Survivors of Hitler’s prison camps claimed one of the worst forms of punishment they endured was to be forced to dig a ditch, only to fill it in the next day and the cycle would repeat itself, day in and day out. “The overwhelming labor was not the worst part, it was simply because we knew it had no purpose.” said one survivor. The Nazis knew if you remove a person’s “why” you would crush their spirit. Successful people, businesses, ministries, families, friendships, and just about anything else you can think of are successful because they can tell you ‘why’ they do what they do. It’s often referred to as the vision, mission or purpose statement that clearly defines the purpose behind doing what they do. The more successful the entity is, I can almost assuredly guarantee the more specific and focused the ‘why’ is. Here are a couple of examples:
- Wounded Warrior Project – To honor and empower wounded warriors.
- The Lampo Group, Inc. (AKA Dave Ramsey) – Providing biblically based, common sense education and empowerment which gives HOPE to everyone from the financially secure to the financially distressed.
The more specific the purpose, the sharper the focus becomes and the sharper focus leads to greater success. Andrew Carnegie advised, “The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.” The business that tries to sell all things to all people is doomed, as well as ministries who try to answer every noble cause. If it’s off mission, it should be off the table for discussion. A great lesson can be learned from King David in 2 Samuel 24:2 & 3. David said, “’Take a census of all the tribes of Israel—from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south—so I may know how many people there are.’ But Joab replied to the king, ‘May the Lord your God let you live to see a hundred times as many people as there are now! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this?’” But King David could not answer Jacob’s question as to ‘why,’ and it cost him greatly. Defining ‘why’ and adhering to it is wise – don’t make another move without it! Always be able to answer Joab’s question as to “why?”
Need help creating a mission statement? Here’s a great place to start: Mission Statement 101
The next step is to create goals (bite-sized vision) based off of your mission statement: Why You Should Love Goals
What say you?
Great post! So true!
Thank you Leslie.
Made our first contribution to the wounded Warrior project after seeing Lone Survivor…. Such a worthy cause…
Awesome Deanne, definitely a worthy ‘why’!