Passion as Fuel for Your Life and Work: The First Step of Mission-Focused Leadership
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. What the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman, advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Once you have become re-acquainted with and act from what makes you come alive, then you have taken the first step towards becoming a mission-focused leader—bringing meaning, purpose, direction for your life. Mission-focused leaders are focused practical idealists who empower others to act from their potential.
What makes you come alive is fuel to give you energy for your life and work—an essential ingredient in these tough times.
It is at this point that you can write a personal mission statement. Richard Bolles writes, “Mission is not a problem to be solved in a day or a night.
It is a learning process which has steps. Each step has to be mastered in turn before the next can be approached.” An important step, he writes, is to “exercise the talent which you particularly have, your greatest gift, in which you most delight, in the place that appeals to you the most and/or those purposes which most need to be done in the world.”
Webster’s Abridged Dictionary states: “a mission is a continuing task or responsibility that one is destined or fitted to do or specially called upon to undertake.” The major synonyms listed in Webster are “calling” and “vocation.”
In my consulting experience, people are hungry for authentic leadership, to have meaning and purpose in their lives. Besides having the confidence and trust in oneself and one’s abilities, a mission statement process gives a seasoned or emerging leader a foundation upon which to be successful in work and life, to find one’s passion and power. Power is no longer defined as “control” or “power over anyone.” Power is being re-defined as integrity, clarity, intention and confidence.
The leader’s personal mission statement can set the tone and agenda for their organization’s involvement with a lively and interactive exchange, resulting in personal and organizational buy-in from all stakeholders.
Mission-focused leaders understand that their work is just part of a strategic planning process to achieve their goals. Along with mission statement preparation are visioning, writing goals/objectives, developing action plans, implementation, follow up and evaluation.
The passion as fuel and mission statement process stands at the foundation of the Institute for Global Leadership. Through the development of their personal mission statements, participants appreciate and draw on core gifts and strengths they’ve taken for granted. They acquire valuable competencies, including introspection, reflection, self-awareness, listening skills; clarity of one’s own needs and agenda; balance and wellness in one’s daily life; and sharing feedback without alienating their colleagues.
In an excerpt from the introduction of my memoir, A Mantle of Roses: A Woman’s Journey Home to Peace, I write: “I am an ordinary woman with extraordinary experiences. My story begins in 1979 when I felt a prompting I couldn’t ignore. Because I have a certainty of what I am being led to do with my life, I understand now how I can make a difference in the world.”
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