It’s the lesson we learn and relearn throughout our lives. Great things start with small things. The purpose of your life emerges from the things you learn and experience. And the mission of an organization like ours is always growing and must be persistently pursued.

You start with a seed, and it grows into a plant. You take a fledgling interest in a hobby, start learning about it, and it grows into a passion. You miss the ball on your first swing, but you begin to practice, and eventually you can hit it out of the park.

Or you try an experiment, which leads to deepened explorations, and it eventually leads to the information needed to make a commitment. Things that are small and insignificant can be nurtured to become large and powerful. The beginner can become the helper and eventually the leader. What is casual and random can grow to be purposeful and fateful.

The process applies to our understanding of mission as well.

First we sense or discern the mission of an organization. It may seem remote and abstract, but at least we know it is there.

But if we think about it carefully and frequently, we begin to see how it relates to something important and valuable and even identify it as something we care about.

Eventually we might identify with and value an organizational mission so much that we use it to help define our lives, our own personal purpose. Ultimately we begin to understand that by engaging with an organzation, we are also defining and clarifying its mission.

That’s what I hope is happening throughout our organization—a steady growth in understanding the personal relevance and importance of our mission. An appreciation for its value. And a willingness to take that mission as our own—knowing that we not only support it in the way we do our jobs, but also define it through the way our own work impacts it.

Idealistic? Unlikely? Impossible?

No less likely than perfecting a recipe, or mastering the violin, or learning to throw a curve ball. The result of purposeful, intentional, and persistent commitments. And what we do every day.