03 Finding your Purpose with Katie Newman
03 Create Clarity
Welcome to this third video on how to build a purpose led business.
So far in this series we’ve talked about what a purpose-led business is, and spent some time identifying the values, strengths and beliefs that underpin the business you’re creating.
Today we’re going to help you articulate your business’s purpose, mission and vision. Now the first thing we need to do is to clarify what we mean by all those words, because they get banded about a lot and are sometimes used interchangeably. Well for our businesses, it’s important we have a purpose, mission and a vision and understand the unique role that each one plays.
Let’s start with purpose. So your purpose is your why, it’s your reason for being, it’s your origin story. It’s an articulation of what has led you to be where you are today, doing what you’re doing.
Now you’ve already started to reflect on this through the free-writing exercise you did in video two. What we now need to do is condense this down into one good sentence. So let’s have a go. If you’re still not sure why you do what you do then ask yourself these three questions:
- One. What value does your business add to the world?
- Two. What problem do you solve?
- Three. What is the reason you wake up every day?
Pause the video for a moment and write your answers down.
Once you’ve answered those questions, the art is then to distil your answers down into one compelling sentence. Remember your purpose is unique to you, so don’t try to copy someone else’s. To help you get an idea of what a good purpose statement is, let’s revisit Caz and her cake making business. Caz’s purpose is to… to bring people together and help them forge meaningful connections.
Again, wow, that’s powerful right? And did you notice? No mention of cake. Or baking. That’s what Caz does, it’s not why she does it. Her business has a higher purpose than that, to bring people together and enable connections. Her purpose statement articulates how she is making the world a better place. So have a go at writing a purpose statement for yourself, “My purpose is to…”
Now don’t worry if the first time you write it down it’s not perfect, this is a process. The important thing is to start and to get something down on paper, we’ll refine it as we go along.
Now once you’ve got your purpose statement written down, it’s time to articulate your vision. So, what’s a vision statement?
Well, whereas your purpose statement was an origin story, a unique reason for you doing what you do, your vision statement is a future story. It is an articulation of where you’re going, what you want to create, how you want the world to look. It is quite literally, your vision for the future. And this statement should be positive, inclusive, inspiring, ambitious and infinite. It’s painting a picture of the better world you want to create and it invites others to join you in creating it.
It’s also bold and enduring, your vision isn’t just a long term goal you want to achieve in the next year or two, we’re talking about decades here or the life span of your business- your vision is big and brave enough that it compels you to keep working hard towards it because it is worth it. What’s Caz’s vision?
For a world where every person embraces and cares for their neighbour as if they were family. I’ll say that again. Again, nothing to do with cake. It’s her vision for how the world could be, a world where loneliness is no longer the hidden shame of our society. A world where we all care for and love our neighbours.
Now this vision for the world may not be unique to Caz, and she probably won’t see this realised in her lifetime, but that’s fine, in fact it’s great as it means that there are probably other people working towards a similar thing, and it’s a cause so big that it’s worth working towards! So have a go at writing a vision statement for yourself, “My vision is for a world where…” Again, don’t worry about making it perfect. Just have a go, and then use this checklist to help you craft the language. Is it positive, inclusive, inspiring, ambitious and infinite.
Now finally, we’re going to talk about your mission. Your mission is one sentence on how you’re going to realise your vision, what you’re going to do to make it a reality. Now if at this point you need a bit of a reminder as to how these three things are different, and yet fit together, think of the simple example of brushing your teeth.
The purpose of brushing your teeth is to ensure that your teeth don’t rot. Your vision is for shiny white teeth that look beautiful when you smile. Your mission is to consistently and carefully brush your teeth every day. Make sense?
Once you’ve articulated these three things clearly for yourself, you can begin to share them with others, and it will engage them with what you’re up to in such a powerful way.
So let’s go back to your mission statement, this should express how you’re going to work towards your vision. For Caz, her mission is to enable great conversations and relationships to blossom over a good slice of cake. I’ll read that once more.
Now do you see that here for the first time we’ve spoken about cake? That’s because we’re starting to talk about the how. So, your mission statement should provide that bit of detail that tells people how you’re going to create change.
So have a go at writing a mission statement for yourself, “My mission is to…” And remember that it’s just once sentence, so don’t worry about giving all the specifics of what your business does. Ok! So you should now have a purpose, vision and mission statement, amazing! Well done.
Now look at those three statements together and see how they fit, and tell the story of your business. Your purpose is your reason why, your vision is the world you want to create, your mission is how you’ll get there.
So for Caz: Her purpose is to… to bring people together and help them forge meaningful connections. Her vision is… for a world where every person embraces and cares for their neighbour as if they were family. Her mission is… to enable great conversations and relationships to blossom over a good slice of cake.
Fantastic! Well done creating those. As with video two, make sure you have these three statements written down somewhere safe but visible, and take a few days just to look over and revisit them, tweaking them as you see fit. And then once you’ve done that, join me in video four, where we’ll start to look at how we make your purpose, values, beliefs and strengths come to life within your business. See you there.
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