I’ve been thinking about mission statements. Mostly because I’m in start-up mode with my own business and I need to be clear with myself about what I’m going for. I am one of those people with lots of ideas and opinions but who finds the nuts and bolts of stuff kind of boring. Don’t get me wrong – I know nuts and bolts are necessary – no, critical!. Nothing happens without them being paired and fastened appropriately. I actually am quite proud of my management of nuts and bolts – the identification, pairing, securing, tightening and maintaining of them. It just takes more WORK than the idea generation and general opining that comes so naturally to me.
Anyhoo. I’ve been thinking about mission statements. The company that raised me has a great mission statement. It is: To Be The World’s Leading Provider of Information Services on Information Technology… (get a load of this next part) …In Order to Improve The Quality of Human Life.
Jeepers. Whodathunk that little ole me, showing up to work everyday in the Training and Development and HR departments of IDG, was participating – contributing even! – to the Quality of Human Life???
Well you know what? We were. Our products and all that it took to create them (even the efforts of the training and development and HR teams) informed the world of developments in technology. Kept them apprised of new products, trends, applications and innovations. That information technology specialists around the world read and acted upon to create new types of defibrillators or online learning systems or security systems or any number of technological advancements that have indeed improved the quality of human life. (Luddites – give me a minute here ok?)
The thing is, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re doing something. And it’s even more important to be honest in your answer.
As I think about mission statements and my reasons for going into business for myself, it’s been an education in values. Am I in it for the money? If not, then why am I concerned about having to downsize our house and “stuff”? I guess maybe I’m in it for the money a bit. Am I in it for the ego, fame and accolades? If not, then why am I so quick to announce to family and friends the latest “win” or impressive connection? I guess maybe I do need my ego fed a bit. Am I in it for the humanitarianism? If not, then why is the idealist in me so excited about changing the world – even if it is in my little corner of the universe?
What I’m saying is – it’s REAL to acknowledge and honor the reasons you do something. It’s REAL to consider how they play into what you’re doing and why. It is UNREALISTIC to think that you can achieve your dreams – your potential – without reconciling, incorporating, accommodating your values. Your true values. Your true motivation.
An education indeed.