Eugene Moreau - Pursue a Worthwhile Mission (Part 2)
Read more articles by Eugene Moreau.
"What matters most is not the leader's charisma. What matters is the leader's mission. Therefore, the first job of the leader is to think through and define the mission." Peter Drucker
Today I am addressing the second step in Being Focused. Step One is all about protecting your heart, your vision, your mind, your drive, by avoiding negative input. The last communication of 2008 covered this.
Now, we'll look at Step Two: Pursue a Worthwhile Mission .........and it all starts with understanding the Sigmoid Curve.
The Sigmoid Curve
The Sigmoid Curve (an S shaped curve) described by Charles Handy in his book 'The Empty Raincoat' (Random House 1994) can be used to describe the life cycle of products, organisations, empires and even relationships.
The curve symbolises, nearly all of life's endeavours start slowly, they then grow and at some point they will meet a natural plateau, after which there is inevitable decline.
On its own, the S-shaped curve can be a bit depressing, and not particularly helpful. Its power comes when we add a second curve to it. Charles Handy suggests that constant growth and development is achievable if we start a new initiative before the first one begins to wane (Point A).
Paradoxically, this means that we need to have worthwhile mission (Point C) already identified the before first curve nears its peak.
Let me expand a little on this 'S Curve' principle and how it relates to pursuing a worthwhile mission.
Although there will inevitably be more motivation to pursue a worthwhile mission from Point B, often driven by survival, the problem is.....to move from Point B to Point C takes enormous effort and energy. The right place to start that second curve is at Point A, where there is the time, as well as the resources and the energy, to get the new curve through its initial explorations and learning's before the first curve begins to dip downwards.
That would seem obvious; were it not for the fact that at Point A all the messages coming through tells you everything is great. In fact, you might even have a mini version of a parent, a former teacher, coach, auntie, uncle or some other 'role model or authority' sitting on your shoulder whispering into your ear......"You fool, don't you know it's folly to stop the 'good' when it has taken you so long to get here! Keep on doing what you've been doing. Don't stop now. Milk it out!"
Let me stop right here and ask you to tell them.............take a hike!
After 20 years of working with hundreds of people and scores of organisations of all kind, profit, non-profit, wanna-be-profit and use-to-be-profit.....I've come to the conclusion that life without a mission (Point C) is futile! If you don't have a Point C in your life - you will definitely move into the D Zone...and this is not a nice place to be in.
The D Zone is where you Decline..........then you Die.......then you Decay!
When you enter into the 'D Zone' all your energy and resources, or should I say what's left of your energy and resources, are often spent out and exhausted on surviving.
Now, if you happen to be the leader of an organisation and other people are looking to you for 'direction' then you face yet another set of issues - like loss of corporate confidence, credibility and team unity....only to name a few......when you enter into the 'D Zone.'
One of the requirements for leadership is to think through and define the mission that the organisation will pursue. The act of leadership is fundamentally the act of articulating a mission for the organisation and then casting an inspiring vision that inspires it.
The Discipline of Letting Go
As I mentioned, I've helped many people, and organisations, come to grips with where they are in the S curve and almost invariably, after some discussion, assessment and evaluation, most are not surprised to find themselves further along the curve than they would have thought.
What we've also found is some people really struggle to let go of what they've been doing at Point A. They've become emotionally attached the Point A Mission - forgetting that it too was once a Point C Mission.
John O'Neil, in his book The Paradox of Success uses the model of the second curve to describe how people do, or do not, move on in life. He points out that one essential is to let go of your past. If one is too emotionally attached to what has gone before, it is difficult to be different in any way.
John O'Neil highlights that one can hold on to the Point A Mission (My term not his. He refers to it as the 'first curve') until it is too late. He quotes Odysseus as an example of a young warrior chief who was so committed to roaming and raiding, at which he once excelled, that he spent 20 years coming back from the war in Troy to his kingdom of Ithaca, reluctant to assume the responsibilities of government. By the time he did get home he was a failed commander, in rags, with his kingdom in a mess.
Even though this story is tragic, it is a perfect example someone who did not have a 'Point C Mission' to aim for and as a result ended up moving into the D Zone.
Now, compare the young warrior chief mentioned above to Leonard Cheshire, the distinguished and heroic British fighter pilot who, after the war was over realised he had reached Point A and needed a Point C Mission. So, he set out to create a network of homes for the elderly and disabled. Leonard Cheshire had a mission that was worthy of pursuit.
(For those of you who don't know, Leonard Cheshire was a highly decorated British RAF pilot during the Second World War. Among the honours he received as a bomber pilot is the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. After the war, he became a charity worker, setting up Leonard Cheshire Disability and other philanthropic organisations.)
How Do We Identify & Pursue A Worthwhile Mission?
The human spirit yearns to contribute to something that is bigger than itself. Humans have an amazing ability to sacrifice almost anything for something they believe in. Time and time again the human spirit has overcome unbelievable odds in order to achieve some incredible mission, or end result.
The secret to identifying and pursuing a worthwhile mission is to remember that whatever your mission is, it will be inspiring, exciting, clear, and engaging to you. It might not be that way to other people and that's okay, simply because .......well, it's your mission.....not theirs!
Your mission will be specific to you and your particular passion, or enthusiasms, talents and gifts. If you are pursuing a mission that is not yours, or you are not passionate about - you can change that right now!
If your mission does not meet the criteria mentioned above than you need to do some 'shaping' until it does.
Shaping your mission is as easy as 1-2-3. In fact, I call this 'The Three Step Mission Model
If you would like to download a PDF Template of mission model then I invite you to visit my website www.eugenemoreau.com and click Three Step Mission Model in the Free Download section.
The Starting Point
The starting point for all worthwhile mission development is to first identify what you are and are not passionate about. If you start pursuing a mission that you are not passionate about, then it's not your mission, it's someone else's and when the going gets tough.....and it will.....then you will give up on the mission and that nemesis, that enemy called average will sneak up and begin to devour your desires and dreams.
So, let's help you find your worthwhile mission. if you've downloaded the template you will able to follow along with me quite easily. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you can do so by following the link above.
Step One: Identify the 'Action' of your mission.
Every mission requires action, and action words are verbs.
The first step is to make a list of all the action words you can think of, or you can use the Action List words on the 1-2-3 template. Choose five to ten words from the list that you feel best shed's light on what you are passionate about, or motivates you the most. Maybe it is something that irritates you and you are always saying someone should be doing something about it.....but they don't. Maybe it's something that inspires you when you see it and your life feels more balanced and 'right' when you are doing it......and you find yourself saying, "If only I could do this more often".
Once you've selected your five to ten words the next step is to choose the top three......the three that describes the actions you are more passionate about than the others.
Here's an example.....For those of you that have read my work before, or heard me speak, you will recognise this model in action with my mission. The three words that form the 'Action' of my mission is unlock, inspire & transform.
Once you've identified your top three Actions, then it's time to move on to clarifying the intent, or the focus of your mission.
Step Two: Clarify the 'Focus' of your mission.
Every mission has a target, some individual, group or cause that will benefit from the mission. The more specific you are the more focused you are. The more focused you are the more powerful you will be in living your mission......and this is an essential step in defeating the enemy called average.
The second list you will need to develop is a 'Focus List' - this is like a 'For Whom' list. How many of you know someone who has a passion for one thing and they are spending all of their energy and time doing something else. The reason is most likely because the 'Focus' is not clear. Clarity of Focus is absolutely essential for the development of a worthwhile mission.
Every mission implies that someone will be helped. For example.....in the last 20 years I've met people whose passion it was to see a nation will be freed from poverty and debt, a bird returned to its natural habitat, at risk children given a chance to grow up and be educated....the list goes on.
The critical question for you to answer here is, what principle, cause, value, or purpose, would you be willing to defend to the death or devote your life to?
Step Three: Define your mission 'Statement'.
Once you have identified 'Action' and clarified 'Focus' it is time to define your ‘Mission’, which involves you developing a statement, a phrase or a message. It really is as simple as 1-2-3.......really....no kidding!
Here, let me show you what I mean...........1. Action:
My mission is to unlock, inspire & transform. (My three words of action)2. Focus:
For men, women, families and business owners who are: wanting/needing a positive change, unfulfilled with their current position, ready to start a new stage of existence/life.3. Pull It Together.
|#1 (My mission is to...) |
| #2 (To, for, with, in...)|
| #3 (Definition / Statement / Phrase) |
| A Worthwhile Mission|
As an example of the finished product, let me share the only mission I have the authority to share.....mine. This is the worthwhile mission I am pursuing. It has taken me some time to develop, fine tune it finally shape it to where it is today. Pursuing this mission helps me to defeat the enemy called average in my life.
'With the talents and gifts I have been blessed with it is my mission to unlock vision in men and women who are wanting a change in their life or business and then to inspire them to pursue that vision with passion so their life is significantly transformed as a result of it.'
Let me know how the Three Step Mission Model works for you.
If you like what you are reading, please comment. If you would like to read more on a specific area, let me know. Next week we explore the third part of Being Focused, which is 'Replace Hope With Purpose'.Until next week, fight the good fight......defeat the enemy called average!Eugene
By the way….check out Significant Conversations on www.eugenemoreau.com
Part Two of the Series - Defeating the Enemy Called Average