Tamale, Glass & a 45
Yesterday at SmallBox, my coworker Justin Shimp started playing some songs from his youth. It sparked a conversation about music we bought when we were kids. There was a brief time in my early music-buying days when new releases were still pressed on vinyl. My sister and I had some great albums – Madonna’s True Blue, Thriller, and some true eighties gems like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.
When I think of my early music obsessions, I always think of a 45 I had of Suzanne Vega’s My Name is Luka. On the flip side, she sang a Spanish version of the song. As a young midwestener, it was exotic and mind-blowing – and in hindsight it was pretty darn progressive for the time.
Reminiscing about that 45, I’ve decided I’ve got to have it again. I’ll be scouring used record bins, and I’m pretty excited about this new vinyl mission.
See, here’s the thing. I don’t like to mindlessly shop for things. One of the reasons I love going to antique stores is because I have an almost complete set of light blue depression glass. Five tea cups, six saucers, six side plates and three dinner plates. Four pieces away from completion. I’m sure I could find them on eBay, but then I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of the hunt. I love going in to places like this with a mission. I have others, like finding the best tamale, and now, an old Suzanne Vega 45. I like attaching purpose to the things I do.
It has me thinking about vision and mission in business and life too. I recently went through an exercise with the Indy Film Fest board to revisit our own statements. Like so many businesses and organizations, ours didn’t really reflect our identity. The statement was stiff and boring and verbose. As a group, we brainstormed. We stared at each other a little. We had a hard time finding our voice, feeling okay adding personality into something so official as the MISSION statement. We wrote several lines, mashed them up, crossed some out, narrowed it down.
It was liberating. And awesome. I can say our new mission statement in conversation and feel like a real person, not a talking head reciting some lofty, meaningless phrase.
I’ve read some personal mission statements here and there on the web. Often, I don’t feel like they say much of anything about the person they’re meant to describe. I’ve never gone through the process for myself personally. Maybe it’s time, but I’m hoping for something bigger, more defining than the little missions I assign myself.
If I write it, will I use it? Will I put it here on my blog or my resume? Will it guide the choices I make? I’m not sure, but I think I’ll enjoy the process either way.
Until then, placeholder: ‘I seek the best tamale in the world, an old Suzanna Vega 45 with My Name is Luka en español and blue depression glass plates and tea cup.’
Posted on: 03.31.2011