What’s your mission? As in, what gets you out of bed in the morning? Why do you exist?
I’ve spent hundreds of hours with companies discussing their mission statements and the messages they’re sending, helping them get aligned around why they exist. Everything changes when they understand their purpose – the values they share and the impact they’re trying to create. Those mission statements end up being a compass for the culture they’re trying to develop, how they treat their customers, and what drives their work. A clear, inspired mission statement is powerful. It defines an organization’s destination so they can begin taking steps to get there.
So, if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense that a personal mission statement is just as valuable?
The answer, without question, is yes!
To guide the kind of lives we want to live, how we’ll treat our fellow humans, and what drives us, it makes sense for us to have a personal mission statement. Or, as couples and families, it makes sense to develop a statement that defines the kind of relationships we want to create and how we’ll live together.
Living life on purpose begins with defining what your purpose is.
When I dive into this with businesses and non-profits, one of the outcomes we chase is a bold statement to guide their daily work. The goal is simple. When staff walks through the doors in the morning, they can look at this statement and say, “These are the things I’m committed to doing today.” Then, when they step out at the end of the day, they can pass this statement again and ask themselves, “Did I do work today that moved me closer to our goals?”
Creating that clarity is the goal of creating a personal mission statement as well. It’s meant to allow you to ask yourself, “What is my purpose for today?” Then, as the sun goes down, “Did my actions align with my purpose today?”
The simple act of beginning with the end in mind and measuring your progress is a gamechanger.
Our first step in defining a personal mission statement is defining our core values. Start by writing down 10-15 words that capture your values. Examples might be words like creativity, loyalty, faith, generosity, and adventure. What single words describe the things that matter to me, drive me, and what I stand for? Once you’ve come up with a list of the words that describe your values, the next step is to group them and choose the 4-5 that are most important to you. Those are your core values. I’ve created a simple, step-by-step worksheet to guide you through this process. You can download it here:
Understanding your core values create a foundation for the next step in creating your personal mission statement. Ask yourself the five questions below to inspire your thinking. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, just your answers. Use my Personal Mission Statement Exercise to help you.
- What do I see as my purpose?
- What do I want to be remembered by?
- What am I passionate about?
- What makes me feel the most fulfilled?
- What do you believe in?
With your core values and the answers to those five questions in mind, it’s time to distill it all down and define your personal mission.
A personal mission statement consists of 3 parts:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Who am I doing it for?
- How will I make their lives better?
Capturing this in one sentence is the goal. Again, the Personal Mission Statement Exercise will be a helpful tool. Your mission statement may not be perfect when you first write it down – that’s ok. It may evolve as your life changes and shifts. That’s all right too. The goal is simply to create a statement that you can use as a compass in life, something you can start your day with to keep you on track and end your day with to check in with yourself.
Here’s an example I’ve used for myself in the past: My purpose is to use my creativity, positivity, and life experiences to serve others and help them reach their full potential.
Revisiting and redefining my mission statement, and walking through this with my wife and family, has been on my to-do list for a while. I recognize the value, but haven’t prioritized getting it done – I’ve let it slip lower on the list as I’ve gotten busier and busier.
Think about that statement for a moment. I haven’t gotten this done because I’m too busy. The reality is this – a personal mission statement would be an excellent tool for measuring if all of the “busy” things in my life are aligned with who I am and who I want to become. It would provide me with a new level of clarity for saying “yes” and “no” to things and prioritizing what matters most amidst all the distractions.
So, this is my launchpad. I’m excited to take you with me on this journey and will follow up in future blogs with my personal mission statement.
Do you have a personal or family mission statement? If not, my challenge for you is to create your own with me. Start by asking yourself the questions above and using the exercises I created to simplify the process, and we’ll see where we end up!
Ready for More?
If you’re ready to dig deeper into the life you’re creating for yourself, you’re in the right place. This isn’t self-help. My goal is to bring you practical, small changes you can easily implement today to make tomorrow better. If that’s what you want, subscribe here for more blogs like this one.
If you liked this, you’ll also get massive value out of the Grit Meets Growth podcast that I share with Chris Cathers. It’s for people who want more out of life… at work, at home, in their relationships, and in their health and wellness. Find it here or on your favorite podcast platform! – John