Most of us are familiar with setting goals at work or for our businesses. We've taken the time to determine where we are, where we want to be, and what we need to do to get there in our careers. We've probably even written a company or work mission statement that spells out exactly what our purpose is during that 9-5. However, have you ever thought about applying this same deliberate principle to your personal life? As a parent, partner, student, and friend, you have the opportunity to be a leader in your life and help support and guide those around you. Having a personal mission statement can help you do this.
What Does It Mean to Write a Mission Statement for Yourself?
Whether you are a corporation with thousands of employees or a housewife caring for her family, it's important to understand your abilities, your goals, and most importantly, your driving purpose. As Simon Sinek said in his viral TED Talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action,
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Do you know your "Why?" Do you know what gets you out of bed every morning?
Understanding this helps to power you through the difficult times. A personal mission statement is how you uncover it for yourself and communicate it to others. Writing it down is how you take it from theoretical to practical. You make it real.
Personal Mission Statement Definition
A personal mission statement is similar to its corporate cousin in that it communicates who you are, what you do, and why you do it. A personal mission statement touches on some very deep topics, and in order to create it, you'll need to ask yourself a series of (rather introspective) questions. Sometimes, it's challenging to see things in ourselves because we're so close. If you have difficulty answering any of these questions, reach out to a close friend, family member or colleague that will be honest and helpful. It may also be useful to research some people that you admire and aspire to be like.
How to Write Your Personal Mission Statement
When you're ready to begin, ask yourself (or a trusted friend) these questions:
- What am I good at? What do I not only enjoy doing but do I excel at? If you're working with a friend, ask them what positive characteristics they see in you.
- Who am I, and who do I want to be? This can include your physical state, mental, emotional, and spiritual self.
- What do I want to accomplish? What are the goals that I've set for myself, and how do I want to impact the world? This can be both in the current moment and as the legacy you'd like to leave behind.
- Who do I help? Is your purpose to support your family? Your coworkers or employees? To learn as much as possible so you can affect change in the world?
Once you've answered these questions, you can begin formulating your mission statement. Refer below for some examples.
Here are a few tips to create the best possible statement:
- Keep it positive. Avoid using words like "don't," "won't," "shouldn't."
- Make it present tense. A mission statement isn't something you'll do in the future. It's something that you live and breathe every day (today included!)
- Avoid weak words like "try," "attempt," or "do my best."
Writing your personal mission statement isn't the last step, it's actually just the beginning. Now, it's time to live it. Post your statement in several areas of your home, office, or personal belongings so you can refer to it regularly. You can frame it and put it above your desk, pin it to the refrigerator, write it in your day planner, or set it as a Reminder on your Smartphone so it pops up at the same time every day. The more conspicuous it is, the better chance you have of following it.
Personal Leadership Statement Examples for Leaders
Whether your business card says "supervisor" or "manager" you can be a leader in every facet of your life. Leadership is not a job title, it's a state of mind. When you've accepted your leadership ability, it can show up in different areas of your life such as school, work, and your family.
Being a student is often a full-time job. Crafting a mission statement around your role as a student will help keep your focus during the most painful of exam weeks. Consider the following examples when creating your own:
- As a first-year law student, I am dedicated to learning everything I can about the practice of law and the challenges facing our planet so I can fight for our environment. I do this by focusing on my studies, keeping my mind clear, and ensuring that my work is done on time and to the best of my abilities.
- My purpose as a compassionate high school senior is to provide a good example to the underclassmen, to support my classmates, and to work towards a bright future where I can make a difference in the world and support my future family.
For Your Career
Even if you don't have direct reports or consider yourself a "leader" in the typical sense, you can still behave in a way that inspires others to be their best selves. Here are two ways to communicate that:
- As a gifted IT specialist, I provide support for my coworkers and further the mission of my company by being knowledgeable, accessible, and easy to work with.
- My professional activities as a bank teller are guided by a strong desire to serve my customers and my company. With integrity, honesty, and efficiency, I process transactions quickly, maintain a friendly attitude, and foster trust with everyone I come in contact with.
Your leadership abilities don't stop when you're off the clock or home from school. Whether you are a spouse, parent, child, or friend, you have the opportunity to inspire and fulfill your life's purpose. Consider these examples as your craft your own mission statement.
- As a loving stay-at-home mother and wife, I strive every day to be a good example for my children, support my husband as he provides for our family, and keep our home safe and healthy.
- I am a caring and empathetic friend who provides a safe place for people to air their fears and pain and to work toward solutions. I offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and am always available to celebrate.
You are a leader. Whether in your work or personal life, you have the opportunity and the responsibility to support and inspire those around you. Crafting your own personal mission statement will allow you to not only understand your role but to live it and communicate it.