Companies use mission statements to let people know why they are in existence. Their mission statements could include information about who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Although corporate mission statements vary greatly, each serves as a guide for the company, its employees, and the general public.
But how many of us have personal mission statements? Informal research suggests that few people use detailed written mission statements in their own lives. Sure, most people have some idea where they are going and what they hope to accomplish, but few have actually written a formal mission statement. What are the benefits of having one? A mission statement makes it easier to define the actions and goals that will help you achieve your vision. It serves as a roadmap to get you where you want to go, helps you to measure your current reality and your progress toward your ideal life, and it allows you to evaluate your values and incorporate them into your daily life.
A mission statement is simply a statement of what guides you, what inspires you, or what you want to accomplish in your life. There are many different ways to approach writing a personal mission statement, but an effective one can be written in four simple steps:
First, list one to three values or principles that you live by and why these are important to you. If you have more than three values on your list, order them by importance to you and select the top three.
Second, list the things that bring you happiness, inspire, and satisfy you. This would include the things you do best and most enjoy doing.
Third, list the things you’ve always wanted to do or the legacy that you would like to leave.
The fourth step is combining the above three lists and using them to write your personal mission statement.
An effective mission statement will be simple, clear and brief, only two to five sentences long, and if you don't want to use your own words to write the statement, there are templates you can follow. Here are three of my favorites:
1.) I value [one to three things] because [why these are important to you]. I will [what you will do to live by these values].
2.) To live each day with [one to three things], so that [what living these values will give you]. I will do this by [specific behaviors].
3.) To treasure above all else [most important things to you] by [what you can do to live priorities].
As you write your personal mission statement, remember to keep it simple, clear, and brief. Be sure to state everything in the present tense and keep it positive. If there are any negative statements, restate or redirect them to positive statements. Make your personal mission statement part of your everyday life – keep it handy and review it frequently as you schedule your daily or weekly activities.