I have a background in non-profit management and one of the things you learn early on is the important of a mission statement. For-profits use them as well, but they are often heavily influenced by the bottom line. In the non-profit world, a mission statement is like a value statement. It says why you’re doing what you’re doing, what your goals are and how you plan to achieve those goals, all in a couple of sentences. You turn to the mission statement whenever you need to make a decision. The result of the decision should always take you a step closer to reaching your mission. That’s how you stay focused.
About a year and a half ago, I crafted a personal mission statement. It’s not fancy, but it’s what I hold on to whenever I receive an invitation, attend a conference or write a blog post. Not only that, but when I’m not invited to something or asked to speak, I use it to make sure that I’m keeping on track and to remember what’s really important to me. It takes external forces out of the equation and places my fate into my own hands. And it reminds me that I don’t blog for the stuff or the trips (unless they involve my kids) or pseudo-blog fame. That stuff can be fun, but it’s not what inspires me each morning.
I’d encourage you to think about your own short- and long-term goals, as well as your values and interests. Then, craft your own mission statement, even if it’s just one sentence. It’s a wonderful way to keep perspective when things feel out of your control. And it can also help keep you from getting caught up in things that may be less important to you over the long run (for me, it’s things like swag, conference attendance, etc)..
Some questions to ask yourself:
Why do I blog? Is it for fun, profit, promotion, or something else entirely?
What do I want to get from blogging? Do you want to make a living? Use it as a platform to publish a book? Keep a record of your kids’ day-to-day experiences? Make new friends?
What are my goals beyond blogging? How does blogging relate to those? Do you want some type of career, or to advance a career you already have? Do you want to be the best mother/father you can be? Do you want to buy a house or otherwise provide for your family? Do you want to travel the world?
If I could no longer blog, what would I do instead? Blogging is trendy right now and it’s unlikely to go away. But that doesn’t mean it won’t change in ways that no longer match your goals/aspirations/interests. What else would/could you use your blogging time to accomplish?
What are the values that I want to express in my blog? Everyone has values. What are yours? Family, fame, fortune, honesty, frugality, education, global awareness, philanthropy, healthy living? Make sure that your mission statement includes at least some of your values.
So, keep it simple and really try to boil it down to the essence of why you blog and what you want to accomplish. My mission statement isn’t fancy, but I’ll share it with you so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:
My purpose for blogging is to build my writing career. Quirky Fusion allows me to do that while also encouraging parents to think about gender equity, creativity and global citizenship.
As you can see, the mission statement is specific to this blog. It reminds me to focus on quality over quantity. Because I view my blog as a place to collect quality portfolio pieces, some things are less important to me, such as reviews, the number of comments I get, advertising (this is not where I earn my income), lots of pictures and brand ambassadorship. I do spend time on each of those areas, but when push comes to shove, it’s really about the writing. Also, because of the focus here at Quirky Fusion on a certain type of parenting, I am more apt to seek out relationships with certain brands, advertising and relationships over others.
I am currently feeling a bit out-of-synch with my mission here on QF, so that’s something I am going to keep in mind as I work on upcoming post ideas. If you decide to craft a mission statement, or if you already have one, please feel free to share it here.