I just finished reading Mojo by Marshall Goldsmith. One of the exercises that caught my eye was the personal mission statement, mostly because Goldsmith recognizes how often this is a bad exercise and insists, nonetheless, that there is value in doing it well. I work with a partner, so I am reflecting here on my mission, his mission and our mission.
I am an artist and what I create are situations that enhance learning. This does mean I am a teacher, but there are teachers who are not artists - teachers whose central mission is to teach. Mine is not exactly the same. I create learning situations in the way that a painter creates paintings.
My training partner, Chris, is also not primarily a teacher. He is a healer who is extraordinarily adept at discovering the points in a person's history that need to heal so that learning and progress can happen. When we work together, I monitor the correspondence between the process and the people in the process so that learning can happen. He monitors the well-being of each individual so that he can connect them more effectively to the process so that learning can happen. Both of us assume that learning happens whenever and wherever it is supported.
Our mission together is to shape experiences that encourage people to be more precise in using their ideas, sensory experience and language to foster well-being in themselves and others. When we are on mission, we are engaged in training people so that they are more aware, more motivated, and more effective. We can only achieve this mission when we are both living our individual missions: I create structures and modify them so that people learn better while Chris identifies leverage points within people and shifts them so that they can learn better. We get the strongest results in the shortest time when we are working together.
Like other performing artists and all healers, we can only work when there are people with whom to work. We search restlessly for the one condition most necessary to live our missions - the people in the room.