You’ve probably seen mission statements everywhere, like walls in company lobbies and inside promotional brochures.
Mission statements define a business or organization’s identity and purpose, and they can go a long way to help a company create a vision for the future.
But did you know you can have a mission statement too? This is called a personal mission statement, and it could be exactly what you need to identify your goals and find the motivation to accomplish them.
If you don’t already have a personal mission statement, there’s no time like the present to write one. Let’s dive into learning why it’s important and how to write a personal mission statement.
What Is a Personal Mission Statement?
A personal mission statement defines who you are as a person (or as a team member where you work) and identifies your purpose—whether that’s on the job or simply in life. It explains where you see yourself in the future, how you plan to pursue that purpose, and why it matters so much to you.
People fail at what they hope to achieve because they lack clear goals and focus. They get distracted and lose sight of their purpose and who they were made to be. In other words, they ignore their personal mission statement. But a successful person will have a rock-solid vision spelled out in their personal mission statement.
Author and career coach Dan Miller says a good mission statement should include three things:
- Your skills and abilities (what you like to do)
- Your personality traits (how you operate)
- Your values, dreams and passions (why you want to excel)
That’s it! It should be just one or two sentences long and say—in simple terms—exactly what you’re all about without any lofty principles tacked on.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, store manager, college student, business executive or truck driver, crafting a personal mission statement will serve you well in life. Everyone should have one.
Why a Personal Mission Statement Is Useful
A personal mission statement is important because it helps you focus on your character and figure out how to meet your long-term goals. It’s like a guidepost for where you want to go in life and who you want to be.
A personal mission statement keeps you from wandering off track. For example, if a decision you’re considering doesn’t fit in the picture of your personal mission statement, you shouldn’t follow through with it. Something may be a cool idea or interesting opportunity, but that doesn’t mean you need to commit to it or even bring it into your life. On the other hand, having a personal mission statement can help you know when it’s time to make a change or take that leap.
I love a good sports visual, so think of it this way: A good mission statement marks what’s in bounds or out of bounds. If your passion is teaching, is it really in the bounds to work a job that doesn’t involve sharing information with people? Be realistic here, and don’t set yourself up for failure.
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
Writing a personal mission statement seems pretty straightforward. But to do it well, it actually requires a lot of effort and thoughtfulness to create. So take some time to think about and write down how each of Miller’s three areas apply to you. That lays a good foundation for crafting your mission statement.
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Think about your life principles and goals. Why did you set these goals? How do your goals make you a better person or help you improve your career? The personal mission statement should answer these questions in 50 words or less, so try to get to the heart of who you are and leave out unnecessary details. Don’t worry if your statement doesn’t mirror someone else’s—every statement should be unique because no two people are the same.
Putting Your Personal Mission Statement to Use
Once you have a written mission statement, start using it. Frame it and put a copy in your home or office so you see it often. You want to surround yourself with your own positive attitude.
Not only should you live according to your personal mission statement, but it’s also important that others know about it. You want people to know you’ll live up to what you wrote, so spread the news. Accountability from those closest to you will help you stick to it.
Personal Mission Statement Examples
Speaking of letting people know, our mission statement here at Ramsey Solutions is posted throughout the building, and every team member is required to know it like the back of their hand. It’s why we exist. It goes like this:
“We provide biblically based, commonsense education and empowerment that give HOPE to everyone in every walk of life.”
But that’s a business mission statement. Personal mission statement examples will look a little bit different. Here are a few examples of personal mission statements from successful CEOs in business:
- “I want to be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” — Oprah Winfrey
- “To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.” — Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
- “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
And here are a few other mission statements from some well-known nonprofits:
- “Inspiring hope and promoting health through integrated clinical practice, education and research.” — Mayo Clinic
- “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.” — Habitat for Humanity
- “PBS empowers individuals to achieve their potential and strengthen the social, democratic, and cultural health of the U.S.” — Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
Take the Next Step in Writing Your Personal Mission Statement
Ready to start working on your own personal mission statement? Having your purpose written down will add value and productivity to your life, so get started today.
Want to better understand your personal strengths so you can write a better mission statement? Check out my Get Clear Career Assessment. It’s all done online, so you can take the test and get your results instantly. Then, let the mission statement writing begin.