I am a huge believer in coaches and programs and general self-development. I have had many coaches and guides in my career and all of them teach you something. One of my favorite tips I ever got was about using a personal mission filter. My coach back in the day used to talk about a personal mission filter and I wasn't really sure what he meant. Once he explained it, the light bulb went off and I bet it will for you as well!
Use A Personal Mission Filter To Stay In Tune With Your Goals
To begin with, you can't filter for something that doesn't exist. So you need to start with creating your personal mission statement, then develop the filters and figure out how to implement them in your decision-making process.
Your Mission Statement
Most companies have a mission statement, but do you have a personal one? It doesn't have to be a bunch of flowery language or very involved. It could be as simple as a rough plan or thought about your career. Having a personal mission statement helps you have a general idea of where you want your life to go – a framework basically.
So if you haven't really thought of a mission statement for yourself, I encourage you to do so. It can be simple like “I want to move from outside sales to sales management into an executive role in a national capacity.” Or it could be more along the lines of “I want to work on things that fill my emotional cup, provide for my family and allow me freedom to travel and retire at 55.” Whatever it is, having a plan or a goal is going to help you evaluate opportunities.
Mission Statement Filter
My coach was great, he really helped me move on to bigger and better things and he had a life I wanted to live. I am the kind of person who is really driven by freedom and travel so we focused a lot on how I could get those things. He introduced me to a personal mission statement and then the mission statement filter.
Essentially, he never started a new career project without using this filter, which was in the form of certain questions. These questions consisted of things such as the following: Did he have to be at a certain place at a certain time? Is the task something that he likes to do?
As a building products recruiter, these items really resonated with me. I have many talents but just as many things I really loathe doing. So, I was able to develop a short list of questions to make sure I am moving in the right direction and doing things that won't take away from my ultimate goals.
I knew that I wanted to stick to a certain lifestyle and adhere to my personal values. I have two questions I ask whenever I approach anything new for my business. The answers help guide my choices.
Will I have fun?
If it stops being fun, I stop showing up. If it sounds too complicated or boring, I’ll probably stop doing it after a while. My friends and family can tell you that I’m not going to stick around if I’m not having fun. This is just a part of my personality. I want to have fun, and I know how to create fun. I need it to be interesting and for me to be engaged and if it is boring or difficult without some play involved, I won't stick it out.
This might sound stupid to some people, but it is who I am. Trust me, many people have shared with me that life isn't always sunshine and roses and you can't just do the parts you like. You still have to do things even when they are not fun. However, this logic doesn’t make sense to me. I know what makes me happy, and I’m sticking to it.
Am I doing this just for the money?
Of course, I like making money. Who doesn't? I am proudly a capitalist. I do believe in the power of making and sharing money and I love to make a lot of money to fund the life I want to live.
I can tend to get lost in the possibilities of projects. I can go from “we could do this” to “we should do this” to “we have to do this because we will make bank on it” in a matter of minutes. It is easy for me to get caught up in the excitement and profitability. I start thinking about all the ways we can make something work and how I can just outsource everything I don't like and continue to make wads of cash. Have fun and make money should be my next tattoo!
But this type of logic never works for me. Chasing money just leads to losing money. I have to have a bigger meaning for what I am doing or I won't stick with it. This is why I steer clear of certain things if I realize I am only doing it for the money. I have to have a genuine reason for doing something. Will I make a difference or help someone who needs it? I have to do it because I love doing it.
I don't take on clients or projects I don't like working on and with. I don't take jobs just to pay my bills. I have to truly enjoy what I am doing and who I am doing it with or it won't end well.
Putting It All Together
So my personal mission filters are just “will I have fun?” and “am I only in it for the money?”. When I stop myself and answer those two questions it helps me stay in balance and only work on things I really love. One without the other doesn't work. And, anytime I have gone against either it has ended poorly. I either stop or it goes terribly sideways.
I encourage you to think about your own goals, quirks, and needs and develop a personal mission statement. Then, take a few minutes to create a short set of questions that will help filter out the noise and make sure you are only working on things that move you forward.