When I was in graduate school one of my education professors made us write (and rewrite…) what he called our philosophy of education elevator pitch. We were supposed to describe, in just a sentence or two, our mission and philosophy teacher.
We’re all familiar with business mission statements. We hear and see them in advertisements all the time! But how often do we sit down and create personal mission statements?
Today I’m sharing a bit about why you need a personal (or family) mission statement, how to create one, and some resources to help you on your journey.
A mission statement acts kind of like a soccer field. It helps you define what truly matters to you and what is out of bounds.
When you have a personal mission statement, you can stay on track and meet your goals more easily because you know what you do and don’t want. You know when something is an “out of bounds” distraction, or even completely contrary to what you believe in, because you have a clear idea of what you stand for and want.
I believe that everyone can benefit from a personal mission statement. You can also craft a family mission statement and get your kids involved!
Answering these questions will help you write your mission statement.
1. What is important to me?
What things, people, activities, etc. are most important in your life?
2. What do I want my legacy to be?
3. What are my unique skills and abilities?
4. What am I passionate about?
5. What are my missions and goals?
On your proverbial deathbed, what do you want to know you achieved?
Maybe you want to have a deep, committed relationship. Maybe you want to make a positive change in your community. Maybe you want to watch every single episode of the X-Files 700 times. I don’t know – they’re your goals!
If you can’t think of lifelong goals that feel meaningful, start with what goals you can think of and refine your mission statement in the future.
Now it’s time to get writing!
Your personal mission statement should be concise – only a sentence or two – but it may take a while to really pin down. It’s completely okay to make tweaks and changes as your vision evolves!
Using your answers to the questions above, start by writing down a couple of sentences as a rough draft. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, just get started. Then tweak and rewrite until things feel good!
You don’t have to include all your goals and desires in the statement. Simply use them to inform what you write.
Here’s a quick look at a draft I wrote for a personal mission statement:
“To live my most creative, authentic, and grateful life as I inspire others to do the same.”
It didn’t feel quite right, so I changed it:“To life my most creative, grateful, and healthy life as inspire others to do the same.”
I realized that being creative, grateful, and healthy (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) is being authentic for me, so the second version feels a lot better at this time.
Here are more examples of mission statements for inspiration:
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” — Oprah Winfrey“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
“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.” — Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company
Remember that you can always modify your mission statement so don’t be afraid to just get started!
Now it’s time to share your mission statement! Tell it to people you’re close to. Print it out and put it on your wall. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for!
Whenever you’re feeling stuck or don’t know what decision to make, evaluate your choices in terms of your mission statement.
Does whatever you’re considering fit comfortably within the parameters of your mission statement? Will it help you achieve your lifelong goals? Or will it be a distraction?
If something doesn’t fit your mission statement. It really, truly feels correct, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your mission statement. But if it doesn’t fit and doesn’t feel right in your heart, then it probably isn’t a good fit for you.
One of the best ways to know whether something is truly right is to listen to the wisdom of your heart. Your brain will talk, argue, and rationalize, but your heart knows the truth!
If you discover that your mission statement and reality aren’t in alignment, but you truly want to live according to your mission statement, then it’s time to make a change within yourself. One of the best places to start inner work for most people is with reflection and self-examination with the help of a gratitude challenge.
I truly hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to create a personal mission statement and that you’re able to use them to create a more joyful, purposeful life.