Have you ever gone through the tedious process of developing a mission statement? You put words and phrases together and brainstorm them. You move the words around and bring in other phrases. It is often a collaborative project and the result is sometimes good and other times just a politically correct jumble of words.
I have worked for many months trying to develop a mission statement for my life and also for this blog. Many words have come and gone, and I even logged into Steven Covey’s website and tried his Mission Statement builder. The result has always been less than perfect… always a compromise, and never something that I could say “that’s it!” The phrase “Fire Up Today” is as close as I have come to a completed statement.
I can picture in my mind different pictures of success, the champion winning a race, the dial on a scale indicating weight loss, and the chancellor handing a student a diploma. All of those pictures indicate a successful outcome. But how do you define it? I never have come up with a worded definintion that I feel comfortable with for “Success”, much less a mission statement.
That is until today…
On the wrapper of my Starbucks coffee was the word “Succedaneum,” which is listed as the winning word from the 2001 national spelling bee. This caught my eye with the succed part and I had to know what it meant. I looked it up and I found the definition is…
Succedaneum: a person or thing that takes or can take the place of another.
In other words a “substitute.” This really hit me in a profound way. I have spent many years battling with negative attitudes and those “nattering nabobs of negativity” that constantly light on my shoulder and whisper in my ear little sayings like… You can’t do that, you’re a failure, do it tomorrow etc.
It became so clear… this blog can be a “substitute” for negativity and failure. The authors and speakers we discuss here are Succedaneous (acting as a succedaneum, employed as a substitute for another.) or in common terms a “substitute” for the voices of failure and negativity that inhabit the airwaves and written word of our modern society.
When we discuss books like “Integrity” by Henry Cloud or the John Maxwell classic, “Becoming a Person of Influence“, the message is positive and helpful. Books like this have had a profound impact on my life and are clearly better than watching the evening news or the latest sitcom. The links on this blog point to many positive and extremely helpful websites that are uplifting and clearly a substitute for much of the negativity found on the web today.
Succedaneous is what I want for my life. The ability to be different and offer a “substitute” for the destructive attitudes and divisiveness of our current society. This is not always easy to accomplish but it is a goal to work for. This one word is a powerful mission statement in itself and one of the best I’ve found.
I’ve also discovered some succedaneous habits that are relatively easy to implement one month at a time in the 12habits program. When you can substitute a positive habit for a negative one, great things can happen.
With the Easter season upon I am thankful for the Savior that came 2000 years ago as a succedaneum for my sin. Who died on a cross in my place so I didn’t have to. I am forever grateful.