Friday, July 23, 2010

Mission vs. Purpose - How You Do What You Do

Let me start off by saying, always be ready to listen and learn something new. You never know where you will hear wisdom and find inspiration in your everyday life, but one thing is certain. If you don't listen and pay attention, you'll miss it.

While attending the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) Joint Industry Unsaleables Conference 2010 in Las Vegas on behalf of Operation Blessing (How's that for a unique place to learn something heartfelt!), I was challenged by author Bob Livingston to consider the difference between mission and purpose and what they meant to me, my art and those whom I serve. Mr. Livingston was so kind as to give us each a copy of his book, and I can't wait to read it!

Mission was defined as WHAT YOU DO. Purpose was defined as HOW YOU DO IT. Excellence and unique success in your market were defined by HOW YOU DO WHAT YOU DO.

As photographers in a heavily saturated market of professionals and an even more heavily saturated market of high tech equipment that some claim "do the work for us," I've been asking myself a lot lately...What is different about me? Why would people come to me to be their photographer? How do I distinguish myself from the crowd? And most importantly, how can I use my skills to bless others? What is the deeper meaning here?

I spent some time contemplating myself, my business, my art, my mission and my purpose. I believe my mission is best described by my commitment to consistently exceeding my clients expectations. By using all of the tools available to me: personalized service, technical prowess, attention to detail, unique proactively pushing my skills and knowledge to the next level, by seeking to learn and understand my clients on a deeper, personal level, by critically considering where I can improve and how I can challenge myself to new heights...All of these things push me towards my mission: to consistently exceed your expectations as my client. In all areas.

My purpose brings in the tender side. How do I do this? Why do I do this? By attentively listening and actively encouraging my clients to share their dreams and hearts, it is my purpose to enrich souls with the deep knowledge and loving assurance of their unique, infinite beauty as God's perfect creations. To know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are beautiful. You are loved. And your life is memorable in a most special way.

The most striking thing that has come to my heart through this careful consideration is that both my mission and my purpose don't necessarily specifically detail my photography. They actually encompass my being and every aspect of my life. And that is where I think I am different and where I have found my reason for having this passion in me and pathway to blessing others. Yes, ultimately my photography and the images that result from our time together should be vivid, compelling and perfect reflections of your sacred moments, and I am confident that they will be. But most importantly, if you walk away from our time together with a heightened confidence of your unique beauty and the knowledge that someone cares for you deeply and you are valued richly...then I have achieved my goal. That to me is what makes me unique in how I do what I do.

I have scribbled one tiny note from the speaker that I keep returning to for motivation. Those who succeed are driven with the UNRELENTING PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE. Not personal excellence and elevated status, money, fame, the like. But in service to those around them. In humility and simplicity. Because our clients deserve excellence. You deserve my very best. And then some.

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