I keep hearing or reading the words ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ used in different ways. In the worlds of business and personal development there doesn’t seem to be a generally accepted definition for them, so I thought I’d clarify, at least for myself, their meaning and relevance.
Both words get used to mean a ‘big, important future goal.’ NASA’s oft quoted ‘mission’ was to put a man on the moon – for me that’s a vision! A vision is the thing we work towards.
In contrast, for me, a mission is something ongoing, as in the phrase ‘I’m on a mission.’ A mission is a process, something we attend to or do everyday.
‘To be Prime Minister’, ‘To be a millionaire’ – these are visions.
‘I will go the extra mile for my customers’, ‘I will spend more time with my family’ – these are missions.
Visions are important because they set out our destinations. We need to know where we’re going when we set out on our journey or embark on a project. Visions should have emotional appeal, they should be inspiring and motivating, and they should be extra-ordinary, they should be a picture of a state of being very different from the present.
Missions are important too because they keep us on track. They make sure we keep to our plans and live by our values. And, they should ensure that we get ongoing rewards like a sense of achievement and fulfilment from the work we do.
Which is more important? Neither! For me both the journey and the destination are as important as each other.
What are your mission and vision?
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