What’s Your Mission?
June 11, 2013 by Lynn Faughey
Another milestone in my family was reached last week when my daughter graduated from high school. And while that chapter of her life has come to a close, another and even more exciting chapter is just beginning to write itself. Sitting at graduation watching 973 graduates receive their diplomas, it struck me that as they all move forward from here, some will flounder, some will flourish and all will have to figure out who they are and what they want to be. I hope that they have aspirations and dreams that they are able to pursue and that they find success in whatever they choose to do. It’s a big world they’re entering into and it certainly helps to have a plan!
Shortly after I graduated college I took a course on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I still find relevant today. One of my favorite tips is #2, “Begin with the End in Mind.” Covey suggests writing a personal mission statement. Instead of leaving things to chance, create a plan for your success. Writing your goals and desires down makes them real. As Covey says, “It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.”
When you begin by envisioning where you want to go you lay the groundwork for the journey. My daughter is beginning college in the fall, the journey will take four years. In the end she’ll have a degree in her chosen field and will start the next journey to her career. And so on. During our lifetime we’ll likely rewrite our mission statement many times. What we thought we wanted when we graduated high school may not have been relevant a few years later. Our focus is always changing and so should our mission statement.
One of the most important points I’ve taken away from Covey’s “Begin with the End in Mind” is that just because we may be successful, doesn’t mean that we’re satisfied and what may have been a priority today may not be tomorrow. Life happens and even the best laid plans can go off course. It’s never too late to rewrite your mission statement, change your focus and plot a new course.
I think my favorite Covey quote sums it all up, “If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.”