Companies of all sizes often talk about mission and vision. They plaster it on brochures, hang it on signs in conference rooms and add it to PowerPoint decks. They give it lip service, but never incorporate it into their day-to-day practices.
Many sell their mission short, tying it to the bottom line and not realizing the depth and power it can bring to your organization. As a serial entrepreneur, I have fallen into this same trap.
A mission statement defines the purpose of the work you do and how you’ll get it done. It gives you the path forward. The best missions are not based on how much money you can generate or how many places you can put it, but on the impact of the why behind it. This is where you find the most inspired work.
Here are three steps to make sure your mission matters.
Hone Your Why
I constantly ask this question: what’s the reason you woke up and went to work this morning? The answer will give you insight into your why – or it will give you clarity into what’s missing.
Too often, I hear people answer “for the money.” How much money did we bring in this quarter? How much longer until I can buy that fancy sports car? But money is the result of your work, not the reason behind it.
To find your why, remember this: find meaning and passion in whatever you choose to do. It’s here your “why” begins.
My “why” is based on giving back without expectation. While I had founded and worked with dozens of companies over the years, my biggest dream was to create a company with the power to help millions of people. From there, Certified was born. We create fashionable streetwear that provides 100 meals to people in need for every product sold.
Bring the right people along for the ride
Once you’ve defined your why, it’s time to implement your mission and make it a reality. To do this, you need strong advisors and support by your side, both personally and professionally. After all, life is better when you share it with others and when you integrate multiple perspectives.
I surround myself with people who lift me up, who I’m grateful to be around. The fancy car, the nice house, the five-star dinners –- those are all byproducts, but ultimately, they are meaningless. True happiness is found in the people you share it with. Surrounding yourself with good people costs you nothing, but you gain so much from those who know the real you.
This extends beyond personal friendships. Your employees must be included and buy-in to your mission. In fact, a survey conducted by LinkedIn found that employees who are driven by meaning and fulfillment rather than money and status are 54% more likely to stay with your company and 30% more likely to be high performers.
When I hire, I look almost exclusively for those who share in the mission and vision of my organization and what I’m trying to build. I hire for the people who are going to help me be better and attain my goals.
Your mission’s impact on others is critical. If in your heart your intentions are not about what you can do for others, you’ve already lost.
Remember, it’s ultimately your choice
You create your own reality. How you choose to respond to what life throws at you is your choice. How you decide to spend your journey in life is your choice. Who you want to spend time with is your choice. We must take ownership and accountability in order to make lasting change.
It’s also your choice to pursue a dream or shy away from it. When I was starting Certified, someone asked me if I was afraid of failing. After all, I had never launched a fashion brand before.
My answer? The only thing worse than failing is never trying. I won’t live my life wondering what if. You have to choose to look at failure for what it is: a beginning, a middle, but never the end.
Your mission matters because you believe in its potential, its impact and its why. By bringing the right people along for the ride, and choosing to pursue your dreams, even if you’re scared, you can create more inspired work that results in lasting change.