Until now I was able to simply use my personal mission and values for running this business, but as I mentioned in the previous post, it’s not going to be just me much longer. Pavlina may be my “baby” in a way, but as a business it needs its own purpose and values, such that it can maintain long-term stability even as my personal values may change. So I took the time to define a purpose statement and a set of core values for Pavlina. Just coming up with the one-line purpose statement took about 30 minutes, since I considered a lot of possibilities.
Here’s the statement of purpose, which serves as the primary focal point for this business:
Pavlina’s purpose is to help you courageously explore, creatively express, and consciously embrace your extraordinary human journey, in service to the highest good of all.
Pavlina’s core values are:
- Intelligence – consciousness, awareness, knowledge, accuracy, clarity, depth, wisdom. Pavlina makes conscious, strategic choices in order to provide tremendous value to the people it serves. It builds a staff of smart, self-aware people in order to leverage their combined intelligence, talents, and skills to serve the highest good of all.
- Contribution – service, value, making a difference, impact, creativity. This is an outlet for creative people to make a positive difference in the world, not a hive of unconscious worker drones. Helping people comes first, and generating income is important to the degree it can increase our capacity to serve. Provide outstanding value so efficiently that people question how we can possibly be making money.
- Unconditional love – compassion, empathy, brotherhood, caring, friendship. This is a love-polarized business, staffed by people who genuinely care about each other, the people they serve, and the world at large. No matter how big the business becomes, we treat people like real human beings, not numbers or dollar signs. We give because we’ve made a conscious decision to do so, not because it is forced upon us.
- Honor – honesty, integrity, fairness, courage. We muster the courage to do what is right, especially when it isn’t easy, popular, or profitable. Honest mistakes can be readily forgiven, but intentional dishonesty, deception, and cowardice have no place here. It’s OK to be human, but it’s not OK to hide from our humanity.
- Effectiveness – success, competency, efficiency, order, resourcefulness. To maximize our service, we must constantly strive to be more disciplined, organized, skillful, and productive. We push ourselves to continually develop our talents and raise our standards of personal excellence, more than anyone else would reasonably expect of us. We must strive to provide value that is received and integrated, not merely consumed and forgotten.
- Joy – passion, spirit, fun, humor, fulfillment. Work must be fun and fulfilling. We balance the intensity of our mission with light-hearted playfulness and a relaxed work environment. A paycheck, even a substantial one, is the least of our rewards. We must become the change we want to see in the world.
- Prosperity – growth, improvement, expansion, abundance. To help other people create abundance, we must embrace it ourselves. This business deserves to grow, since that will increase its capacity to serve more people. If we keep our hearts and minds focused on giving, we will never know scarcity.
In coming up with this list, one of the most helpful questions I asked myself was, “What kind of company would I want to create if I didn’t know what role I’d end up playing (CEO, employee, customer, supplier, competitor, outsider, etc)?” I considered the points in my article 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job, thinking about what kind of company would respect its employees’ humanity and individuality. I believe these problems largely stem from putting profits ahead of people, which creates a dehumanizing work environment. So with Pavlina I’ve opted to do just the opposite. Some people may consider this a fool’s errand. That isn’t going to stop me though.
This mission and these values may evolve over time, especially as the company grows and new people come on board, but I am simply not going to budge on the core principle of putting people ahead of profits. I keep this purpose and values list in front of me every day as I work, and it’s a good representation of the daily reality I already experience. It gives me tremendous clarity in making decisions that might otherwise be very difficult. I’m anxious to expand this to encompass other people with a similar passion for contribution.
FYI to come up with the statement of purpose, I used the process from The Meaning of Life: Discover Your Purpose. And for the values, I used the process from Living Your Values. Even though these are processes for individuals, it’s easy enough to adapt them for a business.