By April Mims
Companies use mission statements to let people know why they are in existence. Their mission statement could include information about who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Although corporate mission statements vary greatly, each serves as a guide for the company, its employees, and the general public. But how many of us have personal mission statements? Informal research suggests that few people use detailed written mission statements in their own lives. Sure, most people have some idea where they are going and what they hope to accomplish in life but few have actually written a formal mission statement. What are the benefits of having a written personal mission statement? First, it's easier to define the actions and goals that will help you achieve your vision. It serves as a roadmap to get you where you want to go. A mission statement allows you to measure your current reality and your progress toward your ideal life. It also allows you to evaluate your values and incorporate them into your daily life.
A mission statement is simply a statement of what guides you, what inspires you, or what you want to accomplish in your life. There are many different ways to approach writing a personal mission statement, but an effective statement can be written in four simple steps. First, list one to three values or principles that you live by and why these are important to you. If you have more than three values on your list, order them by importance to you and select the top three. Next, list the things that bring you happiness, inspire, and satisfy you. This would include the things you do best and most enjoy doing. Then list the things you've always wanted to do or the legacy that you would like to leave. These three lists will be combined and used to write your personal mission statement.
An effective mission statement will be simple, clear and brief (between 2-5 sentences). There are many different ways to combine these three lists into a personal mission statement. The first method is to use your own words and combine each of your three lists into a meaningful statement. The second method is to use a template and fill in the blanks with your answers from the above exercises. There are many templates available online that can guide you to crafting a mission statement. Here are a few of my favorite templates:
I value [1-3 values] because [why these are important to you]. I will [what you will do to live by these values].
To live each day with [1-3 values or principles], so that [what living these values will give you]. I will do this by [specific behaviors].
To treasure above all else [most important things to you] by [what you can do to live priorities].
As you write your personal mission statement, remember to keep it simple, clear and brief. Be sure to state everything in the present tense and keep it positive. If there are any negative statements, restate or redirect them to positive statements. Make your personal mission statement part of your everyday life - keep it handy and review it frequently as you schedule your daily or weekly activities. You will find that your mission statement may continue to change and evolve as you do. Revisit it often and make any necessary changes. And finally, keep in mind that you will get what you focus on. The more effort and focus you give to living your mission statement, the more results you will see in your life.
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