The sermon on Sunday was titled: “Personal Mission Statement”.   Pastor Lora discussed us as children and as adults. Reminding us of our earliest missions, “I want to be a great dolphin trainer,” (she didn’t use this example, but look at any young elementary “what I want to be” list and you will find this occupation listed) and challenging us to find our current mission.  She joked that she was putting us to sleep, quiet opposite for me, I found it a wonderful thing to ponder on, so much so that I knew what my Bookworm was going to be after I left church, versus the shower the morning of. 

Mission statement – a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.

I did some brief “research” on this idea, yes, I googled it.  The results were lackluster to say the least, so then I hit World Book Online and finally EBSCO Explora.  I found interesting notes from people that answer questions on, articles on various news cites, and in a book titled, “The Vision Thing” by Sally Lansdell.

The first mention of the term was noted in print in the 1940’s with popularity occurring in 1980.  It was also noted that Moses and the 10 commandments could be listed as a “vision statement”.  Okay, I need to stop there and separate the idea of mission vs. vision.  “A Mission Statement defines the company’s business, its objectives and its approach to reach those objectives. A Vision Statement describes the desired future position of the company.” Again, thank you, Google. 

Mission statements have a very corporate feel to them, even key to the concept of “branding.”  You can google that; I am running out of column space.  But the thing I enjoyed most from my research was the listing of “visionaries” in Lansdell’s book.  The idea of going big or achieving success seemed reliant to a mission statement.  Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. were listed.  Quotes were listed by these visionaries that seemed more goal oriented that mission.  Time to stop again and do some clarification. “Mission is a general statement of how you will achieve your vision. Strategies are a series of ways of using the mission to achieve the vision. Goals are statements of what needs to be accomplished to implement the strategy. Objectives are specific actions and timelines for achieving the goal.”

I am pretty sure Pastor Lora didn’t mean for it to get this complicated for us.  I guess my passion for this is a continuation of my growth, maturity and recognition of my mortality. What is our purpose, what is our aim and what are our values?  What is your mission in your day to day, what is your mission in life?  Do we just wake up, go to work, come home, do chores, go to sleep and repeat?  Is this all there is? 

We have a mission at the library: The mission of the Morgan County Library is to improve and enrich the lives of users through information, education and recreation.  The Library values the citizens of Morgan County and responds to their needs by providing a clean and inviting building, well-organized and up-to-date collections, friendly professional service and well-trained staff who are committed to the community. We are working on strategic planning and still have lists of goals that we are tackling in the meantime. I understand the value of a mission statement on a business level, it unifies us and helps us move forward.  Why shouldn’t it be just as valuable for us as individuals?

I have been thinking what my mission statement is since Sunday.  I will be honest the words start to blur; mission, vision, strategy, goals, objectives.  Good grief, I am good at making things difficult!  I think I will go back to our missions as a child and just make a simple statement. I want to be a Park Ranger at Yosemite.  Just kidding, sort of.  I want to live every day with appreciation, I want to savor every moment and not live with stress or regret. 

What is your personal mission statement?