You are action-oriented. You’re a do-er. You don’t know how to sit still. You’re always looking to learn and grow. These are all wonderful attributes and have likely contributed to your success, so far. But somewhere along the way, we lose sight of where we’re headed. We get caught in a whirlwind reacting to what comes at us. Or, we fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people. Without a clear mission and vision for our future guiding our actions, we can end up feeling unfulfilled or burnt out.
You’ve likely heard that people who are lost walk in circles. There’s research proving this is true. Without a reference point, people really do walk in circles. To get from one point to another, we need something to keep our eye on. And when it comes to business, a clearly defined mission and vision serve as our reference point.
- Mission, sometimes referred to as “purpose,” is what you do and why your business exists (beyond money). It describes who you are, who you serve, the problems you solve, and why it matters.
- Vision is where your business is going in the future. It should align with your mission, but it’s future-focused. It will require you to learn and grow.
I’ve experienced this firsthand. When we got clear about our mission and vision back in 2018, things started to fall into place. Our revenue and profits grew and recruiting and retaining the right people and clients became easier. We knew where to focus our time and energy – we were able to channel our “do-er” strength in the right places. We knew what to start doing and what to stop doing. We used our mission and our vision as a filter and a guide.
Here are three simple steps to help you clarify your own mission and vision:
- Carve out some time and start brainstorming. You’re going to need to set aside a few hours of focused time to think and dream big. Block out some time on your calendar and plan to go somewhere other than your office so you can think more freely and without interruption. Between now and then, keep a running list of ideas and thoughts on this topic to give yourself a jump start during your scheduled time.
- Draft your mission and vision. During your scheduled time, use our free worksheet to get your thoughts onto paper. You’ll answer questions like:
• What problems does your business solve better than anyone?
• Who are your favorite clients/customers – why?
• What impact do your products/services make on your clients/customers? What success do they achieve (or failure to they avoid) thanks to your business?
• Where do you want your business to be in the future? Think about your culture, your products/services, your size/complexity, and the impact you want to make.
• Important: Don’t worry about the “how” (yet). That will come later through annual strategic planning and achieving quarterly goals.
- Use your mission and vision as a reference point. Once you have clearly articulated your mission and vision, you must frequently review it and share it with your team. It’s helpful to reduce it to a few key phrases or bullet points that you know by heart. Then, you can use your mission and vision as a filter for ideas and opportunities. Before you jump into action, step back and make sure it’s something that aligns with your mission and the future you want.
Carve out some time today to step out of the whirlwind to clarify your mission and vision. Utilize that time to get clear about who you are and where you’re going as a business. Then, use your mission and vision as a filter to evaluate issues and opportunities more quickly and confidently.
Imagine where could you be a year from now if you stopped spending your time and energy traveling in circles?
Download our free worksheet to get started today.