Recently I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by fellow author, Megan Cyrulewski on her blog. She asked me during the interview what I hoped that people would feel while reading my novel, An Uncertain Faith. I have to admit that I did not have a ready answer for this question, at least not one that I could answer succinctly.
I actually did have a goal in mind when writing, an intended call to action, but to explain properly, I was afraid I might inadvertently give away the ending. The whole book actually was a result of a fairly simple basic writing prompt. Think of one thing you feel truly passionate about. Explain in one sentence your position on the subject. Now build up a case to support your belief. Poof, thousands upon thousands of words later there was a story.
If I consider my writing a business, and my book a product, this exercise was similar to crafting a mission statement.
Since then, it’s almost become a game to see the hidden message behind some of my favorite works and not just the literary variety. There have been a number of ads lately for the upcoming Muppets movie. I’ll use that as an example.
The Muppets were just one of the creations of Jim Henson. Another was a show called Fraggle Rock which I positively adored growing up. According to the boxed set of session one that my family was so nice enough to gift me with, Jim Henson and his team created Fraggle Rock as a means to inspire no less than World Peace. By showing the interconnection between cultures, he attempted to teach children of my generation how we are all part of a much larger world, and while could be huge differences between cultures, there were some universal similarities.
The show only ran for a few years, but he actually did manage to reach out to the world with a simple children’s program. Fraggle Rock actually became the first US television show to be broadcast in the Soviet Union. He helped to make the world a little smaller years before Facebook or Twitter, and he did it with puppets and an amazing imagination.
How many of us can honestly say we aim so high when we develop our own mission statement?
Often we write mission statements which resolve around monetary goals. The specific words used can be fancy, but usually, can be summarized along the lines of we are in the business of adding value for our customers and stakeholders.
I am hardly the exception to this rule. The company I work decided that it was time for us to revisit our own mission statement and core values. I learned from the process that I definitely shouldn’t be submitting my resume to Webster’s anytime soon as, in my opinion, there was way too much time spent debating the definition of the word attitude.
At the end, we selected four words and a semi-catchy phrase that we hoped would help us focus as a company towards activities which would result in a greater return on capital employed than had the owner of the company merely placed money in the bank. My company prides itself on its own contributions to the community as well as the contributions of its employees, but the words on our home page are definitely not as noble of an aspiration as Jim’s.
I do wonder what else Jim might have been able to accomplish if he were still around today.
Rather than try to summarize this post with my opinion I would like to close with an open-ended question. If neither time nor money were an object what would be your personal mission statement?
- Way-Back Wednesday: Remembering Fraggle Rock (geeksaresexy.net)
- 10 more TV shows from childhood that sound insane when you try to explain them (deathandtaxesmag.com)
- Mission Statement (hiscoxusa.com)
- Personal Mission Statements Of 5 Famous CEOs (And Why You Should Write One Too) (fastcompany.com)
- 365 Days: Week One… (thequeenstitch.com)