You may expect your business to have a mission statement, but do you have a mission for your life? Is there something you want to accomplish, or something you care about deeply? Have you ever put it into words, into a personal mission statement? Being able to state your own personal mission will help you clarify what your values are and what your real purpose is. Most people who have achieved greatness have been guided by a personal mission, even if they never wrote it down. Your mission is like a T-shirt that you wear around. It tells everyone what you are about. Most important, it is a reminder of why you are here on Planet Earth.
You can keep your mission inside, but writing it out gives you better clarity and focus. A mission statement should be simple, distilled down to one sentence or, better yet, just a few words. Your mission statement doesn't have to say anything about how you will accomplish this mission; you'll do that later, in your vision statement. Your mission may change depending on whom you are with and what you are doing, or just naturally over time as your interests evolve. You'll likely have a different mission for each of the areas of your life that are most important to you. So that's where we'll begin, by looking at your personal core values:
1. Prioritize your personal core values Are your friends more important to you than family? Does fame seem more interesting than education? How does having fun compare with working hard? How about inspiration versus financial security? Your personal values are the things in life that mean the most to you. Some people value inner peace, love, or family above all else, while others would put money, career, or education at the top of their list. There is no “right" list; they're like fingerprints; everyone's will be different. It's really helpful to discover what your core values are, since they will act as a compass, guiding you to what you really want in life. You can better focus your time and energy toward achieving your goals when you begin to base your decisions and actions on your values.
Here is a shortened list of some top core values to get you started. Put the values in order, starting with the most important. Love, Health, Wealth, Comfort, Fun, Happiness, Success, Learning, Peace, Family, Adventure, Security, Friendship, Inspiration, Freedom, Service. You can make notes next to any that may need a little more clarification. And you may want to check out more comprehensive values lists on the internet. One of our favorites is compiled by Steve Pavlina.
As an example, here is James’ list of values: 1. Inspiration 2. Consciousness 3. Passion for what I do 4. Optimism 5. Love (of life and for others) 6. Marriage 7. Health 8. Family 9. Friendship 10. Empowerment (of others) 11. Sincerity 12. Generosity 13. Financial Security 14. Balance
2. Give each of your personal core values a mission Next to each life value, write out a quick mission statement. We like to begin mission statements with the phrase “to be".
Here are a few of James’ mini mission statements: Inspiration - To be inspired by life and to inspire others. Optimism - To keep a positive outlook on life. Marriage - To have a happy, committed, loving marriage
3. Write your primary personal mission statement Now it's time to come up with your primary mission. This is the one main mission that keeps you really jazzed about life. Here are a few different ways you can write your primary mission:
1. Pick the most important mission from those you already created.
2. Combine a few of your individual missions into one cohesive mission.
3. Come up with something completely different from your other missions that better describes your primary purpose.
As an example, here is James’ primary mission: To inspire people to create the lives of their dreams. How did he come up with it? After seeing how many areas of his life his value of inspiration affected, James decided to use that as his primary mission and build on it. He took a look at his other values and saw that empowering others and having a positive outlook on life were in the top ten as well. Ultimately he chose a primary mission based on his passion- a feeling that resonated in his heart- which is what we want to encourage you to do too. We have found many approaches on how to write a mission statement, but through our experience, this method of turning your life values into your personal mission statement has proven to be the most effective and easy way. You are never too old or too young to have a personal mission statement, and we'd like to encourage everyone to write one. It is ensured to give you clarity on your sense of purpose, and greater success in achieving your future goals and dreams.
Want to find out how to put your mission statement into action by turning it into a personal vision statement ? Download a free e-chapter with fill-able pdf forms which walks you through the process step by step.
Beth C. and James J. Hood are the authors of Where's the Map? Create Your OWN Guide to Life after Graduation, the first of a series of interactive guidebooks designed to help you and your kids find, focus on, and achieve your goals. Subscribe to our blog for helpful advice for students, graduates, and parents about life after graduation .