Much like infomercials, I find mission statements to be incredibly fascinating. I like to see what goes into them, how they are crafted and how that message is portrayed to customers. But what you see isn’t always what you get. The turkey that comes out of the CookMaster 2000 infomercial was baked in a conventional oven and then placed in the CookMaster 2000 only after a nice layer of bronzer and lip gloss was applied. With mission statements, many companies spend way too much time and money on consultants to craft the perfect mission statement only to have to explain what it means to a confused public.
Last year I explored the idea of creating your own mission statement which you can read here and even get tips on generating your own. I like the idea of creating a mission statement to define what you do and cater it to your needs as they change. What I don’t like are vague mission statements everyone in a company has to memorize.
With that in mind, I turn my attention to bios this week. You know bios.. the things you read on the back of a book. For example: Anna Alexander is the award-winning author of such investigative pieces of journalism as Tatertot Hotdish: The Myth, The Mystery, The Midwest and Klutz: A young woman’s journey into the side of coffee tables and sharp objects. Anna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her over-achieving husband and over-scheduled and gifted children. When not producing and starring in travel documentaries, Anna relaxes by training for Iron Man triathlons and knitting. But not at the same time.
Last week I was whining to my friend Pam Atherton about various and sundry things including what I want to be when I grow up. Pam, being the wise woman she is responded to my e-mail by writing, So have you decided what IS your dream job? Spell that sucker out! Write it down as if I said to you… “Write your bio.”
Wow! Creating my own focus instead of just wishing? Being detailed about what I want? What a concept!
Out of curiosity, I Googled “creating your own bio” and found this article. The author pointed out that the standard resume is dead and we creative types need to show the world what we can do rather than tell. She explained we need to create our bios by marketing ourselves in new and interesting ways and developing a promising back story. She also emphasized seeking external validation to back up our work. You know, like getting Neil Gaiman to write a blurb about how great your book is or giving an advance copy to the President so he can be photographed with it. (I’m lookin’ at you Jonathan Franzen!) It was a great article and something I wish I had written but will keep it in my tool box for future reference.
Now is the time when I share my bio with you. But I won’t, because I haven’t written it yet and I don’t want to just throw out some fluff to fill space on my website. I need to give it a little more thought and think about what I truly want. I can tell you at this very moment my bio involves travel and writing. I’m sure other needs will fill themselves in as I go about the process and make lots of lists. I’ll share those with you as I progress.
Until then, Gentle Reader, how do you want your bio to read? What, as the saying goes, would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail? How does having a “dream bio” help you focus your goals? Have you ever thought about it before? I’m interested in your thoughts and will expand on the dream bio in future blog posts.