You have career goals you want to achieve, right?
Knowing your mission and vision is paramount to making that happen.
I’m going to break it all down for you so you understand what goals, missions, and visions are, how to craft them for yourself, and most importantly, how they work together to supercharge your career.
Before we dive in, if you’re someone like me who prefers to think of your career objectives as intensions rather than goals, rest assured you’ll get the same exact benefits from a mission and vision.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just refer to them here as a goals, but you can absolutely interchange them for intentions as you read through this. They both follow the same structure.
You set goals now in the present for something you want in the future.
They are a target you’re aiming for.
Your actions NOW affect the achievement of your goals in the FUTURE.
That means your goal is basically two parts and lives in both the present and the future.
Let’s take each part separately.
A Mission is what you’re doing NOW to move towards your goals.
It’s concrete, specific, and focused on action.
Your Mission explains how you practice your art and/or how you want to be practicing your art.
It helps to think of your Mission as being a more zoomed out and collective view of all of your goals.
A Vision is what guides you along the way to the FUTURE achievement of your goals.
It has a broad scope and it’s more aspirational in nature.
Your Vision is a compass you can use to continually guide you along your journey.
There are different schools of thought on Visions. For example, some say a Vision is a sentence, others say 2-3 pages or longer.
I recommend keeping your Vision short and to the point—you’re not a big company where your Vision needs to inspire investors and employees. Your Vision is just for you.
How to Write A Mission Statement
For your Mission, the most helpful way to put it together is to answer the following: Who, What, For Whom, Why, and How?
Then you can string those answers together to create your Mission Statement.
Who: Who are you?
Are you a a performer, producer, musician, director, lighting designer, writer, etc.? If you do multiple things, how do you identify yourself? For example, if you act and produce, could you say you’re a theater maker or a multi-passionate creative?
What: What do you do?
What kind of projects do you work on? Be specific here. For example, I personally focus on new musicals. Not just any musical, new musicals. That’s totally different than musical revivals, rock musicals, golden age musicals, etc. Specificity helps you AND the people hiring you.
For Whom: For whom do you do this?
Who are you creating for? Is it a certain kind of audience or community? Is it for other creatives such as a certain type of writer or composer? Is it for a certain kind of format like live theatrical or digital? Identify who your main audience is that you’d love to affect with your work.
Why: Why do you do it?
What is the purpose behind your art? Why do you love it so much? Why are you using it to affect the audience you just identified above? Keep peeling the layers of the onion away until you get to your deepest reason for why.
How: How do you do it?
How are you using what you do for your specific audience to achieve or satisfy your deepest reason for why? Is there anything special or unique about the way you achieve it? What kinds of projects allow you to do this?
Now, put it together.
Before you even string your answers together in a sentence, just look down your list. It should give you a clear picture already. You then just need to add in a few connecting words to help it flow.
To help illustrate this process, I’ll give you a practical example.
Here’s how I answered the above questions:
What: New Musicals
For Whom: Contemporary Audiences
Why: To Affect Change
How: Bring Communities Together and Inspire Conversation
Then I just add a few connecting words:
I am a director/choreographer specializing in new musicals for contemporary audiences who seeks to affect changeby bringing communities together and inspiring conversations long after people leave the theater.
And just like that, I have a Mission Statement!
When you put yours together, keep in mind you can use any connecting words based on what you’re saying. Those words don’t matter too much.
The “meat” of your Mission is the Who, What, For Whom, Why, and How.
Are you ready to share yours?
How to Write a Vision Statement
Since a Vision is a bit more theoretical than a Mission, it helps to think of it more as a guiding principle.
Your Vision answers questions such as:
- What is the way you will approach your Mission?
- What problem(s) are you solving for the greater good?
- What gift(s) are you bringing to the world?
- Where do you see your Mission in the future?
I recommend taking some time to really ponder these in whatever way we feels good to you. Meditate on them, journal about them, talk through them with friends… It truly doesn’t matter as long as you’re giving yourself time to really explore.
Then write out some words or phrases that represent and encapsulate your answers. Notice any common thoughts or themes. See if you can sum it all up in a phrase or sentence that speaks to the collective heart of it.
Again, I’ll use myself as a practical example to help demonstrate it:
My vision is to inspire artists to their own greatness onstage and off.
Keep in mind, yours could look wildly different since the format here is so much looser.
The important thing is that it gives you that compass-like direction on your journey to achieve your goals.
For example, when you’re deciding which projects to pursue, what to post on social media, or where to spend your time, money, and resources, you can ask yourself if it aligns with your Vision. Say yes to the things that do and let go of the rest.
Also, if your Mission gets derailed, your Vision gets you back on track. It provides you with clarity so you can continually see the path to your goals.
When you draft your Vision, put it through those tests. Does it highlight a clear direction for you? Does it act as glue to hold your Mission together? Will it lead you to your goals?
If not, no stress—it may take a few drafts to really pinpoint it.
How Missions and Visions Fast Track Your Career
It’s probably obvious you gain a whole lot of direction by knowing your Mission and Vision.
Rather than letting your career haphazardly unfold while you wait and hope for it to go the way you want, you can steer your career to increase the odds in your favor for your desired outcome.
You also probably noticed how much easier decisions are because you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out the answer to each question that arises in your career.
They’re no longer standalone answers to standalone questions—you already know the big picture.
Remember, this clarity isn’t just an advantage for you, it likewise provides clarity to the people who hire you.
It’s a no brainer for them to say “yes” because they know exactly where you fit in their projects.
On the flip side, when things don’t go the way you hoped, you have the ability to diagnose why.
Instead of feeling helpless, you can identify how you could better be in sync with your Mission and Vision. What needs to change and how will you do so?
Even better, you can prevent possible setbacks or roadblocks before they even happen.
The number one example I can give you is the human ego. It’s a huge culprit of distraction. Has yours ever gotten in the way?
Have you ever said yes to something just because your ego wanted the satisfaction, where it would feel so good to work on something, anything, even when you don’t like the project, but your ego talks you into say yes…and then you’re miserable while actually doing the project?
Those days are over, my friend. Your ego no longer dictates what jobs you do or how you spend your time. Your Mission and Vision do.
To recap and put this together, you’re saving time and energy, gaining direction and clarity, reducing potential issues, and ultimately making yourself more hirable.
Knowing your Mission and Vision is the magic that makes it all happen.