A Perfect Personal Mission Statement is very important. There are many different ways to write a personal mission statement. Despite this there are also some commonalities and good guidelines you can follow when writing your own. Writing your own personal mission statement will give you a clear view of your goals, values, and relationships. Grab a pen and paper and let’s get started.
Understand the benefits of writing your personal mission statement.
- Learn more about yourself. When you sit down to create your own mission statement it will force you to examine yourself in more detail than usual. You will need to learn just what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.
- Express and understand your goals clearly. You might have a broad understanding of what you want to achieve in life, but it may be difficult to put that understanding into precise words. Examining your goals will allow you to focus them into clear and concise statements.
- Knowing your goals will help you to achieve them more easily.
- Relate your goals and how to achieve them to your values and beliefs.
- Make your statement a way of life. Creating a personal mission statement will allow you to start living your goals and values. After clarifying and focusing your ideals and life direction you will be able to work your mission statement into everything you do.
- Don’t just settle for writing your statement on paper.
- Always strive to live in accordance with your values and beliefs.
2. Imagine who you want to be.
- Find a person you admire. Examine that person that you most admire. Discover the qualities in them that you find so admirable. List those qualities and think about how you could best bring them into your own life.
- Try to make this list as detailed as you can.
- Start practicing these qualities from your list in your daily life.
- Imagine who you want to be. Try to picture exactly who it is you want to become. Envision the details of your accomplishments, your personality, or any future you may want to find yourself living in.
- For now, forget about how you will achieve this.
- Focus only on what you want to achieve.
- Think of the roles you play. Examine your relationships with friends, family, career, hobbies, or other areas of your life. Think about how you would want to be described in these relationships.
- Understand your roles and what you want from them.
3. Start discovering you.
- The personal mission statement is focused on self-discovery, rather than creation.
- Your mission statement should be written only to inspire you, not to impress another person.
- Knowing yourself will help you to relate to and engage with the world at large.
Developing Your Mission Statement
1. Answer life questions with your statement.
- What do I want from life?
- What are my values?
- What do I excel at?
- What do I hope to accomplish?
- How do I want to be remembered?
2. Understand your beliefs.
- Clarify your beliefs on a broad level first. Ask yourself the big questions:
- How should I treat people?
- How would I like to be treated?
- What do I want the world I live in to be like?
- What do the words Justice, Truth, Love, etc, mean to me?
- Work to apply the broad beliefs to more focused issues. Think of detailed situations and how your beliefs would be applied. For example:
- If someone is treating me poorly, how will I respond?
- What should I do if someone asks something of me that goes against my beliefs?
- What profession would allow me to practice my beliefs?
3. Focus on the roles you play.
- For instance, think of your professional role. Where do you want to be, professionally, in a few years time? What responsibilities do you see that role requiring of you? What attitudes or practices have you found to work best for you in your profession?
- Understanding each role will help us to balance our focus on the roles that most need it.
- Once you have your mission statement, apply it to your roles and relationships directly.
4. Create goals
- Some examples of a goal would be, “I want an increase of five percent in my salary within six months” or “By next year, I want to lose twenty pounds”
- Goals are the foundation of our roles and mission.
- Goals have deadlines and very specific details.
- Goals allow us to fulfill our roles and realize our mission statement.
5. Start living your mission statement.
- Examine your actions and check that they are in accordance with your own beliefs, goals, and values.
- Ask yourself if your goals are realistic for you. You may have to change details of your goals, for example, moving a deadline to a more reasonable time.
- After you have a good understanding of yourself, goals, and mission statement, it’s time to start writing it.
Writing Your Mission Statement
1. Create a draft of your personal mission statement.
- Your draft should contain at least a rough outline and include the following information:
- Your name.
- Your overall statement.
- Who inspires you and why.
- What qualities you want to obtain.
- What roles you play and how you want to be known for those roles.
- Specific goals you have.
- Beliefs that you hold.
- Anything else you might want to focus on.
- Evaluate how well you feel your first draft matches your values and actions.
- Feel free to add or remove ideas or parts of your first draft.
2. Lay out your final draft.
- Benjamin Franklin opted for a list of concepts and then wrote his thoughts about each to form his mission statement. “Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve…”
- Gandhi wrote his mission statement using active phrases such as “I will” or “I shall. “…I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth…”
- Your actual mission statement could be no longer than a paragraph. Aim to capture everything from your goals, to your beliefs and values. An example would be “I am a responsible student who values and practices hard work and rigorous study. I will achieve and maintain a 4.0 GPA during my time of study. I will graduate with honors by December this year.”
3. Write a final draft.
- Compare your actions to your statement to make sure you are living as you intend.
- Work your mission statement in every area of your life that you can.
- Check to make sure you are meeting your goals in a way that is in line with your own self.
- Add or remove whatever parts you see fit.
- Find a format and style that suits your own personal best. Don’t be afraid to make your own, as this is your personal mission statement.
4. Review your statement periodically.
- Don’t be afraid to change any part of your mission statement.
- Examine any changes with the same scrutiny that you did when first making your statement.
Companies have developed mission statements for years. It helps guide them by defining who they are and why they do what they do. Coca-Cola’s mission statement, for example, is “To refresh the world. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness. To create value and make a difference.” For Google, it’s “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
When Stephen R. Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People in 1989, he put a spin on the idea, suggesting that individuals create their own mission statement as part of his second habit: begin with the end in mind. Twenty-five years later, personal mission statements, sometimes called purpose statements, are proving to be a good tool for high achievers.
“If you want to be successful, you need to think of yourself as a personal brand,” says William Arruda, author of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives. “A personal mission statement is a critical piece of your brand because it helps you stay focused.”
Writing one, however, takes introspection. Arruda suggests asking yourself, what am I passionate about? What are my values? What makes me great?
“We all have super powers–things we do better than anyone else,” he says, adding that it helps to ask someone else what your talents are. “These things often feel natural to us, but it’s important to see them as being special.”
When you’re ready to write, Arruda offers a template that links together three elements: The value you create + who you’re creating it for + the expected outcome. For example: I use my passion and expertise in technology to inspire researchers to create drugs to cure rare diseases.
Each piece is helpful to create the complete puzzle, but Arruda says the most important is the first, your value. “This is your core DNA–your operating principles,” he says. “These are the things that inspire and energize you.”
A personal mission statement is a powerful tool because it provides you with a path for success, and it gives you permission to say no to the things that are distractions. It also changes over time. “As we get older, we have more life experiences and acquire new skills,” Arruda says. “If your mission statement doesn’t change, you risk not being relevant any more.”
While you write a personal mission statement for yourself, there is power in sharing it. “The more you share, the more support you get to achieve your mission,” he says. “Friends and mentors can support you or call you out if you’re doing something counterproductive.”
Here are five examples of real-life personal mission statements:
1. DENISE MORRISON, CEO OF CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY
“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”
In a Morrison said, “The personal mission statement was important for me because I believe that you can’t lead others unless you have a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for. For me, living a balanced life means nurturing the academic, physical, and spiritual aspects of my life so I can maintain a sense of well-being and self-esteem.”
2. JOEL MANBY, CEO OF HERSCHEND FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
“I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement: to love God and love others.”
Manby’s company, Herschend Family Entertainment, owns and operates 26 family-oriented theme parks and attractions across the United States, including Dollywood and the Harlem Globetrotters. He told Skip Prichard that he achieves his personal mission statement in his own endeavors, but feels blessed to be able to achieve it in a growing, profitable business.
3. OPRAH WINFREY, FOUNDER OF OWN, THE OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
In an issue of O magazine, Winfrey recalls watching her grandmother churn butter and wash clothes in a cast-iron pot in the yard. A small voice inside of her told her that her life would be more than hanging clothes on a line. She eventually realized she wanted to be a teacher, but “I never imagined it would be on TV,” she writes.
4. SIR RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER OF THE VIRGIN GROUP
“To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.”
Branson shared his personal mission statement in an interview with Motivated magazine. He added that “In business, know how to be a good leader and always try to bring out the best in people. It’s very simple: listen to them, trust in them, believe in them, respect them, and let them have a go!”
5. AMANDA STEINBERG, FOUNDER OF DAILYWORTH.COM
“To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world.”
Steinberg launched DailyWorth in 2009 to help women build wealth. Since then, she’s grown her site to more than 1 million subscribers. “I believe financially empowered women are the key to world peace,” she says.