I used to believe a mission statement was just a catchy corporate slogan a company would use as a consumer-facing marketing pitch--until I was tasked with creating one for my own business for the first time. For anyone who has gone through this exercise in earnest, you'll appreciate that it's not a quick exercise; it involves a lot of deep examination and thought. When it's your own business, your baby that you've been nurturing and growing, a mission statement can become a much more symbolic statement of who you are, what you stand for, and what drives you. Led by our first business coach in 2014, my business partner and I created our mission statement for Galli + Seidl Real Estate. What I didn't realize then is just how powerful this statement would become in driving so many aspects of my life, inside and outside of business.
In fact, I have only recently realized that I have been using my mission statement as a filter for setting priorities in my life and making decisions all along. For me, the mission statement remains as authentic today as it was when we originally crafted it, despite my business looking far different today than it did when we created it. And what became clear to me recently is that it has actually become a statement of how I want to live my life; how I want to parent; how I want to contribute my time to the world. It really has nothing to do with real estate. There's no magic to the mission statement itself and it's not perfectly stated, but it encompasses 3 components that are leading me in life -- passion (love), purpose (meaning), and value/connection to community (contribution).
My mission is to provide lasting value in my community through passion and purpose in everything I do. And though it was crafted 6 years ago with my business partner for our business, I feel my DNA in that statement at such a deep level that it has transcended my real estate business. It's now the filter through which I view most of the projects in my life, including this blog. I now use it as a test to decide whether I'm on the right track, whether I'm in alignment, and whether something is a "Hell Yes" or a "Meh". Typically, if I'm feeling out of alignment or if something feels "Meh", it's because I'm missing one of the 3 components of my mission statement.
I'm very deliberate in my actions and decision-making. I don't know whether I'm getting more selfish as I get older, or if I'm just getting better at finding authenticity in what I choose to say "yes" vs "no" to, but living by my mission statement has led me to say no to a lot more things in my life. When I reached that breaking point in my real estate business 3 years ago and decided to pump the brakes so I could reprioritize my life, I realized I didn't feel a sense of purpose with what I was doing anymore. Well, if I'm being honest, the purpose I felt was to grow enough that I could work my way out of doing what I was doing. And when I stepped back and examined it, that felt shitty to me. Totally lacking the passion of the journey itself. I've spent the last 3 years trying to reimagine and reshape my real estate business so that I'm back in alignment with my mission: passion, purpose, and contribution all intact. I believe I could phone it in, but I don't believe I'm creating any lasting value to my community, myself, or my family by doing that. There's no fulfillment in that.
I've spent a lot of time and effort over the last couple years working on that passion + purpose component of my mission statement, doing the inner work, and untethering it from my career. It didn't click until very recently that the component that was missing from all of that was the contribution/value component. I'm still working through that and trying to better understand how I can put all the inner work and lessons from the last couple years to use in a way that makes a positive contribution. This blog is a start at sharing with others who may be in a similar place; taking a risk to share my voice in case I can have a positive impact on even 1 single person. I have no doubt that the single most positive change I have made in making a meaningful contribution is with my family. The deliberate reprioritization of my life has had a huge impact on my daughters, in particular. They are seeing me pursue interests beyond the scope of "career" with passion and purpose, as well as benefiting from me being present for them. If I can impart one thing on them, it's that I desperately want them to understand their worth is not determined by their extrinsic accomplishments or career. I'm still trying to learn that myself.
I'll give a very real and recent example of using my mission statement as a decision-making filter. In fact, it was this decision that highlighted for me how much my mission statement means to me. Recently, my brother asked if I would be interested in helping him with some strategy and marketing of his startup, Health 2 Benefits. (H2B is attempting to disrupt the current health insurance benefits space by providing a more cost-effective, sustainable model for providing employee benefits, without the traditional insurance plan in the middle.) To be clear, this has zero to do with real estate and it's a far cry from real estate marketing. However, I'm super passionate about anything having to do with health and I get really fired up about the current state of healthcare and insurance waste and inefficiency in our country. Unbeknownst to many, I'm not a total newbie in this space. Before I started my real estate career, I worked in the consulting industry for Triage Consulting Group, helping hospitals with their insurance contracts and reimbursements. However, taking this new commitment added another thing to my growing plate of projects and passions: momming (which also means I'm a math tutor, cheerleader, housecleaner and Uber service for my kids!), Chief Happiness Officer for Gallicorp, wife, real estate investor, Realtor, business owner, non-profit Board member/officer, Girls on the Run Coach, school volunteer, yogi, writer, and now helping startup warriors (ie. trade passion for a sense of meaning because there's no $$ -- haha!)
So did I do it? Hell Yes! Before agreeing to help my brother's team, I had to pause and ask myself if this was too incongruent with everything else I was working on. When I ran it through the filter of my mission statement, I realized it was totally in alignment with my mission. I have passion for it. Check. Not only the cause itself, but I am really passionate about business-building and helping people reach their potential. I believe in their mission and it gives me a sense of purpose to help a driven, talented group of people serve as solution-makers in a very inefficient system. And contributing to their efforts in any way I can WILL add lasting value to the community if it helps the H2B team gain traction and momentum in delivering that solution. In fact, their whole program is based on community-minded solutions. It checked all the boxes on my mission statement so I will continue to look for ways to contribute my skills to them.
It was this recent experience that made me fully appreciate that the mission statement Brooke and I drafted 6 years ago (thanks, Brookie!) had never really been a consumer-facing slogan for me at all. It really had nothing specifically to do with real estate at all either. For me, it's simply a statement of how I want to live my life. Passion (Love). Purpose (Meaning). Value/Community (Contribution).