In my previous post, I discussed ways of finding your purpose, how to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, how to find your passion. Okay, so now you’ve figured out what you want to do, what’s next?
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to write a personal mission statement. Why? Because when you’re faced with a difficult choice to make, choosing the option that fits with your purpose in life will be easier if you have a mission statement to reference. Also, your mission statement will (should) motivate you. Allow me to explain further.
A mission statement describes your unique purpose in life. It summarizes the talents and qualities you have and want to develop, what you want to accomplish, and what contributions you desire to make.
What are you passionate about? What really excites you? What would make you jump out of bed in the morning knowing that if you didn’t show up it would make a huge difference in the cause?
Passion is so important when creating your mission statement. If you’re not passionate about your mission, it’s not really your mission. If it doesn’t speak to your soul and keep you awake at night thinking about the possibilities, you haven’t hit on the right thing yet.
While the specifics of how you fulfill your mission may come in stages, your mission will more than likely remain the same throughout your lifetime. Even though you play different roles during different phases of your life, one thing will always remain constant – your mission.
Having a personal mission statement helps you make daily decisions. When you have a choice to make, which option gets you closer to accomplishing your ultimate goal? Will it help you to fulfill your mission? Nothing, no action, is neutral; everything you do either helps you fulfill your mission and accomplish your goals, or moves you further away from them. When you make your decisions based on your personal mission statement, you never regret it.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you will never have to do something you don’t want to do. On the contrary. There are tasks and obligations that I must fulfill on a regular basis that I don’t particularly enjoy, but they get me closer to my ultimate goal, so I do them. Sometimes they are just in line with my values, and so I complete these tasks because they help with the overall picture of who I am or want to become.
For example, my mission is to motivate, educate, and inspire others to be their best. This has been my mission since I was a child. I have not always been aware of it, in fact, I was not completely aware of it until my early 30’s. Even since I have detected my mission, I have had different jobs, roles, and goals.
As a child, my teachers called me a natural “leader.” It was a long time before I would understand what that really meant. At the time, I thought it meant I was going to be a teacher when I grew up because I was often asked to tutor other children. My attitude and ability to explain things clearly were often called upon to help motivate my fellow classmates. Teachers found that I could get their students to do what they could not. Some of my teachers thought it was because I was able to speak to these students on “their level,” but they soon found out that this talent seemed to be unique to me. I just thought I was well-liked and blessed with being a little smarter than my peers. In fact, I was already starting to fulfill my purpose in life and just didn’t know it. I have been through many jobs and changes during my career, but the happiest moments in my life have occurred while teaching in some way.
If I had been aware of my purpose earlier in life, there are many paths I would have been spared. I won’t bore you with the details; let’s just say I’ve taken a few wrong turns. A mission statement would have prevented that, so the earlier in life you do this the better off you will be, but it’s never too late. Many young self-made millionaires credit their early financial success to a personal mission statement.
To get started with crafting your personal mission statement, take the time to review your answers to the questions in my previous post, How to Decide What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. Here are those questions again in brief:
- When you were a child, how did you answer when anyone asked you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
- What special skills or talents do you have?
- There was a time, it could have been a long time ago, or recently, when you did something that made you feel like you were on top of the world. What was it? What were you doing?
- What do you like to do? What do you do in your spare time? What do you choose to read about? What are your hobbies?
- There is something that you do that, when you’re doing it, you completely lose track of time. Hours feel like minutes. What is it? What are you doing?
- What do you have a passion for?
- How much money do you need/want to make?
- What does the market need right now?
- What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Answering these questions should divulge the purpose within you that’s trying to manifest. You’ll see a theme developing; you’ll feel compelled or driven by a certain idea or set of actions. One thing’s for sure, when you’ve hit on it, you will know it. The thought of accomplishing it will resonate with your core and give you energy you quite possibly never knew you had.
The next step is to create a statement that includes a measure and a method. How will you know when you’ve accomplished your mission? How will you know you’re on the right path? How will go about fulfilling it? What result will others see in you? What results will you see in others? Below are some examples to ponder.
Examples of Personal Mission Statements
- To motivate, education, and inspire others to be their best through my writing and speaking.
- To raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children and grand children by listening to their needs and teaching them to be self-sufficient.
- Bring the level of customer service in my company to an all-time high and keep it going so that the company grows by at least 10 percent annually.
- Help the broke, lonely, down-trodden, desperate people of this world see that there is hope. To help them get on their feet and live respectable lives.
- Lead my community in becoming a better place for its citizens. To have better schools, better homes, better lives and brighter futures. To bring in companies that can provide jobs and increase the standard of living for all families.
- Use my talents and skills to help others live healthier lives.
- Help teenagers believe in themselves and help them develop their God-given talents.
- Volunteer my time, talents, and resources to provide development opportunities for disadvantaged children.
- Accomplish excellence in whatever endeavor I choose for my life.
- To use my education and experience to motivate others to want better oral hygiene for themselves and their families.
- To make a difference in my community by selectively giving some of my earnings to those in need.
- To achieve what matters most. To help others do the same.
Your mission statement may change slightly over time and that’s okay. You may need to modify it based on new levels of awareness and education. Remember that the only constant in life is change. Things change, people change, circumstances change. It’s all good. Stephen Covey says, “The key to the ability to change, is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about, and what you value.” Allow yourself the flexibility to grow your mission statement as you grow, refining it as necessary. But remember,
“If you’re not following your heart, you’re living someone else’s dream.” –Lyn Christian
Write your personal mission statement and read it to someone with whom you feel comfortable. Are you ready to share it with the world?
This post was written by Debra Moorhead, Motivation, Education, Inspiration on June 4, 2008