A personal mission statement can help you focus on what is important, and give you clarity and direction. In this blog post, I’ll share with you how I crafted my personal mission statement, and give you some tips on how you can do the same.
Most people go through life with only a vague sense of what really makes them happy and what type of work they should do in order to fill up more than their bank account.
“To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes.”
– Sir Richard Brandson
Why you should have a personal mission statement
If you do not really know what makes you tick, how do you make sure that you stay motivated? If you do not know what triggers your self-esteem, how can you then be happy in the long run?
I use my mission statement as a filter when making decisions. It does not matter if it is “should I repair the sun deck, or build a new one?” or “should I accept this new job offer?” If it does not fit into my personal mission statement, that should at least serve as a big warning sign.
If you don't know where you want to go, you'll just end up in a different place. Click To Tweet
A personal mission statement can help you focus on what is important, and give you clarity and direction. At the same time, it can help you be at ease with your decision because you know that you made that decision based on predefined personal guidelines.
Know what gets you out of bed in the morning
What is your mission in life? Is it to be the best in your field of work? Is it to make other people happy? Are you like Steve Jobs, who wanted to “make a dent in the universe”? To answer these questions, you need to dig your brain. Think about the situations when you were really happy and content. Had you just delivered a successful presentation? Had you just got really positive feedback from your manager? Did you spend time with your kids? Were you out fishing? Were you a part of a team, or working alone? Was it outside in the summer? Or inside in the winter?
“To help people find hope after loss”
– Gloria Horsley
Some questions to ask yourself
Find a pen and paper. Go somewhere where you can do some uninterrupted thinking. Ask yourself these questions:
What are you good at?
We are all good at something. Are you a good listener? Do you excel at some particular tradecraft? What were you doing the last time you felt that you mastered something? When was the last time your boss praised you for doing a good job?
What motivates you?
Some people are motivated by responsibility. Others by positive feedback. For others, the greatest motivation is to see other people succeed. Money can also be a motivator, but there is a lot of science stating the fact that this is not a viable long-term motivation.
When are you at your best?
This is an often underrated factor. Are you a morning person? Do you like being a part of a team? Are you most happy when meeting new people? Do you need to be somewhere quiet in order to function?
What are your goals?
If you don’t have any, that is OK. But if you have, write them down. There is no use in crafting a personal mission statement that will not help you get closer to your goals.
What is your purpose?
This may seem like a grandiose question, but have you ever thought about why you are here?
Do you start to find a pattern? Is it the type of work? The people you were with? Or the place it all happened? Is it the publicity, the positive feedback, or the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of doing something right?
“If something’s important enough you should try. Even if the probable outcome is a failure.”
– Elon Musk.
How I found my personal mission statement
For me, it started with a dip in motivation. This is completely normal for everyone, but I had noticed that this feeling was starting to appear more frequently than before. For the last 4-5 years, I have kept a diary in Evernote noting down my accomplishments in the form of milestones and deliveries. I found that over time it was hard to remember these events. In conversations with my manager, I often had trouble remembering in what year or in what sequence things happened. The diary took away most of these annoyances. The same diary was very useful when I sat down trying to recall my feeling after these accomplishments.
I found that a common denominator for a lot of the times I felt motivated and pleased with my accomplishments was that I had done work that was helpful to other people, I helped people to work smarter, and to deliver higher quality. In general, I made things better. Another thing was that I was happiest when I did not have to deliver a temporary fix but was able to find a solution that I knew would work for the foreseeable future. After some pondering, I came up with the below phrase.
“Delivering lasting improvements”
This is a phrase that encompasses everything I stand for. Ingenuity, longevity, and quality.
What’s your personal mission statement?