A personal mission statement is a bit different from a company mission statement, but the fundamental principles are the same. Writing a personal mission statement offers the opportunity to establish what’s important and perhaps make a decision to stick to it before we even start a career. Or it enables us to chart a new course when we’re at a career crossroads. Steven Covey (in First Things First) refers to developing a mission statement as “connecting with your own unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes from fulfilling it.”
A personal mission statement helps identify your core values and beliefs. Michael Goodman (in The Potato Chip Difference: How to Apply Leading Edge Marketing Strategies to Landing the Job You Want) states that a personal mission statement is “an articulation of what you’re all about and what success looks like to you.”
The biggest problem most people face is not in wanting to have a personal mission statement, but actually writing it. So, to help you get started on your personal mission statement, here is a five-step mission-building process. Take as much time on each step as you need — and remember to dig deeply to develop a mission statement that is both authentic and honest.
Steps Toward Personal Mission Statement Development
Step 1: Identify Past Successes.
Spend some time identifying four or five examples where you have had personal success in recent years. These successes could be at work, in your community, in your church, at home, etc. Write them down.
Try to identify whether there is a common theme — or themes — to these examples. Write them down.
Step 2: Identify Core Values.
Develop a list of attributes that you believe identify who you are and what your priorities are. The list can be as long as you need.
Once your list is complete, see if you can narrow your values to five or six most important values.
Finally, see if you can choose the one value that is most important to you.
Step 3: Identify Contributions.
Make a list of the ways you could make a difference. In an ideal situation, how could you contribute best to the world in general, your family, your employer or future employers, your friends, your church, your community.
Step 4: Identify Goals.
Spend some time thinking about your priorities in life and the goals you have for yourself.
Make a list of your personal goals, perhaps in the short-term (up to three years) and the long-term (beyond three years).
Step 5: Write Mission Statement.
Based on the first four steps and a better understanding of yourself, begin writing your personal mission statement.