Sorry for the linkbaity title. But there really is one thing you must know.
First, let’s think about your death.
You’re gonna die one day. So am I. What type of impact do you want to make on the world while you’re here?
Whether you own a business or work for a business, odds are you will spend a lot of your time and life energy working at your vocation. Therefore, much of your impact on the world will be related to how you conduct yourself while at work, and the actions of the business you’re supporting with your life energy.
So why the fuck are you in business? What is your business’s mission? Do you even know what it is? Can everyone on your team articulate your mission? Does this drive everything you do?
I think establishing your mission is the place to start when looking to build your business. “Why do you exist?” is a pretty pressing question. There are of course other things you need to know; your values, your vision, who you want to work with, etc. But I think the mission comes first.
We all know businesses with meaningless mission statements. I want to wipe my ass with them, douse them in gasoline, and then light them on fire. Corporate bullshit isn’t what I’m talking about. I want your business pursuits to be powered by something fucking VISCERAL.
MFF began with a series of epic meetings between our Business Wizard Michael Keeler and me. Michael’s background was in the non-profit world, and in my own informal education, the business material that I found most inspiring was mission-driven. So this is where we started.
In the tradition of many successful business partners, we had grown up together and had a shared set of life experiences (this was the theme of our TEDx talk).
THING THAT IS IMPORTANT: The ideal business organization is a tribe of people with a shared set of values and rules about how to conduct the art of living.
To be clear, we also did the other business plan-type stuff too; growth projections, SWOT analysis, price point calculations, etc. Missions are important, but you also have to pay fucking rent. Businesses have to make a profit, or else your mission doesn’t happen.
But from day one, we knew mission came first.
If you’re not sure what your mission is, here’s a great exercise from business guru dude Patrick Lencioni. Pretend you’re leaving your business for a year. You can write one short paragraph to your team to give them some guidance during your year long sabbatical.
I like this exercise, because it’s like death. It cuts through the bullshit and goes right to the heart of the matter. I want MFF to STAND for something. I want it to mean something to the Ninjas, to the team, to our vendors, to our neighborhood, to our planet, and to the motherfucking unicorns.
And I know I’m sliiiightly obsessive about MFF’s mission (cue everyone I know making fun of me for starting a blog while on the beach haha). But you know what? If I fucking kick it tomorrow, I WILL REGRET NOTHING. And I’ll tell you this, you can bet your ass I’m not going out with any of my motherfucking song left inside me. Whether you own a business or contribute to one, that’s what I want for you too. I want you going to bed every night feeling like your work has meaning and that YOU matter.
And this is why I think you need to start with a mission.
Einstein said religion without science is blind, science without religion is lame. I think you could also say a purpose without profit means you fucking close and lose your home, and profit without a purpose is a fucking terrible meaningless work-life.
Do you feel like you’re crystal clear about your mission where you work? Can you state it in one sentence? Does your organization spend time talking about it’s mission? Is it helpful, or annoying platitude bullshit?
Again, I really value the conversation because I do NOT have this shit figured out.
Would love to hear positive inspiring examples and/ or horror stories. Safe space, let’s talk this shit out!