How to create a personal mission statement

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement is basically a few paragraphs which outline your beliefs, goals and aims in life. What things are most important to you and how you want to live your life. Most businesses have one (all businesses should), but not everyone thinks of doing one in their personal life.

The first place I read about personal missions statements was in the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People when I was about 16. I loved the idea and did one then, but haven’t looked at that one or made another one on years.

How to write a personal mission statement

Why should you have one?
A personal mission statement is a great tool in helping you guide your life, set your priorities and live the life you want. It helps you when setting your goals or trying to make decisions. If the decisions you need to make do not line up with your mission statement, then the answer is probably no. A mission statement is an easy way to make decisions for your life once you have done it.

How do you make one?
Different people have different ways.
First, get paper and a pen or open up a file on word. Make sure you have a decent amount of time to devote to the exercise and that you will not be interrupted. Try to clear your head of the day to day things and decision you might be facing, instead just focus on the task at hand.

One of the most popular is to imagine you are at your 80th birthday and 3 people are giving talks about you, a friend, a family member and an colleague or someone similar. What do you want them to say about you? The things you think of are what you value most and how you want to be remembered by, so they are the things you should focus your mission statement on.

Other like to answer a series of questions and finish sentences such as:
– I am at my best when…
– I am at my worst when…
– What do I really love at work?
– What do I really love in my personal life?
– My natural gifts and talents are…
– If I had unlimited time and resources and I knew I could not fail, what would I do?
– What do I consider my biggest contribution in the future to be for the most important people in my life?
– Imagine you could invite the 3 people in your life who have influenced you the most to dinner. Write their names and one quality they have that you admire most.
– Are there things I feel I should change or alter, even if I have dismissed these thoughts numerous times before?
– What are your values? What is most important to you?
– Let’s think of balance as a state of fulfilment & renewal in each of the four dimensions: physical, spiritual, mental, & social/emotional. What are the single most important things you can do in each of these areas that will have the greatest positive impact on your life & help you achieve a sense of balance?
– What are some goals you would like to achieve this year?
– What kind of image do you hope to project? Is it what you are projecting?
– What are your roles in life and are you happy with them?
– What is your life journey?

Don’t rush these questions. It is important that you ponder each one properly and really ascertain how you feel and who you want to be.

As you do your mission statement you might have certain quotes, thoughts or ideas you want to include or that inspire you. This is your mission statement and it can be anything you want it to be.

Once you have answered these questions, you can begin to piece together your mission statement. It is likely there will be common words or themes throughout your answers which you can use to create a mission statement draft.

It might take you a few weeks to complete this activity and get the final copy of your personal mission statement that you are happy with and that you feel best represents how you want to live your life. That is ok. Take all the time you need. Take time to think things over.

Otherwise some more simple questions to help get you started are:

What are your favourite ways to spend your time, both in the past and now?
What makes you smile? What makes you feel good about yourself/happy and positive or like you are doing the right thing/on the right path? What or who inspires you? What regrets do you have and why? What do people ask you to help with? What things do you deeply believe in? If you were to leave an important message to your children, what legacy would you leave?

How do you apply it to your life?
It is all well and good to have a mission statement, but how do you actually apply it to your life? Keep copies of it around so your can read it regularly. Commit it to memory. When things come up in your life and you have to make a decision, does your decision line up with your mission statement? Use your mission statement when you set goals, plan activities and how you spend your time. If how you are currently living does not measure up to your mission statement, it is time to make changes so it does.

Do you have a personal mission statement? How did you make it?