Rachel Curry

Mission centric, mission pithy

Living your mission


Sep 15


Are you memorable?

A mission statement has to be memorable to be remembered. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? It has to be simple, short, and meaningful. Then, living that mission becomes easy as breathing. You know what to say yes to, and what to say no to.

I recently came across a memorable mission statement by Frederick Marx, a filmmaker:

“Bearing witness, creating change”

That’s his mission. So pithy! And so rich. It speaks to me of honoring my story and honoring yours. I become more aware of my story, and begin to notice the stories of others. When I truly hear someone else’s life from their viewpoint, we hear the story together, and this experience of bearing witness together changes us both. What a wonderful place to be!

So, who is this Frederick Marx?

Frederick Marx is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated director/writer with 35 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year for 1994, a 1995 Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award.

His film HOOP DREAMS played in hundreds of theatres nationwide after winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York Film Festival. It was on over 100 “Ten Best” lists nationwide and was named Best Film of the Year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turran and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it Best Film of the Decade. It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history. Read more.

I recently watched Frederick’s short film, RITES OF PASSAGE, where his mission really comes to life:


Without rites of passage, young people find a way to mark their coming into adulthood in self-destructive ways. Rites of passage allow a community to bear witness to an emerging adult, which creates positive changes in them and those around them. Everyone wins.


MAKE IT REAL: Do your actions line up with who you are? In other words, do your life–and works–line up with your personal mission? And how simple, short, and meaningful is your personal mission? Is it memorable?

2 Responses to “Mission centric, mission pithy”

  1. Joy Garratt

    Good thought to reflect on! I am currently–starting yesterday–developing my personal mission statement and professional development plan as an instructional coach in a large elementary school. This inspired me to make a pyramid type model: short pithy sitting on a foundation of my values statement and implementation plan. Thanks, Rachel!

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