A Road Map: Your Personal Mission Statement The first step on your road to success is to outline and define where you want to go and the kind of sales and marketing professional you want to become. This is accomplished by writing a professional mission statement. This should be a brief statement (about four sentences) that describes the person you are or the one you want to be. This is the rudder on the ship that will determine your direction. It is your road map to success. Everything you do in your sales or marketing role should be in line with your mission statement. Living your mission statement is the true meaning of success. Research shows that you are many times more effective when you have a vision or goal. It gives us the capacity to live beyond where we are now -- to go where we want to be in the future. Without it we wander, with no true sense of direction and focus. Mission statements should be lifelong visions. They should be based on realities, not illusions. Do not set a vision or mission based on what others think of you; in order for you to have passion it must come from inside. The most significant part of our lives is a combination of our inner core beliefs and values. Being in tune with this inner guide defines our values and uniqueness. A mission statement manifests this into action. A mission statement should have the following: Solid connection with the inner self and our purpose in life. Expression of our own unique gifts and talents. Integration of the four areas of life: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Connection to concrete goals and realistic expectations. It is important to write down your mission statement and keep it nearby as you go about your work. This makes your mission more real and tangible. It is written to provide inspiration and motivation toward your development as a sales person and/or marketing professional. It is a way of bringing greater meaning and purpose into your life. A mission statement is a way of accepting personal responsibility for your life. We choose who we are, or who we want to be. A mission statement is a definition of this and absolutely crucial to bringing balance to our lives and the many roles we play. As you write your mission statement, review your values, talents, principles, and skills. Ask yourself the following questions: What is my life purpose? What is really important to me? Does it fit with my values? Answer these questions by listening to your inner voice, emotions, and intuitive thoughts. Road Signs: Goals and Objectives The development of objectives and goals follow the actual writing of a mission statement. Goals and objectives help you create a plan to live your mission statement. This should include career goals, financial objectives, sales goals, appointments, account development, conversion rates and all other key aspects of your sales and marketing process. Limit your goals and objectives to a few key items and focus on the areas that are most important to your mission statement. This should be a list of the most important items that can positively impact your professional career. These are the areas to focus your attention. It is up to you to determine which areas are priorities, given the nature of your task at hand. Many of us do not follow these guidelines because we are trapped in putting out fires, meeting deadlines or managing our day-to-day work. This does not usually put you on the track to achieving goals. Taking care of the urgent -- but not important -- business that arises will meet short-term needs and you will feel productive, but the long-term growth and achievement are not present. In order to obtain a goal, do not try to hold on too tightly to the desired outcome. This will come across to others as desperation when you perform your duties. Be able to let go, walk away, and not let your emotions keep you in something that will not produce a desired end result. Do not become too attached to anything. Too much attachment can lead to disappointment when things beyond your control do not work out. When setting goals, ask the following: What is the goal I am trying to achieve? What is the actual end-result? Why am I trying to achieve this goal? How does it connect to my mission statement? How am I going to achieve this goal? How will I measure the results? Goals will usually mean change. Some people resist change because of fear. However, as you realize that change toward your true mission is a change for the better, you can overcome fears. Tips on setting goals: Does the goal support your personal mission statement? Get input from others, yet stay true to your own values and mission. Take time to reflect on the goals. Are the goals realistic? How is future growth or expansion built into the goals? How can goal achievement be measured, monitored and changed as needed? How do unexpected events factor into goals? How will you modify your goals? Are the goals too limiting? Think big. Mode of Transportation: Personal Action Plan The step that brings your mission statement and goals to reality is an action plan. A mission statement without an action plan is a fantasy. The action plan makes the thought concrete and determines the action you are going to take to reach those goals. The action steps should tie into the mission statement. Remember, the way you live your life defines who you are. In your action plan, focus on the practical applications needed to reach your goals and achieve your mission. It is important to understand the theory; however, nothing can replace focused action. What you do and how you do it is more important than how fast you did it. Many of us live with the imbalance of doing things that need to be done. These things are not necessarily the most important things to do. Set the goals and actions that are essential to reaching your mission. It is not as simple as a to-do list whereby items are checked off as you complete the project. The action plan is a detailed set of activities that are usually challenging and directly related to your goals and objectives. Are We There Yet? Check Your Progress Buy a calendar or day-timer to track the daily, weekly and monthly activities of your action plan. Begin each day by reviewing your schedule or plan for the day. Those items that are not accomplished should be carried over to the next day. Use good common sense and keep the focus on the important areas already outlined. Prioritize these activities and set a time value to the ones that need it. Review this process at the end of the week and see where you are. Evaluate whether or not the week was true to your mission statement and on track to reach your goals. Did you spend all week putting out fires? Or are you making things move in the right direction? For example, did you strengthen your relationships with customers, accounts, employees and coworkers? Did your weekly activities make a difference in the quality of your professional life? Are you on target to your goals? Change and improve the action plan as needed. Arrive at Your Destination: Success Your mission statement may change over time as you grow and develop. That is to be expected. Remember to put the past behind you and live out your vision of the future, rather than the memories and emotions of the past. The past is gone and you must let it go. Self-development and goal setting can help you create your own future through hard work, commitment and persistence. Have fun as you follow your mission. When you love your work it stops being work and becomes enjoyment. Lighten up and stay focused on the big picture. Do not allow little things to get to you because most of what happens to us is a small occurrence in the big scheme of life. When obstacles come up, see them as challenges and learning experiences; then overcome them. These things are a part of life. We have the power to choose how we will deal with them. Problems and obstacles make life a challenge and make rewards more meaningful. You can change behaviors to remain in step with your values, mission and goals. Practice and visualize the person you want to become and you will become that person. What you practice and do is who you are. Living your personal mission statement is the true meaning of success.