I've been really hesitant to write about our "mission" in life. There's so much written about it that somehow get the impression that our lives are not quite what they should be if we don't have a mission.
But here I am, writing about it. Like many other things in life, this came about through a combination of things that happened more or less at the same time. One was a friend going through a tough time with his business; another a book that I received as a gift last week, and the last simply being at the right time in my life and my business to feel that I can (and should) write about it.
Here's what I've found.
Over the course of our lives we have different missions. Early in life our mission is not particularly important in the grand scheme of things; we're still learning and figuring out what it is that we like and dislike and where we feel at home. Our "mission" is figuring out who we are and what we're here to do.
Each time we fulfil a mission it takes some time for us to realise it, internalise that we have to move on and find our new mission. Some of us really struggle with that new mission; we hang on to the old and resist the new because we're comfortable and the unknown, by definition, is just a little bit scary.
Eventually circumstances will be so strong that we are forced out of our comfortable existence and branch out into something new. The old mission is done; it's given us the tools and experience to move on to the new; and we make the leap.
This is called growth.
A bigger mission
As we get more life experience, our missions become less immediate and more far-reaching. Initially our mission is to build a set of skills, establish a safe place to raise a family, learn about life and eventually know that we've now learnt enough so that we can turn our knowledge around for the benefit of others.
We get the most fulfilment and our strongest purpose when we reach the kind of mission that is aimed at making the world a better place for others.
It took me some time to realise that my mission is to help more small business owners be successful — both at building their businesses and at having a life. My mission was born out of frustration that I could not be more successful in my own business; that frustration led me to understand that I had all the skills and knowledge I needed to do this; and all I needed to do was change my mindset so that I could help not just myself but also help others in the process.
The reluctant coach
A few years ago I started working with Keith Hanna. Keith is one of the most accomplished executive coaches I've ever seen or heard of; his client roster includes some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
I've been fortunate to not only work with Keith, but also be coached by him and to be trained in his coaching methodologies. But I've always resisted the idea of being a coach - somehow what Keith does seemed to be "not me"; something that I never set out to do and didn't feel comfortable with.
But as I've learnt, helping business owners be more successful at their businesses - and at life - requires that I also become a personal coach. Because I've learnt that we are our own biggest bottlenecks; our own biggest barriers; and to truly break through and get to the next level we need to overcome ourselves.
To break through and get to the next level we need to overcome ourselves.
My mission has evolved to show that I am here to do two things: the first is the mechanics of building a business, the second is the personal coaching part that helps people change their mindsets so that they can be successful at both business and at life.
The point here is that I fully embraced the "how to build a better business" part of my current mission early on; it took me a lot longer to embrace the second part - that I have to also be a personal coach because a successful business is not built by people who are not successful and happy in themselves.
You don't need a mission
We sometimes get stuck on the idea that we need a mission for our lives to be fulfilling and to feel truly happy.
If you're having trouble figuring out what your mission is, don't sweat it. You're still learning technical skills and life skills and the pursuit of that knowledge is quite likely your mission. And a worthy one too.
There are people who seem to find their far-reaching, world-changing mission early in life, and it drives them for the rest of their lives.
I didn't find my current mission early in life. And it didn't come to me in a BFOTGO (a Blinding Flash Of The Glaringly Obvious). It took time and I resisted parts of it until recently. But now that I have it clear it rings true and this is what I do.
Your mission in life
When you're building a business you have a mission. If you believe that your mission is just to make money from something your business will never be fulfilling; it will just be about chasing money.
The mission you set yourself when you started building your business is to help people solve a problem so that their world can become a better place.
So go and change the world.