A Look Inside the Book


bookA number of years ago I participated in a weekend retreat with a group of ten very successful business men and women that I met with every month as part of an Executive Forum designed to  collaborate on how to grow our businesses and build balanced lives.

The purpose of this retreat, in part, was to define the word "Success". We discussed what we believed that word meant to each of us. Then we drilled down on how we each came to that conclusion. We discussed the lives of others we knew that we believed were successful and what were the qualities and terms by which  we deemed them successful. Other words began to surface as we described these people that pointed not only to their wealth, size and scope of business, but their values, priorities, character, impact on others, charitable activities, philanthropic endeavors, commitment to community and quality of family life. Unfortunately, God, faith, or church involvements were not mentioned. After a morning dedicated to this discussion of defining the word "success", we were given the afternoon to go back to our room to be alone with our thoughts and feelings and define what that word "success" meant to each of us in our own words.

Looking back, I now see that this was one of those defining moments in my life. As I sat alone quietly with no distractions, I began to feel the presence of God and was overwhelmed by the sudden consciousness of how important God was in my life. I became more aware that everything I had or had become was truly by the grace of God and His mercy.

It became clear to me that anything I had accomplished in the natural was still just a result of the God given talents bestowed upon me. It also became clear to me that God was ultimately in charge. It should be noted that this was a time in my life that, although I knew I was born again and knew I was saved by grace, my ultimate destination was heaven. I read the bible daily and had a very basic prayer life, I did not have a home church, did not attend any church regularly and did not have any Christian friends that I fellowshipped with regularly.

Suddenly my focus became how blessed I was and how God was really in control. Now the whole idea of what "success" was about evolved into a personal mission statement that would define to me what "success" really meant. That afternoon I wrote this statement: "Success is allowing me to maximize my God given talents to make a positive impact on everyone I come in contact with in every area of my life." Now I had something – a mission that motivated me, a real vision of "success" in my mind. I came to grips with the fact that God had blessed me with certain talents, as He does everyone that He intended to use for His glory, not mine, to fulfill His will in my life, not just what I thought I wanted to fulfill in my life. I wrote this statement down. I memorized it. I laminated it and carried it with me. It changed my life. Now I am more aware than ever I must use these gifts I have been given to the maximum. It was not just about money. I truly wanted to do something in this life on earth with the gifts God has given me.

Now, years later, my friend of over 35 years, Dick Walker, invites me to join a group of Christian businessmen at his home on Wednesday nights for fellowship and studying the Word of God. It is common for us to study a book usually geared toward men and the issues they face as Christians. One of the books was "The Mulligan", by Ken Blanchard and Wally Armstrong. We were all enjoying the book and study sessions, particularly since most of us are golfers and the theme really resonated with us, when we were particularly inspired by one of the questions in the study guide used following the weekly discussion tied to the book and DVD we watched together. The question was, "Do you have a personal mission statement?" I volunteered my statement. There was silence and then a proclamation by Paul Weigel, that I will never forget, that had a profound impact on the entire group.

Paul said, "I have been in business my entire life. I have written hundreds of mission statements, vision statements, value statements, but never a personal mission statement! I can't believe I have done all of these for all these companies I have been involved with but never one for myself and particularly how I want to live my life for Christ." The discussion that followed became very intense and exciting. All of these men wanted to develop their own personal mission statement!

I was asked if I could come up with an exercise to help these men develop their own personal mission statement.

What follows is the book you are about to read that is really a workshop designed to help you define your personal mission statement. You will read mission statements from people you are familiar with, but just as importantly personal mission statements from people just like you. They are all very inspiring.

I am amazed how, once completed, these mission statements always reflect the individual, their God given personality, their uniqueness, their love of God, and how they want to serve Him. Everyone has remarked on what a difference this has made in their lives and how happy they were that they did it.

I truly believe the same will happen to you.

I am so pleased that Gil Bailie came to me and said, "We need to write a book to help others experience what we have over the last few weeks." You can all thank Gil for what you are about to experience.

I am so blessed to use my God given talents, which I intend to maximize, in this exercise. Glory be to God!

Mark F. Graham

Contact Us