Today marks the day where I tried to properly formulate a mission statement for the first time. An idea I’ve been playing with in the back of my head for a while now but haven’t really set my mind to. It’s not easy to capture the essence of your being in a single sentence. Of course it isn’t. “The essence of your being”, that’s such a weighty concept to define. How could you ever?
It is exactly for that reason that I never bothered to find the words. I always felt like the moment I used proper language to define my actions, I’d be limited to the box I just put myself in. A scary thought: “If I write this down now, I better mean it and I better show the world I mean it. There is no room for errors here”. This sentiment stuck with me until I had an important realization.
I realized that even the essence of your being can be a fluid concept. The things that drive me most today don’t have to be the same tomorrow. Now, it could be possible that I was just looking for excuses to not having to put words to what I’m doing. Because while it’s okay to change your mission statement, you can’t be fickle about it. If you commit to a certain mission, you do have to mean it at least at that particular time and the foreseeable future. That still is a scary process. It involves stripping out all the unnecessary clutter and fluff and just writing down the bare minimum. You have to be brutally honest to yourself.
So that’s what I tried to do. I looked up a few things online on how to tackle writing a mission statement and found a general trend that you should focus on your What, your How and your Why. Most online sources refer to this in a business context but I think it applies to people like myself as well. I am my own business and even if I wasn’t, I’d still think it a healthy exercise to find some direction.
Because that’s exactly what you are doing. By actively using language to formulate a mission statement, you have to think about the things you want to put in there and the things you want to leave out. By making it as short as possible, you just write down what you do, how you do it and why you do it. These three things can be many different ones, as long as you stick to these variables. So where it is true that giving words to a thing can limit you, that’s actually a good thing. As having a sense of direction inherently requires limiting your options. Only then can you move with purpose and intent, as you now know if something aligns with your mission statement or when it doesn’t. Having this information about yourself and your work makes it easier to say no to things you aren’t sure about as well as finding the things you should be putting energy in.
So with that being said, my mission statement as of July 14th, 2021 is:
“I document life as it happens in photographic and written form to preserve the present for the future.”
I don’t think I’ll stick with this forever, as I still find it a bit… pretentious? But this is the best thing I could come up with today. The reason I decided to immediately proceed to making it public is to make myself accountable to stick to is as well as to update it whenever I feel like it doesn’t fit me anymore. At the same time, it’s always nice to have a record1 of how these things evolve over time and I’m sure it will. Which means you can see the old ones in my Milestones section on the about page, right below the Mission statement section right above it.
I would elaborate a little more on why I’ve specifically chosen this mission statement but I think I’ll save that for a separate blog post. That will allow me to dive into a little more and perhaps do some more internal digging why this is what I wrote today. Who knows, I might be only a few insights away from the first update. For now though, I’m perfectly happy as it stands.
- You see how I’m already putting in practice what I preach in my newly formed mission statement? I’m documenting everything! ↩︎