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Do you ever find yourself wondering: is there anything more than this? Or maybe you’ve thought: how do I know I’m on the right track? I think it’s a part of being a human to yearn for something greater, something more than ourselves. We yearn for this deeper meaning in our day to day lives and more connection to a larger scale purpose than just waking up, working, having dinner, and going to bed.
I’ve found myself wondering what I’m REALLY made for, and I can truly say I believe I was meant to educate and impact women who want to make a difference in this world. My personal mission helps me to be clear on who exactly I’m supposed to serve. It allows me to grow my team with women who align and subscribe to that same vision. It keeps all of my offers and partnerships in tune with a bigger picture so that my voice and vision don’t get lost in a pursuit that just doesn’t fit my brand.
To me, a mission is something you’re extremely on purpose about. It’s a statement that wraps up all the values that are important to you into a sentence that dictates the direction you and your business are heading. Your personal mission encompasses your goals, purpose, and pursuits in life. It affects business, relationships, and personal decisions, and it’s something you can hold literally every aspect of your life up against to make sure everything is in alignment with your greater purpose.
A strong connection to your mission opens up doors for ways to give back to your community or an organization that aligns with that set of values. Gaining clarity on what your mission is gives you the tools to uncover what you really care about and how you can contribute in ways bigger than yourself to fulfill that deeper desire of building something that is actually making a difference beyond paying your cable bill.
Let’s talk about how to determine your personal mission, and how to tie it into your business mission. Or maybe for you, like me, your personal and business mission are one and the same. And to take it a step deeper, I want to get into tying your business to a cause and how donating some of your earnings can help YOU not only make a difference, but also make more profits. It all starts with getting in touch with what really matters to you.
How to discover your personal mission
Once you know your personal mission, it’s easy to extend it to your business mission if you’re an entrepreneur, and then to hold up all your actions and business decisions against it so you can trust you’re moving forward in alignment with what matters most to you.
This is going to be a little bit of soul work and really inspecting what makes you tick, what motivates you, and what you stand for. You might already have an idea of what your personal mission is, and even if you do, I’d recommend walking through this little exercise because it may have changed over time or may not totally be reflective of your current values.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re often brainstorming about big plans for your business. Think about this activity as the most important brainstorm session ever. This is the heartbeat of who you are, and why you do what you do, so let’s get crystal clear on it.
Side note: Press play in this episode to hear the heart of this exercise, inspired by a business book called Attracting Perfect Customers. Press play, let me tell you about the book, and then come right back here to get started on this brainstorming session.
In your notes app on your phone or in a notebook if you prefer handwritten lists, write down all the values that make up the core of who you are. Here are a few to consider: maybe you value confidence, honesty, kindness, empathy, dedication, leadership, or commitment. Service, faithfulness, independence, loyalty, or joyfulness, freedom… What are the values that make up your character and allow you to live in true integrity?
Now, don’t judge yourself here. I feel like our first tendency is to write down things like family and faith – which are great and likely true, but the other adjectives might tell you even more about your mission. For me, the biggest ones are: freedom, presence and peace. Those things I value and help provide the ruler that I hold every decision up to these days.
Once you’ve jotted down the ones that feel most fitting, go back through your list to circle a few that you feel tied to the deepest and craft your one-sentence mission around those values. It might look something like “It’s my mission to serve others in compassion and honesty in all that I do” or “I seek freedom, humor, and confidence in everything I contribute to the world.”
Or maybe, there’s one value that sticks out among the rest that fully encompasses all the others. How can you sum up your values into a sentence? What REALLY matters to you? It may help to have a few different prompts to get your creative wheels spinning. Consider these statements and write down the one that you can easily fill in to help fill out your own personal mission statement. It might be:
I serve the world by… I help my people achieve or get X results… I create… The end result is… Success for me is defined by…When people describe me, I hope the 3 words they use are…
Write the one that tugs on your soul and inner values and goals the most, and keep it somewhere you can see it everyday so that you can stay in check with what your character calls for. When we make decisions not in our integrity because the paycheck looks tempting or the exposure would be amazing, or the offer sounds shine, it usually shows — and our clients or followers or even family and friends can tell it’s phony or ill-fitting.
Staying Aligned with that Mission
Let me give you a recent example of how staying aligned with my mission played out in my life. I am an affiliate for a few different brands and get sponsored by some whose products or services I truly love and believe in. I love sharing my life and my favorite things and I love authentic partnerships that are win-wins for all parties.
A trusted partner that I’ve worked with in the past and a piece that they had sponsored in our home just simply wasn’t holding up well, it wasn’t the quality that we had come to know and expect from the brand and truth be told, a friend of mine had asked me if I’d recommend the product and I shared with her how we actually weren’t totally happy with how it was wearing.
They had sponsored us over a year ago and we shared about the product and took photos using the furniture, and they even used some of our photos in their ads. But after just a year and a half, there was a lot of wear and tear and the piece just wasn’t holding up very well.
So I reached out to the brand and asked if we’d done something wrong or could care for it any better. They said no, we were doing everything right, so they’d just go ahead and exchange the furniture for a different piece. We were blown away by the service… At first. But they wanted us to mega-share again about this new product, without sharing the reason behind why we were even getting it.
I told them no, wait a second, we’d gone above and beyond with our part the first time around and it didn’t hold up and I didn’t want to just let people in to half of the picture or leave people wondering why we were already exchanging something that was still really new.
I’m all about being transparent, I just didn’t feel good about promoting something that didn’t stand up without explaining what happened. I also knew they had other amazing products and their customer service was wonderful, so why not show this very real interaction I was having with them? I asked that we could be transparent about the first product not holding up very well, and how we’re donating it to a women’s shelter because it’s still functional and good quality, it just wasn’t the quality we expected.
I kind of had to coach them on how this really could be good for their brand by showing the real nature of some items just NOT holding up — hey, it happens! And in the process, they saw how seriously I take my level of influence and how transparent I wanted the transaction to be.
At that point, I gave the brand a choice: we could either not recommend them in the future and ask for them to remove the ads running with the product we ended up not loving or we could just be honest about the whole thing, what happened, and why we were opting for something new. We ended up going that second route and it was well-received and successful on all accounts.
This is a place where having a mission is key to have as my guiding force in making a pretty important business decision. I easily could’ve gone along with what they wanted because, after all, they sent me a new product! But that would’ve gone against my values of being transparent and truthful about what really happened. And in the end I was able to have some good come of it by being able to donate the first piece of furniture to a place that really needed it, and that completely aligns with my mission of imperfectly empowering women. Cool, right?
Incorporating your mission into all aspects of your life
Your mission doesn’t just stop with your business, it is the compass to every facet of your world, a roadmap for your business and your life. It creates consistency and cohesion in every action and interaction. It allows your people to trust you because they know exactly who you are, what to expect and what you’re dedicated to.
Like for me, because we’re all about empowering women, it doesn’t stop with my listeners, students, and followers. It extends into how I engage with my team. How I raise my daughter. How I give back to my community and my world. We actually look into our local communities for opportunities to donate a portion of our income to that impacts women positively, and from there we seek out global causes that align with that mission. Press play on this episode if you’re curious about the different ways we give back locally and around the world.
And a very cool bonus: studies actually show that millennials actually prefer to buy from companies that give back to amazing causes. According to Fast Company, 1 in 5 consumers prefer to give back by purchasing socially responsible products. Another 39% prefer to split their giving between charities of their own choosing and buying from cause-based brands. And nearly 50% of people believe buying from businesses who support a cause is a more effective way to support change and make a difference.
When you align your mission and values with a cause in order to extend your resources and support to it, not only are you helping others tremendously, you may also be improving your bottom line. People WANT to support businesses that think about spreading local and global good. And you can be that kind of business when you really dig into what matters to you.
The Big Picture
Your personal mission doesn’t start or end with just business decisions, although it’s heavily at work there. It allows you to find causes that further spread your mission so that you can create more meaning and purpose in all that you do, from an Instagram post to giving back to your community on the regular.
All in all, because a part of my mission is being so open with my own messes and mistakes, the pressure to lead perfectly is totally removed. This clarity in what I do and why has allowed me to pursue the best business opportunities, give back to causes dear to my heart, and make sound decisions that are in line with my character. And I think when you’re able to do that, it kinda sets you up to be the most successful version of you, and the happiest too. Isn’t that what we’re all hoping for, anyway?
More peace and purpose and joy? So, find your mission that keeps you on your own unique path, and hang onto it on this wild, unpredictable journey. I think it’ll lead you to all the right places.