There’s only one thing that counts when it comes to your mission statement.
Don’t even bother to continue reading if you haven’t determined your business’s core values yet. You can’t be on a mission if you have no values! (However, if you haven’t read my article “Why Your Practice Absolutely Needs Core Values”, then you get a pass. Go back and read that one first). On the other hand, if you truly gave it your best effort and now have a kick-ass set of core values, congrats!! It’s now time for the next step: your M I S S I O N S T A T E M E N T.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you’re the leader of your business, you think “what is my purpose”? But actually, the correct question is “what is its purpose?” You see, the purpose of your business isn’t about you. It’s much bigger than you. In fact, it’s about everyone else but you! The purpose fo your business is the only thing that counts when trying to determine your mission statement.
So…what is your business’s mission day in and day out? Have you ever really taken the time to think about it? At my eye care facility, Westminster Eye Care Associates, we perform eye exams on patients, prescribe eye glasses & contact lenses, and treat eye diseases. However, if that were the purpose of my business, I would’ve switched careers a long time ago! Those laborious tasks are not our mission. They are our purpose.
So, how do you figure this all out? Well for starters, don’t sit at your desk to think about it, don’t even do that at the kitchen table or the couch. Get out of the office. Get out of the house. Go somewhere that has meaning to you, inspires you, makes you feel great! Heck, if it takes a vacation to get there, then take a vacation to get there! It’ll be well worth it. I went to a football field to figure out mine.
Football is much more than a sport to me. It’s taught me about humanity. When I’m on the field or even sitting in the stands I’m completely at peace. When we’re at peace, it allows for uninterrupted thinking and creativity. I started to realize that the services we offer to our patients in-house are not nearly as meaningful as the effect we have on our patients’ lives once they leave the office.
In essence, the mission statement should describe how your business makes a difference in the world!
Think on a massive level. Your business does so much more than you may realize. For example, prescribing eyeglasses for the first time to a little boy or girl so they can actually see their mom and dad is extraordinarily gratifying. Preventing patients from going blind by diagnosing and treating them for glaucoma is no small feat. Do you realize the impact your business has on those patients, clients, and guests for the rest of their lives? That’s just two examples… you get the picture. Imagine the hundreds or thousands of lives you impact with your business.
Let’s begin. First, when trying to create your mission statement, use language that addresses a challenge and a solution. When it gets down to it, your business’s purpose should be to solve some sort of widespread problem or challenge. It should elicit an emotional response. Here is Starbucks’s Mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” They’re challenging themselves to inspire and nurture the human spirit. Their solution is to achieve this “one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time”. Do you think Starbucks’ thinking a bit grandiose? Good, because that’s the point! Would you want your business’s purpose to be any less? I really hope your business’s mission isn’t to sell your patient a box of contact lenses with a 10% profit margin…don’t get me started.
Secondly, aim to make your mission statement four to six key words. That would be optimal. Here are some words that will help get you into a creative mindset as you prepare: honor, compassion, service, humanity, kindness, better living, long lasting, positive impact, making a difference, compelling, clear, equality, fairness, for all.
Finally, stop procrastinating! This will be one of the most gratifying decisions you’ll ever make.
Our mission statement at Westminster Eye Care is:
“To serve our community honorably and compassionately, through unparalleled eye care.”
As the leader of your business, you have the distinct honor of being able to make a positive impact on the world. Make no mistake about it, this is an extremely rare circumstance. You are one of the “fortunate few” who even get to create a mission statement. How will you respond?