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A personal mission statement is a powerful and effective productivity tool that makes it easier to make decisions and clarify your purpose throughout life.

This blog post will describe how to brainstorm and clarify the areas in your life, how to consider the bigger picture and how to bring this information together to write a personal mission statement.

Let’s begin.

Although a mission statement is traditionally regarded as a statement of purpose by company, organisation or sporting body, personal mission statements are recommended by a number of productivity gurus, including Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Personal mission statements take some time to develop and they have to be reviewed regularly. The process of creating one helps you consider your purpose in life and how you are going to achieve your goals.

Here are a few simple tips that should make the process easier.

Brainstorm Your Life

Use a brainstorming technique like mind maps to consider all the areas in your life.

Typically, these areas include:

  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Education
  • Family
  • Religion

You should also consider each of the roles in your life. Typically these include: spouse, parent, employer/employee, student, brother/sister and so on.

Each of these areas and roles can subsequently be expanded upon in terms of your aims, beliefs, principles, progress to date, causes of concern etc.

Draw on External Resources

This is a good time to gather quotes, information and lessons from books you read, talks you attended, places you visited, music or art that inspired you and people you met.

Consider the role models in your professional and personal lives and what you can learn from them.

It may be useful to read their biographies and examine what drove or drives your role models and how they overcame personal and professional difficulties.

You may also benefit from thinking about organisations or people you don’t want to emulate and how you can avoid making their mistakes.

There’s as much to learn from failure as from success. You may also find it helpful to read the mission statements of others and see how or if they relate to your life.

If you’re stuck, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is (arguably) one of the most famous personal mission statements there is.

Ask Clarifying Questions

You may benefit from asking yourself questions about each of your roles and areas of responsibility. Sample questions include:

  • When am I at my best/worst as parent/employer/employee/spouse etc?
  • Where do my natural talents lie?
  • What’s important to me in my work/home life?
  • What energises me and what makes me feel apathetic? What is my passion?
  • Who inspires me in my work, relationships etc? Are there role models I can emulate?
  • What values guide my work/my studies/my relationships?
  • Are there core values or principles I am not prepared to violate? These may include professional charters that you sign up to.
  • How do these values relate to my day-to-day life?
  • What mistakes have I made in my life so far, and how I can avoid repeating them?

Again, you can expand on these questions using a mind map. You could write a personal question and answer document, make bullet points, or write notes on paper.

Consider the Big Picture

After you have identified your roles, areas of responsibility and your values, consider where and who you’d like to be over the next 12 months, five years and even ten years.

This may include a wish list of places you’d like to go, projects you’d like to accomplish or dreams you’d like to realise.

Consider what you’d do if you had unlimited time, money and resources. Think big!

Try and identify actions or projects in area of your life that will help you accomplish these dreams. These may include things like completing a masters, launching a new product in a new territory or preparing a son/daughter for the university etc.

This is a good time to consider the resources available now and in the future and how each project will impact on the other areas of your life.

For example, going back to get a masters will take time away from your family and may use up some financial resources. Is this something that’s in keeping with your values and goals?

Bring It All Together

The final step in the creation of a mission statement is the gathering together of all this information in a document or source that you will refer to regularly.

This involves the consolidation of your roles, areas of responsibility, values, goals and dreams into several key themes or principles.

If you’re stuck, write a few lines about what you’d like people to say about your life on your 90th birthday party or at your funeral.

The final result could be a mantra or motto that you repeat or it could be longer piece of work that you read or review regularly. It may start with verbs or statements like:

  • “I believe…”
  • “I am happiest when…”
  • “I stand by…”
  • “I am at my best when…”

It could also be a mind map that you return to regularly or even a picture or logo.

It will take some time to develop a mission statement that makes sense to you, and you will have to review your statement regularly to see if it reflects who you are.

The idea is that your creation will be personal.

In times of crisis or indecision, it represents your North Star.

You may choose to put your mission statement on your wall or keep it somewhere private but accessible. You could also expand this mission statement and develop one for your family or even connect it to your company’s mission statement.

If all this sounds like a lot of work (it is!) you can try this online mission statement builder developed by Covey.

Please let me know in the comments section below about how you created your personal mission statement.

Culled from Become A Writer Today

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