Working in the advertising and marketing space, we are constantly helping our clients define who they are. The first questions we typically ask our clients are, do you have a brand identity? What are the pillars and mission that hold your business together? If your organization was a person, what would be important to motivate them? What do you value as a business?
We want to be sure that they have these answers locked down before we start on a project because they serve as the foundation and platform for decision-making when it comes to our messaging, approach, strategy, etc. At the end of the day, we want to be sure that we attract the right people to our clients’ business to make sure values align.
Shouldn’t that be the same for us as individuals?
What can a personal mission statement do?
- Help you stay focused.
- Provide direction for decision-making.
- Create boundaries for you to exist in without distraction.
- Assign value to who you are and what is most important to you.
- Hold you accountable.
How do I create a personal mission statement?
Start with the past
Write down your top examples of success, both personal and professional. Then assess those wins and identify any themes that stand out among them. These themes can help define what has been important to you and lay a foundation for future plans and success.
Prioritize your values
First, create a list of all of the values that are important to you or that you identify with (community, adventure, respect, trust, etc.). This will likely be a long list and that is okay! From there, prioritize your top five most important values.
Leave your mark
Answer the question, how will I make a difference? List out the ways you can contribute to your immediate circle, whether that be your family, friends, employer or your larger community. Will you be the person who brings new ideas to the table, the one who is always willing to help, or even the person who consistently has a funny anecdote? Articulate the way in which you intend to leave your personal mark on those around you.
Define your results
Jot down your list of goals, both personal and professional. When you think about this, shoot for outlining your goals within the next two to three years in the future and then again for three years and beyond. By writing these goals down, you automatically have a way to track your progress. Consider keeping your goal list somewhere visible where you can easily refer back to it when times get tough.
- The shorter the better. This is meant to be a succinct guide, so don’t overthink it. Keep it to three sentences max.
- Don’t write it in stone or laminate it. This should continue to evolve, so don’t be afraid to change your goals as your priorities shift.
- Consider others. While this is a personal mission statement, be sure you are thinking about the people you are wanting to impact.
- Share it– with your mentors, family or whomever else’s opinion you value. They will hold you accountable and can also provide insight as a person vested in your success.
- Put some emotion behind it. Include all of “the feels” because it will lead to a more inspired and energetic statement that can point you in the right direction.
An example that inspired me
Oprah Winfrey: “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
Oprah lives and breathes this goal of hers specifically through her series, “Oprah’s Lifeclass” where she acts connects with people all over the world to engage in conversations about various aspects of life and help others solve problems. Check out Oprah Winfrey’s Official Biography to learn more about Oprah’s goals.
I know it might seem overwhelming, but just start with the basics. Ask yourself good questions, take what is in your head, put it on paper and begin to synthesize from there. Then, start implementing it! It will help you understand the key parts of your life and how they fit in (or maybe how they don’t).