sunshine through trees

The other day I was going through the drive through (yes, I crave a giant diet coke now and then and it has to be a fountain drink).  It was a sunny Chicago day, but only about 34 degrees and windy.  As I gave my money to the cashier, who was dressed in a coat, cut-off gloves and had a red nose from the cold, I felt bad for him in my toasty sun-warmed car.  He asked me how I was doing today.  I gave the standard answer, “I’m good, how are you?”  “Blessed,” he said.  It made me pause.  Then, as he gave me my change, he said, “have a blessed day,” and I drove to the next window.

It made me think.  Just before I drove up to that window, I was thinking about all my troubles: I think I’m getting a virus; did we pay the mortgage yet?; this car is filthy — it needs a wash; how am I going to get all my work done this week? etc.

We live in one of the wealthiest, “busiest,” robust countries in all the world. Blessed? You bet we are. Most of us. And how many of us, despite all we have, complain that we want more? How many of us look around to help those who don’t have enough? And yet, I suspect there may be many of the “less fortunate” who feel more blessed than the average American does.

How do we feel blessed? It’s about practicing gratitude, not feeling so entitled, relaxing and letting things be less than perfect, loving our fellow humans. I was “blessed” just by going through that drive-thru and having the short interaction with the cashier. I learned something that day. And I’m hoping that others who went through this guy’s line during his shift stopped and paused as I did, just to say, “yeah. I’m blessed.” I can only hope.

What is your personal mission statement?

Personal mission statements should take the place of a personal brand, in my humble opinion.

I’ve had a personal mission statement for many years … it dates back to when my company (Fleishman Hillard) sent me to a Stephen Covey seminar on the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People — must have been 1997 or 1998.  In that session, I learned about big rocks and small pebbles (send me a message and I’ll tell you that one if you haven’t ever heard it) and one of the most valuable tools I’ve ever learned…. Create a Personal Mission Statement and live by it.

Here’s mine:  Make Every Interaction Count

To me, that means not only with my family and work colleagues, but with the grocer who is helping me a the produce aisle as well as the UPS delivery driver who delivers my packages.  It means I am cordial, but beyond that, I try to offer a bit of kindness that is so lacking in the world.  Most days, I do well with this mission statement.  There are days I fail.  And for anyone who knows me and knows the days I have failed at this, I offer my apologies  here and now.

But when I do fall down on this, I do pick myself up, remind myself of what that mission statement means to me and try to start again with a fresh perspective.

The reason I think having a personal mission statement is important is that a good mission statement will provide not only the essence of what you stand for, it is actionable.  It goes beyond “personal branding,” — even as a marketer, I have a love/hate fest with this concept — it should reflect who you are and even more, who you want to be as a person, not as a commodity, product, sales or service.

If you have a personal mission statement, tweet it out, put it in the comments here, put it on my Facebook account or just tell the world!  Being accountable for the change you want to see in this world is a great way to live out the mission you were brought to this planet to achieve!

What is your personal mission statement?