From the book Building Leaders the West Point Way by General Joseph P. Franklin US Army (retired)
Page 41... “From the last rung of the ladder to the top, everyone has to have faith in their mission.”
But what happens when you don’t have faith in your mission? How do you have faith when you don’t believe in the leader? Check that, not the leader but the person in charge. Big difference there. How do you continue on when the whole organization is on edge, floundering and with no semblance of order in sight? When you get pounded from all sides every day at work it is a challenge to stay the course. What are your options?
Perhaps this lack of faith, among other reasons, is why having a personal mission statement is so important. And maybe not so much a mission statement, but more of a mission philosophy. A foundation of values, a core belief system, a clear sense of where you want to head.
Defining character values that are important to have is a good place to start. Listing what makes you get up and going in the morning, being aware of what puts a smile on your face, and knowing how you mentally or emotionally recharge are all things that are critical to determine. Knowing the why assists you in knowing what or how.
When you don’t understand the chaos around you, taking the time to look at your core values and desires can help you calmly face the unknown. The boss may be bad, your co-workers might drive you crazy, the future may be fuzzy at best. But knowing what makes you strong, or why you believe in certain things can be of great comfort.
Following your values, your mission goals, and your beliefs won’t eliminate the problems. They aren’t necessarily designed to. After all, no one completely agrees on all of these things, therefore, some friction is to be expected. However, think how much worse things would be if you didn’t have the steadying influence of your missional philosophy. In many cases, having a predetermined sense of who you are and where you hope to go can help you navigate the troubled waters around you.
The ladder of your workplace may be in disarray. From the bottom to the top there might be multiple factions all warring against each other for control. It may seem as if there is no teamwork, no desire to create a positive atmosphere or to move the organization forward. But you can’t control all of those things. The only thing you can control is how you will respond to the negativity and challenges.
Having faith in your own mission statement, philosophy, or belief system may be what is required to help you stay the course and to not be brought down in the end. Shakespeare once wrote “to thine own self be true” and there are many thoughts on what he actually meant by the phrase. Being true to yourself might be another way of saying to have faith in your own mission.
When you don’t have faith in your organization’s mission and your efforts to alter it are failing, knowing what you stand for, believe in, and are committed to are what will give you the courage to continue on faithfully executing your personal mission.