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.
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.
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.
When you're ready to begin, ask yourself (or a trusted friend) these questions:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.