“You talk a lot about mission. But what does my mission have to do with my business or my career?”
Editor’s Note: The questions you don’t ask could hold the inspiration you need to finally take action. As this year begins to end, we are answering the questions people have asked us about our work.
We do talk about mission a lot.
But let’s start with another question: Are there two versions of you? The work version and the rest-of-life version? If there are, why is that?
We do believe everyone has a mission or a purpose in life.
For many reasons, the 20th century beat the idea of living or working that mission out of our heads. Instead, we were taught to work – as an alternative to that mission.
Yet, the most successful business leaders/innovators/inventors of the mid- to late-20th century have all been people possessed and driven by a mission. See: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and many others.
Focus on mission and living that mission every day is the most powerful combination of human potential and progress.
In the 21st century, it’s time to either stitch your mission together with your work, or find new work that is more aligned with the mission. When you do so, you can live a more fulfilling life and be more effective in your work.
This is precisely why defining your mission is such a big part of our Root Sessions.
Very frequently in a Root Session, we uncover with our client that they are leading a bit of that split life we asked about earlier.
If these leaders have clarity on their mission at all, it’s something they work on in their ever-elusive “spare time.”
The work of the Root Session, and our subsequent brand and leadership coaching, is to heal this split by returning a leader to her or his soul, to their childlike imagination, to their desire to add meaning to the world.
Our Root Session clients are often surprised to find that even if they have a mission statement for themselves or their business, that is not actually their mission.
In a Root Session, when someone discovers their mission, they are flooded with humility and a bit of overwhelm. When you are presented with what your destiny is, it is overwhelming. It feels a bit risky. But every single endeavor in life inherently contains risk. Getting clarity around the foundation of why you are willing to take that risk – your mission – gives you a place of focus and an endless source of natural motivation.
If it’s boring, safe or doesn’t make your heart race, it’s probably not a mission.
It’s also important to note that businesses and organizations do not have a mission. Leaders and members of the team do. That’s why when we do a Root Session with a team, we focus on the mission of the individuals in the room and then create a collective guiding principle they can organize their efforts around.
A mission is not some far-off destination, it is the answer to the question, “What am I here to do today?”
So what does your mission have to do with your business or career? Knowing your mission and how it connects to your work provides you with a wellspring of innovative ideas, renewable energy to tackle obstacles and challenges and keep moving your work ahead – beyond competitors and to the hearts of the audience you are trying to connect with.
Ready to reconnect to your purpose or life mission? We offer 30-minute exploration calls to see if you’re ready for a Root Session. Email [email protected] to schedule yours.
Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.