In this series, we’ve been talking about that mythical, immeasurable beast they call “Balance:” how we try to find a state of equilibrium between our personal lives and our businesses. By now, if you’ve followed, you know that I don’t think this balance is real. Or: we haven’t been viewing it in the right way. Through notable experiences and lessons learned the hard way, I’ve finally decided to approach my business and my life in the same way, using what I’ve learned in one to tackle my goals in the other.
This is the final post, where I’ll wrap up some of the things we’ve been talking about, getting to the main points of our discussions. All in all, I hope you find this resource useful—a reminder to always keep yourself going in the right direction in your life and in your business. For me, constantly revisiting these ideas helps me stay focused. And, really, I think that’s the main point: focusing on achieving what you want.
Mission & Values
We defined our mission as “the fundamental purpose,” or it’s answering why something exists. And you can define this in one sentence. For me, it’s to leave a positive legacy for my family and to help make the world a better place than I found it. Notice that I make this mission applicable to both my business and personal life. Leaving a positive legacy means working hard at what I do—being relentless—and running a business that creates opportunities for others makes the world a better place than I found it.
Values are the “rules that I can’t break while following my mission”. It’s how I maintain that relentless attitude. Some of these include: putting my family first, being loyal, knowing that failures are ways to learn. The list goes on…
This is all very pragmatic: my mission is a one-sentence statement I can continuously return to, and my values are hard-pressed rules that I follow each day, whether in the office or on a Sunday afternoon hanging out with my family. I’ve found that these kinds of pragmatic approaches help define and realize my greater goals, what I call my vision.
How do you want to be perceived by the world? I think most of us can answer that question with relative similarity: we want to be thought of in a positive way. But take that further and think about exactly how you want yourself and your organization to be perceived. What do you want to be remembered for?
My personal vision is to build a platform through business that allows me to open opportunities for my family, friends, and those needing a boost—with the aspiration of helping them realize their dreams. It’s a long-term goal, and it’s why I pay so much attention to my mission and my values. Without a vision, these efforts wouldn’t have purpose. They wouldn’t have an endgame. My vision is my endgame, and I use my mission and values as check-in points.
Think of a ranking system. So far, we’ve talked about my mid-level goals—mission and values—and big goals: vision. But how do these break down on a microcosmic level? What do these things look like day to day?
That’s where strategy and goals come into play.
Strategy & Goals
I create an annual strategy each year. Here, I break down my mission and vision into “executable, measurable chunks.” Then I break the year into quarters, and for each quarter, I create priorities—where and how I’ll focus my energy. This creates a system of structure for my family and my business. It makes sure that I have progress in each. Most of us do this in one way or another, whether we realize it or not, but I think my system is unique because these priorities only matter if I measure my success or failure in achieving them. What I mean here is: I know my goals, know how I want to execute them. And because I measure how well I do that, I’m able to determine whether or not I’m working towards my greater vision.
With this system of personable accountability, I can see results. So I check the numbers each quarter to see how well my business is doing. I pay my staff more when they can prove their success in tangible results. When I want to do something special with my family—like ski a real mountain—I begin by taking my girls to smaller, local ski resorts so they can learn.
To sum it all up—to get to some kind of conclusion—I’ll say this: this system is one of checks and balances. Each step is pragmatic, and I have an approach to achieve big results. I even have an approach to define what, exactly, I want those results to be. By taking the time to define my priorities, goals, my mission and vision, I am able to work, each day, to get it done.