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You probably have seen mission statements everywhere.
They’re on walls in company lobbies and inside promotional brochures. Mission statements define a business or organization’s identity and purpose, and can go a long way in helping the company cast vision for its future.
But did you know they aren’t just for big companies? You can have a mission statement too! This is called a personal mission statement, and it could be what you’ve needed to identify your goals and find the motivation to accomplish them.
What Is a Personal Mission Statement?
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, store manager, college student, business executive, or truck driver, crafting a personal mission statement will serve you well in life. Everyone should have one! It should be just one or two sentences long and say—in simple terms—exactly what you’re all about without any principles tacked on.
Author and career coach Dan Miller says a good mission statement should include three things:
1. Your skills and abilities (what you like to do)
2. Your personality traits (how you operate)
3. Your values, dreams and passions (why you want to excel)
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Why a Personal Mission Statement Is Useful
A personal mission statement defines who you are as a person (or as a team member where you work) and identifies your purpose, whether that’s in the office or simply in life. It explains how you aim to pursue that purpose, and why it matters so much to you.
It’s important because it helps you focus on how to meet your long-term goals. It serves as a guidepost for where you want to go in life. The cost of writing a mission statement is small, but the payoff is huge because—simply put—it works!
That’s because a personal mission statement keeps you from wandering off track. For example, if a decision you plan to make doesn’t fit within the confines of your personal mission statement, you shouldn’t follow through with it. Something may be a cool idea, but that doesn’t mean you need to bring it into your life.
Dave Ramsey says a good mission statement becomes an out-of-bounds marker for your ideas. If your passion is being outdoors, is it really wise to hole yourself up in an office your entire career? Be realistic, and don’t set yourself up for failure.
People fail at what they hope to achieve because they lack clear goals and focus. They run down too many rabbit trails and lose sight of who they were made to be. In other words, they ignore their personal mission statement. But a successful person will have a rock-solid vision spelled out in their personal mission statement.
If you don’t already have a personal mission statement, there’s no time like the present to write one.
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
Once they’re written, personal mission statements seem simple. But if they’re done well, they require a lot of effort to create. So take some time to think about and write down how each of Miller’s three areas apply to you. That lays a good foundation for crafting your mission statement.
Think about your life principles and goals. Why did you set these goals? How do your goals make you a better person? The mission statement should answer these questions in 50 words or less, so try to get to the heart of who you are and exclude unnecessary details. Don’t worry if your statement doesn’t mirror someone else’s—every statement is different because no two people are the same.
Putting Your Personal Mission Statement to Use
Once you have a written mission statement, start using it! Frame it and put a copy in your home or office so you see it often. You want to surround yourself with your own positive attitude.
Not only should you live according to your personal mission statement, but it’s also important others know about it as well. You want people to know you’re going to live up to what you wrote, so spread the news! Accountability from those closest to you will help you stick to it.
Examples of Personal Mission Statements
Speaking of letting people know, the Ramsey Solutions mission statement is posted throughout the building, and every team member is required to know it like the back of their hand. It’s why we exist. It goes like this:
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"We provide biblically based, commonsense education and empowerment that give HOPE to everyone in every walk of life."
But that’s a business mission statement. Here are a few examples of personal mission statements from successful CEOs in business:
"To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be." — Oprah Winfrey
"To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes." — Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
"To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world." — Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth
And here are a few other mission statements from some well-known nonprofits:
"To inspire hope, and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research." — Mayo Clinic
"Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope." — Habitat for Humanity
"To create content that educates, informs and inspires." — Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
Ready to start working on your own personal mission statement? Having your purpose written down will add value and productivity to your life, so get started today!
Want to better understand your personal strengths so you can craft a better mission statement? Get the DISC Personality Test! It’s all done online, so order and take your test today!