Excellence University Blog

Mission Connection Tip: Staying Connected to Meaningful Pursuits and Helping Others Do the Same

by Dr. Brian Higley

February 24th, 2010

So much research and experience has shown that staying connected to something meaningful can be a critical component of a satisfied and effective life, family, team and/or business.  Those who are able to identify something that adds deep meaning to their lives and find ways to pursue it (even in the face of barriers) tend to be more fulfilled and connected than those of us who struggle to do so.  This Mission Connection Tip focuses on four major phases of staying connected to a mission and helping interested others do so as well.

Mission Connection can be facilitated by becoming clear about our passions, skills, contributions and barriers to constant connection.  Attention to these areas tend to improve the chances that we will be able to promote meaning in our personal and professional lives.  Here are some ways people have been able to promote Mission Connection in their lives and the lives of others around them:

  • Phase I: Cultivate “3-Circle Clarity”. One of my favorite saying is “follow your bliss.”  I think this is often closely related to Jim Collins’ idea of being in the center of one’s “3 circles” (passion, excellence and need).  Bliss or 3-Circle clarity is a critical first phase in Mission Connection; it can be very difficult to stay connected to a Mission over the long haul if it is not something that we enjoy and/or are truly passionate about.  It can also be helpful if we have a certain level of ability in these areas and/or feel as though our mission fulfills a need in ourselves (or the world).  We often assist people with bliss and 3-Circle clarity by asking them to: (a) generate a list of all of the activities or experiences that they truly enjoy, then (b) circling the items on the list that they have a certain amount of expertise in and finally, (c) highlighting the items on the list that also can fulfill a deep need in ourselves and/or the world.  Once we are done with this list, we may wish to pursue items that are circled and highlighted (items that we enjoy, have expertise in and fulfill enough of a need that others will pay us for it) for a career while keeping other items in our lives (items we enjoy, but may not be expert enough at performing for pay) for hobbies or leisure time.
  • Phase II: Goal-set for constant connection. Expert goal-setting can be a critical way to stay connected to a mission.  So often, missions are given up on because of goals that are not set in SMART (specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic and time-bound) ways.  Click here for more on SMART Goals.
  • Phase III: Deepen focus abilities. Mission Connection takes regular focus.  Many believe that we are not well-trained to stay focused for long periods of time.  The ability to stay focused on one’s mission can be cultivated by a deeper self-awareness, more peace of mind and the ability to cope with stressful situations.
  • Phase IV: Learn and practice the art and science of persistence. Many believe that they (or others) are too lazy to stay connected to a mission.  Our research indicates that this is a myth!  Persistence is not an inborn trait as much as it is an ability to handle five major areas in life: motivation, time perception, accessibility, enjoyment and social support.  Click here for more on these 5 persistence-enhancing factors.

NOTE TO THOSE USING THE MISSION FULFILLMENT SYSTEM: You can move toward increased Mission Connection by adding a new Objective to your system using the “Add New Item” link (for example, “Stay connected to meaningful missions in my personal and professional life”).  You can then develop a SMART Goal related to that new Objective by using the “Add Subitem” link to the far right of the new Objective (for example, “Identify meaningful objectives for my personal and professional life and modify the list as needed every 6 months.”).

FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT ON THE MISSION FULFILLMENT SYSTEM: Click here to for more information and click here to sign up.

FINAL NOTE: If you were linked to this article by a video or email, please return to that link and proceed with any other instructions that you deem helpful.  For more Execution Excellence and Interpersonal Expertise tips and tools visit our site at: www.excellenceuniversity.net

Article Filed under: 3. Mission Connection Tips

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 8:15 pm


    I just happened to wander by and read your column here. Having garnered much from learning to set SMART goals,several years ago in a class you taught, I can, from experience, echo your point about how being connected to something meaningful can and does add a genuine level of great meaning to one’s life. For me personally phase II and phase III are intimately related as I’ve found frequently revisiting and even on occasion revising my goals, has been instrumental to building my bliss.

    I enjoyed the thoughts you shared here.

    Regards, Richard

  • 2. Brian Higley  |  February 24th, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Very nice to hear from you, Richard!

    I agree with your thoughts on how related Phases II and III are in the process of Mission Connection. I often say that with more focus, SMART Goals can become even “SMARTer.” For example, the R in SMART stands for “Realistic.” With more consistent focus, more things can become more realistic (as I know you know).

    Great to hear from you again, Richard; please stop by whenever you have the inclination. Your good comments add a lot to this blog!

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