What can a person accomplish without a mission? How will you know that you’ve accomplished __________?
That seems like a silly question, but in each of us, there’s something deep down—fundamental wiring—that reminds us that
• we are here for something,
• life is special and
• time shouldn’t be wasted.
For some, that manifests in helping others. Others want to build something or master a skill. It’s a universal condition that presents until/unless it’s conditioned out of us.
I’ve been guilty of The Good Decision Mission. It goes like this: I have a lot of opinions and things I like or don’t like, so if I keep making good decisions then eventually some good result will present itself and I’ll be ____________ (INSERT: happy, fulfilled, abundant, etc.). It also goes by the name Keeping My Options Open Mission because what if some better opportunity comes along? I wouldn’t want to miss out on that.
There are three reasons that we need to have a personal mission:
1. Decision Making / Closing Down Options. Experts estimate that we make approximately 35,000 decisions each day, but what should guide those decisions? With a clearly stated personal mission, it makes it easier to say no to things outside the mission and move toward better decisions.
2. Deliberate Practice. Malcolm Gladwell pointed out that Mozart—a brilliant musician in his day—would have been a middling Suzuki violinist today and that the last qualifier for the Boston Marathon this year would have been competitive in the Olympics in the early 1900s. When communicating my mission I am able to visualize characteristics that I need to accomplish the mission and begin deliberate practice (the thing that makes us so much better today than the best talents of years past).
3. Course Correction. In my early career in Real Estate, I had a great business plan. It was well thought out and defined. I asked Charlie Ackerman—a legend in the field—to go through it with me and give me some thoughts. I was proud of it and fully expected him to shine even more praise on my plan. We talked and eventually, he said something like, “Well, at least you’ll be going in some direction with some velocity and can make course corrections along the way.” He didn’t love my plan, but the visual of a stopped car in the parking lot furiously turning its wheels left and right stuck with me. When on the mission, I can change the mission, but only if I know what it is.
4. Going Together. There’s an African proverb that says: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. You’re going to come across a lot of people who on the Good Decision or Keeping Options Open Mission. If you can clearly state the mission you’re on, others who like it will adopt it as their own. It’s how movements start. And most people aren’t going to stop and be this introspective. You never know what kind of talent you’ll pick up just from the clarity of mission.
This is a journey. You may have one mission for your family and another for your business or spiritual development. The more focused you are, the better, but small change—just getting half a percent better a day leads to exponential growth and movement toward your goal.
And then, in those last days, you’ll know exactly what you accomplished and what you were placed here to do.