What is the contribution you will make in life?
How you affect the world around you while doing what you love.
Because to thrive and move forward we all need a mission that is much bigger than ourselves.
Mission – Your Place In Life Is Bigger Than You
Up to this point, almost everything you went through during this program was, to some extent, self-centered. We discussed your identity, your values, your beliefs, and so on. Then you created your vision and looked at your purpose. Now, of course, as you worked through that, you also paid attention to your immediate environment.
For instance, your roles had to do with your family, friends, and co-workers. Your vision involved all the people around you, too. But, although that is true, you looked at that process from an inside-out perspective. You were at center stage, and you either revealed or created the world around you.
When we step into the mission, although we call it “your” mission, you will take an outside-in look this time. That’s because your mission is much, much larger than you. Your mission is your call to action when the world is calling, or at least a part of it.
No doubt that it’s daunting and scary to think of the “world.” What is little old me going to do to make the world a better place? It’s overwhelming, for sure. But remember that while the entire world is a gigantic place, it’s also composed of infinite smaller worlds. You don’t have to think of the Universe, the Earth, or even humankind. You can narrow down the world to a more palpable dimension: something that makes sense to you.
Maybe it’s your community or your family. Perhaps it’s your workplace. However—and please be open-minded about this—it can also be the world. Big changes start with little changes, and little changes effected on masses create movements. There is no single person who can make our world a better place; it’s all of us, one step at a time. So let your mind float outside of you and look at everything that surrounds you.
The ‘How’ Of Your Vision
I mentioned that your answer to the world’s calling is a part of your mission. The second role your mission holds is the “how” of your vision. When you worked on your vision, your key question was “what.” What do I want? When you looked at your purpose, the question was, “Why do I want it?”
Now, it’s time to ask: what do I need to do to get it, or, more simply, how am I going to get it?
What’s interesting here is that your purpose may already have an altruistic element built into it. There’s a link between your purpose and what the world needs. That means that connecting them should not be very difficult. Let’s continue with the example from the previous section:
Vision: I am a successful cardiologist.
Why: I want to help reduce the number of people dying from heart disease.
Mission: I will continuously research heart disease topics, publish articles and studies to share my findings, and cure as many patients as I can throughout my life.
Do you see how it all connects, and how the mission is now very practical? As a matter of fact, we often confuse the mission with the purpose because they are very close in their definition. But if you look at a few key differences, each of them will become more clear:
Mission / Purpose
- How / Why—your mission is how you do things; your purpose is why you do things.
- Job / Calling—your mission is a job you have to execute, while your purpose is your calling.
- Mind / Heart—your mission is driven by your mind, while your purpose comes from the heart.
- Functional / Emotional—your mission is a functional, practical endeavor; your purpose is an emotional response.
- Pragmatic / Ambitious—your mission is based in practical reality, while your purpose drives your ambition.
- Tangible / Aspirational—your mission is clear, tangible, and realizable, while your purpose is aspirational.
- Focused / Empowering—your mission requires you to focus on task execution, but your purpose gives you the power to go for it.
Later, after you’ve completed your mission worksheet, evaluate whether you haven’t muddled your purpose with the mission. It’s a common issue that happens often. With a bit of analysis and self-reflection, you should be able to define each distinctly and clearly.
Components of Your Mission
People who are driven by a powerful mission have two things in common: they care about the cause for which they are fighting, and they profoundly and wholeheartedly love what they are doing. Your mission in life must exist somewhere at the intersection of these two dimensions; otherwise, you won’t be able to complete it.
1 Deep Care for the Cause
Whatever you decide your world needs, you must care about it with your whole heart and soul. You see many people out there who pretend to care about causes because it sounds like the right thing to do. When your mindset is such, you are not helping or contributing in the right way. The result of your contributions will help those in need, of course. But in the end, it will not create any fulfillment or joy because you are not connected to that mission.
In the realm of your mission, you can’t fake it till you make it. It simply doesn’t work that way.
2 Pure and Complete Love
The second dimension is your love for the activity that generates the contribution. When you do something you genuinely love, you enrich your life. Your entire existence gains momentum. Doing something you love pushes you into a peak state of flow where you are one with what you do, and nothing else matters.
By approaching your mission in this way, you will fully experience what it means to feel accomplishment. When you do what you love for the benefit of something you care about deeply, you contribute to the world and yourself. You are growing as you advance in your mission, and your contribution makes a difference.
You are changing the world.
Creating Your Mission
Similarly to how you created your vision statement, you will have to design your mission with your core life dimensions as a starting point. Doing it this way makes it easier to approach it in a compartmentalized manner, versus thinking about everything at once. You should use your vision and your why-statement as guidelines because they are tightly connected, as we established above.
Let’s say that, in your vision, you have the image of your future body. You are healthy and fit, you exercise, and you eat right. The ‘why’ behind states that you want to live long enough to see your grandchildren grow up and inspire your family to be healthy as well. You don’t want to grow old and be a burden, either. Do you see how your ‘why’ statement already hints toward ways in which you are touching others?
Now you need to focus on that specific part to generate the mission behind it. Here’s the full example:
Vision: I am healthy and fit, filled with energy and vitality.
Why: I don’t want to be a burden when I’m old. Instead, I want to inspire those around me to be healthy, too.
Audacious Goal: I maintain my body weight at 175 lb with 12% body fat.
Mission: To live a healthy life full of energy and vitality so that I can inspire my children to be healthy as well. I want to experience a healthy life with my family for as long as I live.
Do you feel the connection as you read this? Your vision is out there, and it’s big. It’s also a little vague, which is okay. The purpose explains why you have that vision, and also hints toward your contribution. The audacious goal is now obvious and precise. There’s no guess-work there. The mission wraps it all up and tethers you to the world around you. In this example, the world was your family.
What Is Your Mission?
The vision creation exercise was an exciting one, for sure. The feeling of creating the best version of you in the future is exhilarating. Once you connect your ‘why’ to it, it becomes more real. But it’s still “out there.” Although just the sheer fact that you took the time to create it generates some sort of urgency toward it, there’s a significant chance that it won’t be enough.
This is where the mission steps in and creates an anchor between you and that future you, and the world around you. Now, this is not just about you anymore. That feeling of responsibility can be daunting, but most of all, it’s empowering and energizing. Every time you think about your contribution, there’s an element of pride baked into it.
At a deep level, we all want to feel important. And this is not a case of using pride as a motivator. Instead, we need to connect with the feeling we get when what we do is more significant than ourselves. Therefore, creating a mission that targets causes and people you care about is a powerful catalyst.
Because you have worked on your vision and your why-statement, you know that every action you undertake will pass the “love test.” That’s because love stems from the vision. There might be action elements that you dread, but the love of the journey and excitement for the future outcome will keep the love alive.
Therefore, when you work on your mission, you must focus intensely on the “care” aspect of it. You need to identify the things you care about the most and make that connection.
The Creating Your Mission Exercise
Without further ado, use the link below to download the Mission Worksheet and go through the exercise. Once you have completed it, take some time to review your Vision, Purpose, and Mission together. How do they sound? Is it a cohesive monolith? How does it make you feel? Enjoy it. It’s the fruit of your work and effort. Once you are happy with all three, move on to the next step, Create Your Goals.
Feedback, Comments, Suggestions, Testimonials
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