With the help of my weekly men’s group, I have recently refined my life’s mission statement. It is –
“I create a world that is unified, free, and curious by speaking my truth, exploring new opportunities, and leading by example.”
If you’re anything like me, you may have read that statement and thought, “holy big mission Batman, how the hell do you hope to achieve that!?” By design, a well-crafted mission is intended to be big, bold, and beautiful. And to answer your question, unless I discover a mutant power or become enlightened, it’s highly unlikely my gravestone will one day have the words, “grand planet unifier” chiseled into it.
What then is the point of having a mission? For me, it’s a guidepost. As we all work to find that elusive happiness, my mission has been crafted to point me in the direction where I believe I am most happy. I am most happy when I am doing things that are in line with my values. Like most people, I am most happy when I’m engaged in a good FUC.
“Did you just say FUC?”
“FUC all day and FUC all night!”
Sorry, I couldn’t help it. No, not that FUC*. FUC as in Freedom, Unity and Curiosity. These are the things I value above all. When I’m free from what I deem to be unnecessary rules or authority figures, I’m happy. When I’m united with my family or co-workers, I’m happy. When I’m letting my curiosity run wild as I read a book on the future of humanity, I’m happy. Overall, when I find myself engaged in activities that include aspects of that with which I value, there is a higher likelihood that I will be happy while doing said activity.
On the contrary, when I feel boxed-in, separated, or intellectually stifled, this is when I find myself more likely to experience pangs of sadness or depression. It’s a relatively easy equation:
Do What I Value > Things Opposed to My Values = HAPPINESS
While this an extremely simplistic view of happiness, is it that far from the truth?
Assuming I appropriately selected the three characteristics I value above all else, I then got to work developing a mission statement that gave my values action. Action to help, do, and contribute. Thus, my mission statement was created with the intention to provide what I value (Freedom, Unity and Curiosity) to others.
Looking at my statement a little more closely while taking a page out of mission writing 101, the WHAT portion of my mission is: “I create a world that is unified, free, and curious”. The HOW portion is: “by speaking my truth, exploring new opportunities, and leading by example.” The WHERE and WHEN is: here, now, and for the rest of my life. The WHY for me is: without a mission in life, how do I know if I am heading in the “right” direction?
While this is a brief summary as to how I went about developing my values and mission, the work to do so was not exactly easy. I found it difficult to simplify what it is that makes me happy and the values were identified through the help of a trained facilitator. Regarding the development of my mission statement, I went through a 1 hour long exercise designed to help craft a mission statement and then I had support from my men’s group to complete the task.
This is not to say you need facilitators or a men’s group to develop values or a mission statement to help guide your days. For me, the support was necessary as it pulled me away from my daily habits and routines and got me to focus on this incredibly valuable work. Prior to developing a catchy value acronym (FUC) and my mission statement, I felt as though there was little to be gained by these exercises and my time was better spent writing emails or working on business development for my company. After completing the tasks, I realized how backwards my thinking had been.
Is my life substantially better now that I have a mission statement written out on a sticky note, sitting next to my computer? No, it’s not. Most days, I barely even look at it. However, every once in a while, I’ll catch the neon green paper out of the corner of my eye and think, “is what I’m doing getting me any closer to achieving my mission?” The answer is usually FUC YEAH or FUC NO.
Author Bio: Dan started Fired and Free in 2017, to provide his “truth” after being fired as CEO of the company he started and led. After a diverse 17-year career in management consulting and entrepreneurship, Dan now leads 3Sixty Leadership, where he provides coaching and consulting to business owners with 5 to 500 employees, helping them to work “on” their business not “in” their business.