You’ve probably heard the old saying, “As goes the health of the leader, so goes the health of the organization.” And with the economic twists and turns this year, this topic has been on my mind.
Over these next three posts, I’ll share three things I’m doing that have helped rejuvenate my mental health as a leader. These things have been extremely helpful for me, and I pray they will help you, too.
Defining Your Mission and Vision
As a leader, I’ve found that one of the most important things I can do for my mental health is to define my mission and vision. This seems like a natural starting point to me because if you do not know where you are going — and why you are going there — you cannot be healthy as a leader or a person. That is a bold statement, so let’s unpack it.
I would imagine that most people reading this blog have heard someone share the need to develop a personal mission and vision — I know I have, literally hundreds of times over the years! But I failed to realize just how much clarity is needed for this exercise. Humans can bear just about any “what” if the “why” is compelling enough. Said differently, if you know where you are going and why you are going there, then you can persevere when tough times come.
And let’s be crystal clear before going further: TOUGH TIMES
ALWAYS COME FOR EVERYONE.
The other insight I have had on this topic is that I need to reverse the order; in other words, put the mission before the vision. I always thought vision came first, but I have discovered that is not true.
Our corporate mission at Hoffer Plastics is to go ALL-IN on people, plastics, and purpose. This statement solidifies what we do and how we do it every single day.
My personal mission is similar to our corporate mission, but this is not a necessity. What is a necessity is understanding who you are as a person, what matters, and what sorts of things you are willing to pursue sacrificially. To that end, my mission is to go ALL-In on:
- Loving God and loving people
- Loving my wife and kids
- Stewarding the resources God has entrusted me with
- Extravagantly blessing others
- Growing life-long relationships
- Promoting the dignity of work
- Sharing the love of Jesus with ALL
- Creating amazing experiences for family and friends
Initially, I focused my personal mission statement on my work. Then, I realized my mission encompassed ALL aspects of my life.
Now, I realize that my mission probably doesn’t jibe with what you want for your life — and that’s kind of the point. It is MY mission.
Your mission needs to be something that inspires you, so start creating one today.
As I mentioned, I used to think that leaders could look out over the horizon and know precisely where they must go. They had “vision.”
While I still think this is partly true, I have come to realize that the ability to do so comes from living within a mission. A vision comes into focus as leaders work day-by-day to pursue their mission. As I have heard from others, visions must be caught before they are cast.
I think that’s important, so I will repeat it: before we can cast a vision, we have to catch it.
Given my mission above, what vision am I catching?
My vision is to live a healthy life — hopefully into my hundreds — loving Jesus, Sarah, my kids, their spouses, their kids, and their kids’ kids. My life will be about doing meaningful work that:
- Builds the Church
- Builds the family
- Builds other people
But this is a leadership blog, right? I can practically hear some of you asking, “But what about Hoffer Plastics? What about your work? Why the church?”
Let me be clear:
- I am 1000% in on Hoffer Plastics. In fact, it is the primary space where I do “meaningful work.” In fact, the work enables me to do all three of the things I identified above. It is truly meaningful work to the third power.
- The Church? This is macro for me. I want to devote the best of my time and resources to helping it thrive and giving people hope worldwide. This probably does not make sense to some readers, which is okay. I have been blessed to see how the Church (macro) has come along aside me when I was a twenty-something lost in his way. I have seen how it has lifted up people of different races when no one else included them in their group. And I have seen radical love and acceptance modeled time and time again. Therefore, I am all-in here.
Before moving forward, I also understand that other people have had very different experiences in their churches. I am sorry. I am not being trite here. That is not how it is supposed to be. This reality that things are not always how they should be is something that motivates, instructs, and inspires my vision for building the Church.
I know this may sound weird, but I tried running away from working at Hoffer Plastics. Yet, here I am. I feel a calling — a tug on my heart — to use the blessings I’ve been given (and let’s be clear here, they have been plentiful!) to bless other people. Furthermore, I have seen the power of how manufacturing builds more than parts — it builds people. And this is the kind of work I want my life to be about.
It’s Not About You
Leaders, your leadership is not about you, your pursuits, or your wants and desires.
Your leadership is about using the gifts God has given you to help others in every way possible. That is what doing things with and through other people means.
Doing this is what matters.
So, get crystal clear on your mission and vision. This will help you weather life’s inevitable storms.