When you work with as many leaders as I have over the course of my career, certain unique characteristics start to surface. As I have written about over the course of this summer, some leaders are curious and others are addicted to learning. Some have found a place of “sanctuary” and go there often. Others routinely count their blessings and keep expanding their circle of support. But there is one unique thread that ties many of these elements all together. These leaders never lose sight of their personal mission.
In the 1980’s, very few, if any one, ever talked about a personal mission. People went on mission trips, but there was not much happening in the world of leadership and organizational change around the power and importance of mission clarity.
Then, in the early 1990’s, Stephen R. Covey wrote the book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and all of a sudden everyone was thinking about mission statements. This book by Covey was followed by another book by him called Principal Centered Leadership. Between the two, the subject of mission clarity rose to the top of the pile and everyone was talking about them and writing them. Many leaders created them for their organization and for themselves. It was an exciting and engaging process. Everyone was pumped.
However, by the late nineties and through the turn of the century, this subject started to fall by the wayside. It was not hip, trendy or a best-seller subject matter. Some organizations still worked on upgrading their statements and focused on making people sure all involved understood the mission of the organization. It was just something they did.
And through the tumultuous challenges of 2008, this steady and focused ground work paid off. People stayed focused on what was most important and maintained perspective. Their mission clarity became a strategic advantage. It continues to be as we all move toward 2020.
But, in the midst of it, the best leaders did something else. They became more purpose driven at work and at home. They did not do the exercise of creating a personal mission statement just to say they did it. Instead, they put the time and energy into creating a mission statement that then has guided them through all the ups and downs at work, their career and their own inner journey. It became their compass in making decisions and the foundation upon which they have built their life.
This week, step away from the piles of work, voice mail messages, text messages, e-mail messages, and endless projects. Sit down in a quiet space, and ask yourself an important set of questions:
- What is my personal mission in life?
- What is the purpose that drives me to make the choices I make?
- What is the foundation upon which I have built my life?
And once you have achieved a degree of clarity about all of this, do not loose sight of it. Then, you will be walking the pathway to a purpose driven life at work and at home. Happy reflection and writing time this week!