What a Mission Statement Can Do
Every knight in shining armor has a coat of arms. Part of this coat of arms is the knight’s motto… it is a source of self-inspiration in times of doubt or temptation.Chivalry Today (https://chivalrytoday.com/mottos)
I believe that a mission statement is a lot like the motto medieval knights used as part of their coat of arms. Like modern day mission statements, the motto provided a focus point, something that the knight could turn to in times of “doubt or temptation.”
In the middle ages people had no illusions about temptation. They knew it was going to happen. And they wanted to be ready. Having a motto gave the medieval knight a clear idea of who they were and what they stood for. Because of this the motto helped them resist any temptations they might face.
Temptation, of course, is still a thing. According to the Catholic Church, in fact, temptation is the first rung on the ladder of of diabolic influence. Temptation is what the Church calls the ordinary (or commonplace) activity of the devil.* And you don’t have to look long in our society to see that temptation is exceedingly common – in the form of materialism, or overconsumption of media, or worse.
But temptation is anything really that can lead us to sin. While we tend to think of temptation as being related to appetites or desires, it can be very subtle – especially in the beginning when it is just beginning to lead us off track lt. For me, for example, things like novelty seeking and distractibility are a temptation. They don’t necessarily result in serious sin but they do pull me away from what I intend to do.
This is where the mission statement / motto comes in. Because, just like the medieval knight, having a clear idea of who we are and what we stand for were can help us identify things that are not in line with God’s plan for our lives.
So What IS God’s Plan for Our Lives?
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.Jeremiah 1:5 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
Understanding God’s will for our lives begins with prayer. Sometimes God will give us a nudge or a sign (as I feel He did for me when someone bought a prayer card this week just when I was about to give up on my printables shop). Other times we may need to do some searching.
We can discover clues to God’s plan for our lives in our natural interests, the experiences God has allowed in our lives and our innate talents and abilities. Our talents and abilities are particularly important because this is how God has equipped us and He wouldn’t have done that if it wasn’t important.
I’ve always loved to write and do art, for example, so it made sense that these things would play a part in God’s plan for my life. I’m an avid reader and have been drawn to spiritual things since I was a kid so I know that writing about my Catholic faith whether directly, here on the blog, or through story is likely to be a part.
The Purpose, Vision and Mission Statement Process
I crafted my mission statement through a three step process.* The process is creating a purpose statement, then creating a vision statement and finally a mission statement.
Terms like purpose, vision and mission have lots of different applications. So the way I did it may seem a little counter-intuitive at first. But it relies on the the same definitions used by some very big companies, like Uber. And it really does work.
My Purpose Statement
In this method, the purpose statement is essentially a “why” statement. It answers the question, why do I do what I do? Initially, I found this way of looking at purpose confusing. Then I realized the trick was to not over complicate.
I decided to think about my purpose statement in a direct and simple way. Why do I write in the blog or work on my ebook or make prayer cards or bookmarks?
To develop and utilize the abilities God gave me to express my Catholic faith.
My Vision Statement
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.1 Corinthians 14:33a Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
The next step in the process is the vision statement. Having a vision statement is a big step towards clarity. Or at least it was for me.
The vision statement is our “how” statement. It answers the question how do I do what I do? Specifically?
At first it seemed odd to call the vision statement a how-to but then I realized that what this really meant was that I had to be able to clearly SEE exactly how I would do it.
I could see myself writing a couple of hours every day because I do actually do that most days. But I get distracted a lot and go off on tangents too. So I wanted to see myself myself doing it right. And – after I talked to God about my life and challenges – I found that I could see it.
I could see myself working on my ebook or blogging several afternoons per week – if I got my housework out of the way first and stayed focused.
I could also see myself working on prayer cards and other designs in the evenings. Because design is something I can do when family is around and people are talking to me.
I came up with a revised blogging, ebook writing and printables plan that lined up with what I had envisioned. It’s specific and detailed and very clear. This was my vision statement.
To produce 1 blog post per week, 2 PDF printables per month and 1 to 2 ebooks per year.
My Mission Statement
The mission statement was actually the easiest part to do. This is because the mission (the what) is really just a combination of the why and the how (purpose and visions statements) you’ve already written.
The main question here is the what. The thing we didn’t get too specific about when we defined our purpose. After a lot of prayer and wrestling with God and myself I was able to work it out.
I realized I wanted to share my faith primarily through story, utilizing my favorite genre – fantasy. But I also wanted to write nonfiction articles and the testimony book. I wantedto express my faith artistically too through my designs and I thought it made sense to sell everything through my etsy shop. So…
My mission is:
To make Catholic articles, designs, short nonfiction ebooks and full length fantasy fiction available through BarbaraGraver.com and CatholicBookAndCard.com.
So that’s it. My mission. And I really do feel that it will help me withstand temptation, distraction, and a tendency to get discouraged.
Where This Leaves Me
I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up with any of this, if I’ll make a difference or achieve any degree of success. But when I think about it, I realize that nobody else really knows those things either. Because the truth is, no matter what we’re trying to do, we all have very similar doubts.
Apparently, even knights in shining armor had doubts.
*Extraordinary demonic activity, according to exorcists like Fr. Vincent Lambert and others, includes hauntings (demonic infestation), attacks or harassment (demonic vexation), mental attacks (demonic obsession) and physical takeover (demonic possession). Ordinary demonic activity (AKA temptation), per the Catholic Church, is the most common form of diabolical influence.
**I was introduced to purpose, vision and mission statements by Coach Lynn Skelton of NewLifeCoachInc.org.