Making time for reflection and connecting with your own desires, vision, and goals in an investment that always pays in rewards, many of which are not predictable.
A personal mission statement is distinct from a vision or a bucket list. And, unlike a company or team mission statement, it’s really just for you…it’s personal. Yes, you can choose to share it (I’ll show you mine later in this article), but it only needs to speak to you, make sense to you, inspire you.
The exercise of writing your mission starts with asking yourself questions. Self-reflection can reveal profound truths. Give yourself the gift of the time and space to do this. I’ll show you how to do it in much less time than you may think.
Resources, books, and articles by Stephen Covey and others provide in-depth explanations and instructions on capturing, stuffing and mounting a massive mission statement. You can find guides to articulating your values, principles, and life achievement goals as part of the process. This could be a good exercise for a weekend retreat, though I’ve read that some suggest it can take you “weeks or months.”
One personal development author’s book is Your Personal Mission Statement: Your Roadmap to Happiness (Michal Stawiki). I have not read this book, but it comes highly recommended for those who want to deep-dive into this exercise. Stawiki notes that his recipe for making a personal mission statement is: “examine yourself to the verge of insanity; use imagination; write everything down.”
Every Carpe Diem! article I write is to empower and encourage leadership, in many forms and in various roles in life. I recommend writing a personal mission statement because I know it will help focus your lens as a leader. A personal mission statement will get stale or grow fuzzy, so you need to create a new one that gives you clarity and inspiration right now.
Set aside 5-15 minutes and follow along with the template shown here, and you’ll have a personal mission statement. You can build on it later if you want to expand the exercise.
I will use my (strength, gift, talent, skill, or passion) and my (other strength, gift, talent, skill, or passion) to (act) and to (act), so that (the big-picture impact, or how the world will improve).
I will use my (___________________) and my (___________________) to (________________) and to (_______________), so that (________________________________).
Be specific, not general, until the statement feels crystallized. Here is an example I found that is very close to the format I use and teach. Amanda is an award-winning entrepreneur and financial expert.
To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world” —Amanda Steinberg, Dailyworth.com
And here is one I wrote recently to include in the back of the new edition of my book, The Kaizen Method to Living a Healthy Lifestyle.
Personal Mission Statement
My mission is to use my experience and curiosity
to distinguish and communicate what Life continuously teaches,
to encourage myself and others to discover and strengthen our individual gifts,
express them in the world, and contribute to the evolution of appreciation.
My personal version (not in my book) ends the statement with “…the evolution of human intelligence.” By that, I am including emotional intelligence. But my book editor suggested I change it and so the above version is public, and it works because I am writing a book on appreciation (because I think it is so important, misunderstood, and missing).
The template I gave you above is a useful guide but leaves room for how you want to express yourself to yourself. Adapt it to work for you. Once you have your statement, you may want to write a short version, too. Here’s a great example:
“To make people happy” —Walt Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Productions
One can imagine the first part of his personal mission statement if he had used my template. Certainly, it would include “use my gift of being a visionary.”
Once you have your statement (good enough…not perfect!), think of several ways you can keep it present for you. You can write it on a card, frame it to sit on your desk. Put it in your phone and have it be a reminder every day. Use it during meditation. Memorize it and say it to yourself in the shower. Laminate a small copy and put on your key ring.
Get creative, because the more you absorb it, the better you’ll reflect it.
Want personal coaching with Barbara Dee? Click here.