Mission, a fundamental tool for achievement

Outdoor survival is an interest and hobby of mine. What has kept me so intrigued with the untamed wilderness is that there is no better place to experience and learn about life in its most raw form. The lessons that the sometimes harsh and unforgiving wilderness teach, if not applied correctly, are literally the difference between life and death.

Imagine finding yourself lost and alone in a remote forest. There are a few essential things you’re going to need for long-term survival. At the top of the list is your mission to survive. Without even knowing how to make survival a reality, the internalization of this mission multiplies your likelihood of success.

Internalization of a mission multiplies your likelihood of success

A mission is deeper than a goal. A goal or objective is something you set out to accomplish to achieve your mission. The mission sets the guiding principle(s) that the goals are formulated and centered around.

Just as important as the mission itself, is the why behind the mission. Why is that your mission? Why do you want to survive? The why is the fuel that drives your underlying desire to achieve the mission and specific goals and objectives contributing to it.

A why that reaches beyond yourself, is much more powerful and sustaining as the work to achieve the mission becomes difficult. A self-centered why, such as a desire to survive because of your fear of death, is less sustainable than a why focused on coming home to guide, love, and mentor your children, knowing that their life will be much more difficult without you. You will be willing to do more and push through greater hardships with a selfless why as your motivation.

When a selfless ‘why’ is established as the primary driving force, more will be accomplished

In a pharmaceutical sales scenario, when the why behind the work done is primarily to surpass company goals to earn a larger bonus, it is less sustaining than a pharmaceutical sales person whose why is centered around saving lives through persistence in education. It does not mean that both financial gains and saving lives are not considered benefits to each sales person, but when the selfless why is established as the primary driving force, more will be accomplished and mutually beneficial impact will be sustained.

Take for example a situation where an uncontrollable market dynamic, like a physician retiring, reduces prescriptions for a medication the pharmaceutical sales person sales. The effort this pharmaceutical sales person puts forth will wain when he knows that there is little possibility that he will achieve the number of prescriptions required to obtain a significant bonus. In contrast, when the mission is saving lives and making a positive difference in the disease his medications treat, the effort put forth by the sales person does not decrease. In fact, often times, the urgency and focused action to create impact for this unmet need increases.

Establish your mission:

For a parent, what is your mission? For my wife and me, it is: We will raise our children to be happy, empowered, self-sufficient individuals that are engaged in the pursuit of their dreams and in the lessons life teaches us along the way. They will do this without inferiority nor superiority to others around them, while being armed with the courage to act with integrity and to stand-up for what is right. When we look at how we parent, our goals and actions should all be aligned with achieving that mission. We aren’t perfect as parents. We never will be. If I’m honest, everything we do today is not fully aligned with that mission, but the more we re-center ourselves around that mission, the more consistently our actions become aligned with it and the closer we move towards achieving our mission.

In the rare-disease bio-pharmaceutical market, my team’s mission was more simplistic. We will transcend what has been done within the rare disease space to improve patient outcomes by MAKING IT PERSONAL! Goals and actions are directed towards innovation and accomplishing more than has been done in the past. Each goal and action should also be fully aligned with improving patient outcomes by placing ourselves in the shoes of patients or their families and friends.

For a school custodian supervisor, a mission to do what he has to do to make a dollar sets an entirely different trajectory than a purpose centered around a clean and sterile environment to enable healthy and productive education for the future leaders of our society.

Take time to ask yourself, in your profession or role within society and family, is your mission centered around superficial accomplishments, without a why that transcends self, or is it centered around changing the world for the positive within the sphere of influence you have been granted?

In summary, your mission and the why behind it sets your trajectory for what you will accomplish. In an outdoor survival situation, with survival fully internalized as your mission, your actions become aligned to that mission. Actions are used to accomplish goals like obtaining clean water, shelter or food, which all help to obtain your mission of survival. With a why that reaches beyond yourself, your mission is more sustainable as hardships occur.

The Customer’s Mission:

The mission and goals of customers are just as important as our own, in selling situations. The mission and goals of those we sell to offer key insights that help to create true mutually beneficial selling situations. It allows us to determine relevancy for what we have to offer and assists us in connecting the dots of that relevancy for our customers.

Knowing the mission and goals of our customers is just as important as knowing our own

Knowing your customers goals, such as, improving school math scores for an elementary school administrator, provides a starting point to establish value for fulfilling an unmet customer need. If my product is an automated program that saves an hour each day correcting tests and assignments for teachers, I can connect the dots on how the product I represent frees up more focused time for each teacher to spend on specific math needs, which helps the school achieve their goal. As I connect the dots for the customer, my product establishes relevant value.

Going one level deeper than goals and gaining a clear understanding of the mission of the elementary school, which may be to be ranked among the top 10 schools in the state on a consistent basis, opens up even more opportunity to create value. Instead of just helping with math scores, my product sets the school apart with state-of-the-art innovation that can be used for enhancing the curriculum for subjects beyond their most immediate math scores need. 

Understanding the why adds an even deeper level to connect on emotionally. When I uncover that the why is to obtain additional state funding to establish the best educational foundation possible for the children within their community, providing students the tools needed for success in life, even more doors open for mutually beneficial selling relationships.

Understanding the driving force behind a customer’s goals and mission creates more mutually beneficial selling opportunities

New goals, not yet considered by the customer, may emerge as the understanding of my product and the understanding of the driving force behind the school’s mission are merged. Ingenuity can now be used to generate ideas to further the school’s mission with even more relevant possibilities for the diverse application my product provides for this specific customer.

Many times, our customers haven’t taken the time to really determine their mission. They are acting on emotion or out of habit. Our line of questioning can prompt customers to think more deeply about what they really do want to accomplish, which opens up greater selling opportunities, as well as personal and professional satisfaction for our customers.


Excerpts from EMPOWERMENT through Sales, a proven, simple, and widely applicable formula to positively shape the world around you, by Travis N. Jensen and CYFworld Press. For information on the upcoming publication subscribe at CYFworld.com

Copyright © 2017 CYFworld All Rights Reserved.

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