Molding a Mighty Mission
Reinvigoration Strategies: Crafting a purpose and mission statement can help you attain your vision and reinvigorate your career.
Reinvigorating your business requires that you examine where you are now and envision where you want to be in the future. In the June issue we discussed how to evaluate your personal needs and values and then integrate those into your current business vision. The next step requires that you mold your vision into a purpose and mission for tomorrow.
Crafting a purpose and mission enables you to turn your vision into strategies for action and accomplishment. The future holds great promise, opportunities, possibilities and hope. Reinvigoration is attained by making wise and appropriate choices from the vast array of opportunities available to you right now.
Purpose refers to your natural inclination or “calling,” your innate understanding of who you are and what you are here to contribute. Each of us is a special gift to the world. There will never be another human being created with your unique qualities and abilities. You were molded and prepared for a special purpose.
But what exactly is that purpose? Defining your purpose in a tangible way requires that you identify four basic factors:
- an essential action (how you interact in the world)
- a central concern (what your attention is focused on)
- a recipient (who will be directly affected)
- an intended impact (your anticipated outcome)
For example, in my case, I know that I interact well in both the group setting and one-on-one. I also know that I want to help others live their lives with as few regrets as possible and that I especially enjoy working with women. My intention is to help people focus on living a healthy and meaningful life.
Keeping your personal vision in mind, write a simple one- to two-sentence purpose statement after answering the following questions, which are intended to spark your imagination:
- What are you here for?
- What resources do you have?
- What do you excel in?
- What were you drawn to as a child?
- What gifts do you have to offer?
- What can you do easily, naturally and with the least amount of effort?
My own answers to these questions led me to several realizations about my purpose. First, I knew I was here to help people; second, my resources include creativity, innate leadership ability and a passion for fitness. As a kid I was drawn to sports. I consider my gift to be my ability to use a positive attitude to encourage and motivate people. Because of these traits and passions, I have found that I can easily lead others to healthier behaviors. That’s how I arrived at my purpose for myself and my company, Cross Coaching & Wellness: To bring quality, meaning and simplicity back into my clients’ busy lives.
According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (1997), a mission is a “specific task with which a person or group is charged.” Molding a mission creates energy that pulls you forward and provides the “what” that propels you each day.
Crafting a mission statement requires that you transform your vision and purpose into a specific action and strategy. The way to do this is to match your “calling” or purpose in life to your vocation. To mold a powerful and exciting mission statement, take time to answer the following questions:
- What, specifically, do you want to offer your clients?
- How do you plan to deliver your services?
- Who is the desired recipient of your services?
- What is your definition of your “ideal” client?
- What do you want to accomplish through your business?
- What do people need, and what are they willing to pay for, that you would be thrilled to contribute?
Once you have answered these questions, sit down and create a mission statement you find exciting and fun. Keep your mission statement simple and short (one to two sentences). Remember, this is an opportunity to completely redefine your business.
For example, I had gotten to a point in my career where I wanted to expand my fitness focus to include overall wellness. Toward that end, I trained in professional coaching and changed my company’s mission to reflect this new, wider vision and purpose. The revised mission of Cross Coaching & Wellness is “to guide and educate individuals in fully developing their personal path, character, leadership ability and physical fitness so that they are able to live a well life with energy.” This mission is accomplished through motivational speaking, professional coaching and personal training.
Now that you have determined your vision, purpose and mission, it is time to develop some simple, achievable strategies to turn your mission into reality.
One way to formulate a strategy to reinvigorate your business is to maintain an attitude of “newness.” Thousands of people who live in your area will never know you exist unless you are constantly spreading the word that you are there to joyfully serve the fitness and wellness needs of others.
To get the word out about your business, try to come up with at least three marketing strategies that ensure that community members are aware of your services. Some of the strategies I personally employ are carrying my business card at all times, sending out 10 letters each week to local businesses and attending one chamber of commerce meeting every other month. I also renamed my company last year to reflect my new services and changed my logo and stationery.
For other ideas see “Creating a Successful Strategy” on page 13.
Creating a vision, purpose and mission is intended to be a fun, energizing experience. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take a vacation or go to one of your favorite peaceful and inspiring locations to contemplate what you want the future of your business to look like.
Remember, too, that the mission of your business can change yearly as you grow, learn and experience life. Don’t become so attached to your purpose or mission that you run the risk of burning out as the years pass.
Adaptability is the key to survival and growth, both personally and professionally. Change your schedule; take time out each day to relax and enjoy life. Walk out of your house every day looking and feeling great, regardless of your destination. Stay open to the possibilities out there as you move from one appointment to the next. Because I now welcome such possibilities, I’ve learned to be gracious, approachable and interested in others throughout the course of every day. As a result I’ve encountered many blessings and great contacts along the way.
Take the time to recharge on a weekly basis and reconnect with your personal vision, purpose and mission. Doing so will ultimately reinvigorate both you and the lives of those you were put on this earth to help.
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In addition to itemizing deductions, there are other steps you can take to lower your tax bill next year. Planning ahead is key. Waiting until you’re ready to file may hold you back from using some of the best tax-reducing strategies available, according to About.com author Deborah Fowles. Fowles highlights the following as ways to save money beginning early in the year.
Contribute to a Retirement Plan. If you're not contributing to a 401(k) or other retirement plan, you’re passing up some of the best tax savings available. Contributions to 401(k) plans are not subject to federal or most state income taxes. Your contributions (and employer match, if applicable) will grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them during retirement. You could save 20%–40% of your contribution in taxes, Fowles says.
If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, contributing to an individual retirement account (IRA) each year can provide some of the same tax savings. But don't wait until April 15 to open your IRA. The earlier in the year you make your contribution, the faster it will grow.
Contribute to a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). If your employer offers such accounts, you can reduce taxes by contributing. A fixed amount is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are calculated; it is then placed in a special account and repaid to you when you submit documentation for medical or dental expenses that your insurance didn’t cover. You may include some premiums, copays and expenses not paid by your insurance policy, as long as they are IRS-approved medical expenses. You have to pay these expenses anyway, so why not do it with tax-free money? Be conservative about calculating the amount of money you specify as the deduction; if you don't use the entire amount inside the plan year, you will forfeit the balance.
Plan Your Charitable Contributions.If you itemize deductions on your income taxes, don’t overlook the opportunity to save a few extra hundred dollars by giving clothes or household items you no longer want or need to a charitable organization such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Start early in the year to put these items aside as you come across them, and make sure you donate them before the end of the year. Make a list of the items and assign a price to each item, equal to what someone would be willing to pay at a yard sale. The IRS has guidelines on reasonable amounts to claim for commonly donated items. Don't forget to get a receipt from the charitable organization.
For more information on these and other tax tips, consult a qualified tax-planning professional.
- Keep your strategy simple; for example, mail 10 letters to other businesses each week of the year or plan to attend one weekly business lunch.
- Create a strategy that is fun for you. If you despise attending chamber of commerce luncheons, do something else!
- Rename your business and create a new logo if your old name and logo no longer fit your purpose and mission. This simple step alone can be reinvigorating.
- Track your strategic actions so you stay accountable. Use a tracking form to stay focused during each phase of the process.
- Continue to implement your strategy even when you are busy and have a waiting list for clients. Think proactively: Don’t wait until you need new clients.
- Share your renewed mission with your family and friends.
- Enlist the assistance of a career buddy or coach with whom you can share and grow.
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