How to write a personal mission statement

All successful and motivated companies have mission statements that outline what they believe, the things they want to achieve and how they’re going to achieve those things…  why shouldn’t we, successful and motivated individuals, have one too? Well, we can – and its called a personal mission statement.

Why should I have a personal mission statement?

A personal mission statement defines who you are and identifies your purpose in life, how you aim to pursue that purpose and why it matters to you. It is an incredibly useful and powerful tool as it aids us in meeting our long-term goals by preventing us from wondering off track and by keeping us focused on what it is that we really want from life.

A personal mission statement is also incredibly useful for aiding us when making tough decisions because it allows us to set clear boundaries as to what we do want from life, what we don’t want from life, what we are willing to accept and what we are willing to sacrifice.

So I know you’re most likely thinking that this all sounds great, right? And wondering how you can write your own successful mission statement so you too can rule the world? Well, below are the key questions to consider and answer when writing your own mission statement…

What is your personality?

The first step to writing a successful mission statement is to fully understand yourself and your personality. By beginning the journey to understanding our personality, we are starting the process of self-reflection and self-assessment. This allows us to gather a deeper and more knowledgable understanding of ourselves and can therefore help us to understand what we like, what we dislike and our strengths and weaknesses.

There are many fantastic personality test available and some of the most popular include:

  • Myers Briggs Type Indictors, which is based on the type theory of personality and will categorize you into one of 16 personality types
  • The DiSC Assessment, which is another personality type assessment. The DiSC assessment places you into one of eight personality styles
  • The Big Five Inventory, which is a trait-based personality assessment and is the most popular and scientifically supported. The Big Five inventory gives you a score on five different personality traits

What are your core values?

Your core values represent your beliefs about what you think is truly important to you.

When thinking about what we want to pursue in life, there is absolutely no point chasing things that aren’t truly and deeply important to us as we won’t feel fulfilled, motivated or satisfied and are therefore destined for failure. Some examples of core values that many people have are reputation, spirituality, fairness or harmony.

To find your core values, particularly those that are relevant to the workplace, we recommend the Interest Assessment and Work Values Assessment and/or download and print O*NET’s work value cards, which you can sort into essential, important and not important to find what you value.

Based on past successes, what are your strengths?

Outlining where you have previously been successful can help you to build your confidence, identify your strengths and help you to find a way to meet your mission.

We recommend picking five examples where you have previously found personal success in your life. This success can be in anything, including at school, at work, at home, with your family or with your friends.

Once you have identified five things from the past that you are really proud of, see if there is a common theme or something you’re clearly good at/have a natural strength for. This common theme can help you to decide how you’re going to work towards reaching your mission statement.

What are your passions and interests?

A bit like finding our core values, there is not point pursuing something in life that we are not extremely passionate about and interested in.

Therefore, when writing a mission statement, make sure it aligns to what you are genuinely interested in, whether that is helping children, teaching and inspiring others, making new technology or making a million dollars. Following the stuff that excites us is far more rewarding and satisfying, leading to a more fulfilled life.

What does ‘the best’ look like to you?

The final thing to consider when writing a personal mission statement is what the absolute best looks like to you. This is not the time to be realistic. Think about what would the absolute best possible result would be to you? Own a multimillion dollar business? Save 30,000 children from poverty?

Whatever it is, aim for it. The sky is the limit.

Write out your personal mission statement

Once you’ve found out your personality and answered the questions above, you can start to write your personal mission statement. When writing your mission statement, consider the following:

  • Keep it short, ideally something that is only a few sentences long or something that you can easily summarize to others
  • Share it with people in your life who are important  to you (e.g., friends, work colleagues, partner, parents) as they know you very well and can provide invaluable insight
  • Always remember that it is perfectly ok to make changes to you mission statement over the years. In fact, you should be making changes to your mission statement as you are growing as a person and learning new things about yourself

Need some inspiration? Here’s some examples a successful personal mission statements

  • Oprah Winfrey’s personal mission statement is “to be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.
  • Sir Richard Branson’s is “to have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.”
  • Amanda Steinberg’s personal mission statement is “to use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world.”

As you can see, these mission statements are short, but insightful. They neatly summarize what each individual intends to achieve from their life and what they want to be remembered for.

These people can then refer back to these powerful statements whenever they need some inspiration, motivation or reassurance that they are making the best decision for them.

Do you have a personal mission statement? If yes, I’d love to hear about how you wrote it and how you follow it!

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