What’s the Difference Between Mission and Vision?


Despite these terms often being used interchangeably, they are different in critical ways.

A Vision is a definition of success at a specific point in the future.  On the other hand, a Mission is aspirational.  We’re never going to get there, we would never even be able to get there and the point isn’t actually to get there.  

Back when I lived in Birmingham, Alabama, I had my accounts at a bank whose Mission was to “Make Life Better.” That’s a great statement, but it’s not as if one day the CEO will round up all the VPs, branch managers and tellers and declare “alright everybody, we’ve officially made life better.  So we’re good!  Mission accomplished.  We can close up the bank and move on to the next.”  That’s not the point!  The point of the Mission is our never-ending pursuit of it.

But think of the sailors who navigated by the North Star centuries ago.  No matter how far they traveled, guided by Polaris, did they ever get even one inch closer to the star itself?  No.  And it’s the same with our Mission.  No matter how hard we work guided by that Mission, we’re never going to get there.  And for that reason, having a Mission, “Why” or Purpose can be inspiring, but it can also be really exhausting. 

And that’s where Vision comes in, because we need a way to feel successful at different points along our journey.  While we’re guided by a Mission that will forever be on the horizon, we can get closer and closer to our Vision – our destination – every day, in very real and tangible ways.

So next time you check out a company’s Mission and Vision on their website, do a quick assessment.  Is one aspirational while the other defines success at a specific point in the future?  If not, that organization may be trying to navigate by two different North Stars at the same time, or they may have two destinations in place without anything bigger to guide them along the way.

And how about you?  Are you actively living your own individual Mission, “Why” or Purpose, but hazy on your Vision? Or are you driving towards a clear destination but just feel like there’s something missing – something that would connect your day to day to the bigger picture?

If so, check out this blog post for some specific steps you can take to identify your own North Star and clarify your next destination as well.

P.S. And, whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you gain clarity so you can stop wasting time and start making better decisions, faster: 

1.Download my proven decision-making tool to help you filter out daily distractions and stay laser-focused on deciding the right work to do and the right time to do it. 

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2. Join my FREE private Facebook group and connect with Visionary leaders around the world who are learning how to gain more clarity so they can level up their decision-making and align their daily choices with where they ultimately want to go. 

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3. Work with me privately – If you’d like to work with me directly just schedule your complimentary Clarity Breakthrough Call with me so we can discover the root cause of what’s holding you back, determine your fastest path to gaining clarity and the step-by-step plan to make it happen so you can start making better decisions, faster.

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