Each of us has our own values, purpose, and desired direction, but often exactly what they are can be elusive. This is why it helps to have a personal mission statement, something that gives us clarity on how we want to live our lives and ultimately achieve personal growth and well-being.
Writing a mission statement can help us clarify our values and better understand whether we are spending our time in the best way. It can also provide a sense of inner stability during times of change (Searight & Searight, 2011).
A personal mission statement is a written statement of your unique direction or goal. This statement makes it clear not only what you intend to do in this world, but how you intend to do it. Sometimes it is a single sentence, but it can be as long as needed.
What is your personal mission?
Many of us have spent very little time thinking about our personal mission in life. We are too absorbed in the immediate and urgent tasks to think about what we want to do in this life and where we want to end up. As a result, we may experience a low level of unhappiness – we know the way we go about our life doesn’t make us happy, but we don’t know why. Reflecting on our mission can be one way to begin to resolve this discontent.
Answering these questions can help you better understand your life’s mission.
- What impact do you want to have in the world?
- How? ‘Or’ What do you want to have an impact?
- Which do you want to have an impact?
- What makes you the happiest and most alive?
Consider the end
Another way to better understand what you want to do with a living is to think about the end of your life and what you hope you will have accomplished. Then work back. It has been suggested that we could imagine attending our own funeral. Think about what would be said in the eulogy and whether it reflects your values and goals (Searight & Searight, 2011). If you find that this review of today’s version of you isn’t what you really want, clarify for yourself what you To do want and think about how your mission statement can guide you toward that end goal.
What are your values?
Then ask yourself what are your values? That is, what are the underlying traits, beliefs or experiences that motivate you and make you feel like you?
Some values may be Love, Honesty, Freedom, Creativity, Kindness, Adventure, Loyalty, etc …
Make sure your mission reflects these values so you don’t end up pursuing a goal in a way that doesn’t align with your values. This way, you are more likely to feel more fulfilled as you strive to accomplish your mission.
Be clear about your goals
In addition to your values, it helps to be even clearer about your goals. It can be easy to focus on short-term goals, but thinking about medium- and long-term goals can help ensure that your short-term goals don’t lead you astray.
Ask yourself about your goals:
- What do you want to have accomplished in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
- Where do you want to be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
- How do you want to spend your time in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
Take a moment to think about your short, medium, and long term goals like a path. Ask yourself how your current goals will lead to medium term goals and how will these lead to your longer term goals?
Write your personal mission statement
Sometimes a personal mission statement is just one sentence. For example:
To do [X Action] for [Y group of people] at [have Z impact] with [optional: other details].
Adjust it until you feel good. You can revise it, rewrite it or lengthen it. For most of us, creating a personal mission statement takes work. This process does not need to be “one-off and done”. In fact, it is quite improbable. Mission statements frequently change and evolve over time, as do we (Li, Frohna & Bostwick, 2017).
- Li, STT, Frohna, JG and Bostwick, SB (2017). Use your personal mission statement to INSPIRE and succeed. Academic pediatrics, 17(2), 107-109.
- Searight, BK, & Searight, RH (2011). The value of a personal mission statement for university undergraduates. Creative education, 2(3), 313.