Banter Bites

It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane. It’s A Mission Statement?

What can you, a superhero, and corporate America have in common?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: If someone said “Superman” to you, we suspect that you’d probably be like Red, who thinks of the comic book character, although a few people might be like Black, who immediately thought of … mission statements. (Really! You can’t make this stuff up!)


Red will admit that she managed to survive the first 40+ years of her life without knowing what a mission statement even was. After all, she was a stay-at-home, self-proclaimed, warm and fuzzy mom, so why should she care about what’s obviously a business concept? On the other hand, she’d love to tell you all about her childhood memories of coming home from school and watching reruns of the black and white Superman TV series from the 1950s starring George Reeves. (She’d point out that it was many years after they were first released, and then mention for those who remember the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, that the two actors weren’t related and spelled their last names differently).

Fast forward to when Red was going through her “crisis” (her word, not Black’s). Black introduced the concept of mission statements to her – but not in terms of her concept and business plan for Red & Black, the company. Instead, it was when Black was out of town for a weekend racing her Ferrari,

During my years in corporate life, I wrote many mission statements, but it never dawned on me to write a personal one. Until this weekend. And before you ask, a mission statement is a short paragraph, or sometimes just a concise sentence, that summarizes the purpose of the business and what is most important to the company. This weekend, I found myself wanting, not the usual list of racing goals or objectives, but a sense of my reason for being. And a mission statement, if used correctly, does exactly that … it communicates focus and helps keep a sense of direction.

But what’s the connection to Superman? For Black, it was obvious. She remembered that in late 2021, Superman’s “mission statement” was evolving yet again – from the well-known fighting for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” to “Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow.” Yes, the change was most likely driven by the fact the Superman character does well internationally, so why restrict it to the “American Way,” although it was also a way to distance Superman from American politics?

Red, the lover of history, was fascinated to learn that Superman’s “American Way” only originated during the 1940s as part of the World War II effort, not as part of the original comic books of the 1930s, but when she thinks of Superman,

For me, Superman is pure entertainment. Not political. Not a business model. Although I can see where he’s inspirational, regardless of the specific slogan or mission statement. And I admit, it could make you think about your own mission statement.

Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.

For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There's so much one can say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968, and whose leadership was fundamental to the ending of legal segregation in many parts of the United States. But regardless of your position on segregation, it's almost impossible not to acknowledge, yet alone appreciate, how incredibly powerful and inspiring his words were and the impact they continue to have on the civil rights movement. But don't believe us. This goodreads post provides more than just a good read, it's a seemingly endless list of inspirational quotes while a great "refresher" course on Dr. King is available at History.com.

We grew up in New York, where bagels are almost sacred, but even though they may have started as a Jewish food in Europe, they’re now enjoyed by everyone everywhere (including Red and Black, but in very different ways) – why else would there be a National Bagel Day?

National holidays aren’t the time to count calories.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We both agree that happiness has a hole in it, although one of us may only eat one bagel a year while the other tries to keep it to only one bagel when she does indulge.

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Another year and another National Clean Your Desk Day (yes, that’s actually a thing). So, is Red’s desk any better than the “disaster” it was last year? Well, believe it or not, it may not be perfect, but it’s significantly better. Is it because she finally listened to Black’s advice (see below) or somehow found a “secret” of her own? As it turns out, it was a combination of the two as Red discovered, even if the rest of her life isn’t “nice and neat” (that’ll never happen), she loves walking into her workroom in the morning and starting the day in a (somewhat) organized space, which provides the best motivation for keeping it that way. (Luckily, Black never brought up the science of messy desks.)

A day to clean up your desk?! It will take way more than a day …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: No one is immune from piles of paper, not even Black, the master of organization, but there’s a huge difference between a desk with a few small piles and some scattered papers (although her laptop’s keyboard needs serious cleaning) and Red’s “workroom” that usually looks like a tornado hit it.

Which is why Red rolled her eyes when Black mentioned today’s National Clean Your Desk Day, as it’d take her significantly more than a day to “clean up this mess,” but then she remembered Black’s advice on how to keep her piles (and piles) of paper under control and felt inspired. Red admits often feeling like she’s drowning in paper, but that’s because she lets the piles get out of control before reminding herself of Black’s very easy, straightforward approach to turning her mountains of paper into small manageable hills. And, significantly reducing stress along the way, because as Black points out,

Sometimes, it is more important to know what you are ignoring than it is to deal with everything in the piles.