the government. According to Barna and Viola (authors of Pagan Christianity) 50 to 85% of the $50 to $60 billion in annual giving goes to church overhead. Talk to your friends and your pastor and change that statistic. If your church isn’t doing the job of the church, go find one that is or start a new one with a couple of friends in your home. If that’s too challenging, think of it this way: if Jesus were to come back today, would He hang out at your church? If the answer is no, why are you there?

Be the church. Take the jobs we’re responsible for back from the government. If we do this and vote for leaders who will actually live up to the oath they take to protect our Constitution, we can take this country back. It won’t be easy and we probably won’t see the full results in our lifetime, but what other options do we have?

The Difference Between Profitable and Unprofitable Entrepreneurs

This post was written by Eric Speir, and originally appeared on his blog at www.ericspeir.com. Eric is a pastor, life coach and an educator who uses biblical principles, coaching, practical wisdom and encouragement to help others thrive.  Also, he is the assistant director to the Georgia School of Leadership & Ministry.  Eric is a regular commenter on www.chrislocurto.com, where he and I first e-met.

Eric Speir

Do you ever wonder what is the key ingredient for successful entrepreneurs? Have you ever asked yourself the reason why some people are successful in business and in life and others are not?

We could list many key traits but there is one trait that every successful entrepreneur or leader has. The writer of the book of Proverbs spells it out for us in Proverbs 14:23, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

The biggest difference between successful entrepreneurs and leaders and those who are not is taking action. Many people have great ideas and theories but they never act on them. They never take action on what they know to do.

Entrepreneurs know that working hard on a good idea will eventually produce a profit. Talking without the accompanying action will produce poverty. In other words, lazy people produce nothing!

What would happen if we started taking action on our thoughts or ideas? What have you been thinking about lately that if you took action on it would change someone’s life or yours? What if you took one baby step toward your dream?

Question: What could you do now to take an immediate step toward a goal or idea?

The #1 reason servant leadership is the best way

If you work, you have a boss. However, not everyone has a leader. As John Maxwell said, a leader is anyone who has influence.  Taking it a step further, leadership is the ability to influence people to voluntarily follow.  In the work place, leaders need teams who will not only follow but happily follow for a long time.

This is why I’m a total believer in servant leadership. Servant leaders are all about the long haul.  They invest in their teams.  They understand their primary job is to serve their team members so they can flourish, and as a result the organization will flourish and last.  Servant leadership is the only way to achieve this.

Why am I so declarative about this? Jesus led this way.

In John chapter 13, Jesus modeled servant leadership by washing his disciples’ feet. Now, I’m not advocating you should plop down next to a co-worker this week with a bucket of hot water, a loufa and some liquid soap.  You may get kicked by the foot you planned to scrub, but I am advocating following Jesus’ lead here.

I’m not the first person, of course, to use this as an example of servant leadership. It’s quite a popular story to use.  That said, the full context is often left out, which makes it that much more compelling of a leadership example.

In short, the story was this.  Jesus knew he would be betrayed by one of his followers, and as a result, he would die. Therefore, as the Bible says in John 13:1, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love,” and in John 13:5, “After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Did you get that?  He washed the feet of the follower who would betray him, which would lead to His death, as a final way to express His love. Wow. Besides being the son of God and being a better miracle worker than Miracle Max in The Princess Bride, is there any doubt why these men followed him?

Later in the story, Jesus said in John 13:13-15, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

In other words, we should model Jesus’ humble behavior by serving one another this way. Is it any surprise the best teams are made up of people who have each other’s back and gladly help one another?  You don’t hear, “That’s not my job” out these teams. Members of high-performing teams “wash one another’s feet.”

Long after Jesus died, was resurrected and later descended into heaven, Jesus’ team – his disciples – persisted in spreading Jesus’ word until their very brutal deaths. No one made them do it. They could have simply dissolved into the world. But, rather, they voluntarily took up Jesus’ cause and made it their own.  This could have only been done as a result of a leader who loved their followers and served them well.

Question: Have you witnessed a good example of servant leadership?

The breakthrough

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. Proverbs 9:9

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 15:31

Mark stood up to hug Ruth.  They, along with Samuel, had talked for nearly 2 hours.

“So, you’re going to talk to Sarah tonight, right?” Ruth asked.

“Yes I am,” Mark replied.

“Good,” she said. Ruth placed her hands on Mark’s shoulders, smiled and nodded her head in approval.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, boss,” she said before collecting her things and leaving.

Samuel was still sitting. He’d re-commenced spinning his beer bottle.  He was looking up at Mark, waiting on Mark to say something.

“Well, I didn’t see that coming,” Mark said, letting out a small laugh.  “You could have said something, Sam.”

“We had no choice,” Samuel replied.  “You wouldn’t have done it otherwise.”

“Yes, I would have,” Mark said.

“Really?” Samuel said, raising his arm and pointing at “Old George.”  “You honestly think you would have stayed?”

Mark inhaled as to respond but no words came out.  He just stood there staring at the painting again, only this time he was on the other side of a conversation he’d successfully avoided for a long time.

“You honestly think you would have stayed?” Samuel repeated.

“No,” Mark said somberly. “No, I wouldn’t have.”

Samuel nodded his head and smiled, feeling this was the breakthrough Mark needed to begin putting his marriage back together.  Samuel remembers when Mark and Sarah were the happiest couple he knew.  While Samuel loved owning a business with Mark, it pained him to see his friend suffer, and at the same time, do nothing about it.

Today he felt rejoiced.  Today, he felt like he’d truly earned his keep as a business partner, and the funniest thing about that is the cause had nothing to do with the bank but everything to do with the business.

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As was discussed in “The Talk,” it is impossible to separate your personal and professional lives, as your life is a whole.  Marital issues, debt or whatever the problem, it knows no boundaries.  Leaders must get to know their team members well enough so they can recognize when a member is suffering and then lend a helping hand.  As you just read, while fiction, this is real life in the business place. 

Could you do what Ruth and Samuel did?

Mark showed, while stubborn, he is a righteous man, as Proverbs 9:9 mentions.  At the same time, he’s served himself well by surrounding himself with wise people like Samuel and Ruth, as Proverbs 15:31 says.

Did you take any lessons away from this?

 

The Red Folder

He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34

Like every weekday at 8 a.m. sharp, Adam arrived at the office with a tall cup of Starbucks coffee in his right hand and a black, leather bag over his right shoulder.

Arriving at his desk, he placed the bag on the floor to the right of his chair.  His coffee went to the left of his keyboard.

After checking his email for anything urgent, he checked Sarah’s calendar, wrote a daily to-do list and then checked her voice messages. He was a routinist.  He never deviated.   However, unbeknownst to him, things would be different this morning.

Bag positioned and coffee in place, he opened his email.  As usual, there were plenty to go through.  Scanning from top to bottom for emails sent over the weekend, he came to one from Sarah sent unusually early today.  The subject line was “HOT: Need you to handle ASAP!”

“Oh, boy.  Here we go,” he said.  “What’s this gonna be?”

He selected it.  It opened on the right side of the screen.

Need you to get red folder off my desk and meet me in front of the building.  Will drive up at 8:30 to get it and head to a meeting.  Thanks!

By this point, it was already 8:25.  He jumped to his feet, turned to the left, took 3 big strides to her office door, turned the handle, and through open the door.

“Surprise!” the entire team shouted simultaneously. Adam nearly tripped and fell he was so startled.

“Come over here,” Sarah said, grinning ear to ear.

Sarah placed her arm around his shoulders.  “Adam, it’s no secret to anyone here that I’d be a wreck without you as my assistant.  You are without a doubt the most beloved person on our team.”

“Thank you,” he said.  “That’s very nice, but you…”

“No, no,” Sarah interjected.  “Just let me do this.”

“Now where was I?” she said.

“You were about to say something really awesome about me,” Adam replied.

Everyone laughed.  “Oh, yes,” she said.  “Adam, to be blunt about it, I owe so much success to you.  For that matter, all of us owe so much to you for our success as a growing company.  Every day…”

Sarah began to cry.  “Every day, you do so much for me, and for the past month I’ve treated you so badly.”

Adam’s eyes began to water.

“I wanted everyone to be here today to celebrate you and hear my apology for the past month.  Regardless of what’s going on in life, no one deserves to be treated that way and I’m sorry.”

Adam turned and hugged Sarah.

“Thank you,” she said.  “Thank you for being you.”

———-

The Bible says be humble and you will receive grace.

Could you do what Sarah just did?