Yesterday I spent an hour with Paul Shoemaker from Social Venture Partners Seattle and Jeris Miller from Compassion Action Network, Heart of The Matter Blog and Microsoft as philanthropist and social entrepreneurs Aaron from G2Bventures and Gideon from Groundwire shared their thoughts on
Doing Good; is Good Business. During the program a local entrepreneur Rick Hubbert called in and confessed he'd never really believed in GOOD… until this last year. As I engaged in the conversation yesterday I heard the word; value come up again and again.
Value as in what is important as a return from a venture; wealth, shareholder return, social return AND Values as in the characteristics a person or organization deems important.
When entrepreneurs or organizations are investing in things they don't value or worse yet things that are incongruent with their purpose and passion they acquire MISSION STRAIN. In it's earliest stages mission strain presents itself as merely the cost of leadership. Funny, thing about MISSION STRAIN , it's very seductive.
The word MISSION STRAIN came to me as I listened to Aaron and Gideon's stories of coming to a place in their lives where they were burnt out. They for one reason or another could no longer ignore the fact that they were investing their time, talents and passions in endeavors that did'n't filter; weren't congruent with their own personal desires, passions and perhaps even purpose.
Mission strain. All individuals and ALL organizations and ventures will contact it, at least once in their life and if your like me it might be a annual condition.
Have you ever seen that look in the gentleman's eyes above; in your own eyes? In the eyes of your venture?
Left to it's own Mission Strain, doing things that are not congruent with an organizations purpose, passion and talents; or an individuals, sucks the marrow; the very life out of you. It kills.
"Oh, that," you smile.
Of Course, you've experienced MISSION STRAIN before, who knows you or your venture may even be suffering from a case now.
And remember Mission Strain is not discriminative; it attacks all ventures, organizations, businesses; young and old with no respect for industry, sector of society. And it attacks ALL individuals.
The early symptoms are exhaustion, more priorities than time, an inability to say no, addiction to yes, more, more, more , under valuing sleep, discouragement and frustration.
Sometimes MISSION STRAIN even leads to body or organization odor):
Left unattended MISSION STRAIN leads to personal and organization burn out and in the worst of cases; death.
Don't be seduced, more is not better. Faster is not always preferable. Healthy people and organizations filter their activities based on their purpose, passion and desired outcomes and intents. If everything is a yes, then you have no; no and without a no, well you really don't stand for anything.
If in fact you sense burnout within; you or your venture. Now is the time to TAKE COVER!
Go immediately to the kitchen. Get your strainer out. Yes your strainer. Turn it upside down and put it on your head and sit down. Now ask yourself a few questions:
WHAT IS MY (the business/org) PURPOSE?
What AM I Passionate about? (THE business/org?)
WHAT DO I ( the business/0rg ) Believe in and VALUE?
What lights me up, makes me want to get up in the morning?
WHY AM I ( the business/org) DOING THIS?
Is what I am doing; congruent with what I believe, value and enjoy?
Is the business/org purpose an lifestyle congruent with what I want personally?
If not; keep the strainer on and keep asking questions.
Sure like the guy above, it's a little scary being honest about Mission Strain. But the minute you do; you are free to design a life and an organization that flows with who you are, what you believe and who you want to be…and who knows you may even like getting up in the morning and your business/venture it may just get out of ICU if it recovers from MISSION STRAIN.