Holding an aim

    But that's not my mission today.

    Gathered around a table, a group of us discussed a particular dilemma of modernity. Seeing one of us had special insight, others encouraged her to step forward in her industry. Stand up and shape policy! You should be the next ....


    But that's not my mission today.

    My mission is to create ______ for my _______ so that I can ________.

    Her clarity astounded the group.

    Only in recent months had she devoted herself full-time to her business. The prior two years she had worked a day job. Her fledgling business could not yet sustain her at startup and pay for everything it needed to grow. This included the gradual hiring of four human employees and one robot.

    She designs the business to run without her. Of course, every spare moment she is working on it. But I suspect rarely is she working in it, consistent with Gerber's classic E-Myth admonition.

    Her vision shifts between the micro and macro. She saw an opportunity for affordable automation and found its specific application to a constraint in her business. Enter robot.

    To the group of us, she spoke of the broad societal trends shaping her industry. She countered some of our assumptions as to their cause. Her reasoning seemed factual and passionate. We imagined her giving stump speeches. She could address a much bigger problem than her business solves today. She said no.

    But that's not my mission. My mission is...

    These are words someone says when they hold an aim and fix it in the mind and heart.

    What is your aim?

    That is the question Jordan Peterson asked his Austin audience days prior.

    Do you have an aim? Do you know why?

    Aims inspire us and direct us. They help us say yes and, more importantly, say no. Aims inform why we say no to what would distract us.

    Stories show us how. Sharing in the feelings of holding an aim is what delights us about stories, said Peterson. The main character is defined by their pursuit of an aim. That's what makes the story!

    The story holds our fascination when we imagine ourselves as the main character and vicariously feel the emotional rise and fall.

    No aim, no story.

    What is the story of your company? What is its aim?

    Consider the 'about us' page of your website. Often this page contains a formulaic 'Mission' statement. Some such statements convey a similar energy as wilted flowers in a vase. Once vital, but no longer! The words are dead and dry.

    Someone recently told me he loves to acquire zombie companies.

    What's that, I asked?

    A company wandering without an aim is a zombie company.

    Troubled, and cheap.

    Back at the table, the entrepreneur with the mission-she-would-not-let-go-of, showed its opposite. Her company is not wandering. It's more valuable every moment.

    As its leader, she chooses yes or no, and really means it.

    Leave a comment (all fields required)

    Comments will be approved before showing up.