Your Guiding Light – Your Personal Mission Statement
Millions of people have asked the question “Why am I here?“ What is the purpose of my life? For most us it gets defined for us by other people after one’s life has ended.!! How many of you have defined your life purpose? Do you want to go through life aimlessly … not knowing where you are heading?
There is a profouuund satisfaction that comes from fulfilling your unique purpose in life … we just need to connect with it. One of the methods is by building a Personal Mission Statement (PMS) . Used extensively in training and development the world over, and as an image consultant and a personal branding coach, building PMS becomes a starting point in most of my consultation process.
What is a Personal Mission Statement?
A personal mission statement (PMS) is simply a promise that you make to yourself … you may call it a goal-setting tool that helps you develop a ‘vision’ or a ‘foundation’ for your future. … be is personal, professional or social. Nelson Mandela’s mission was to end apartheid. Mother Teresa’s mission was to show mercy and compassion to the dying. Joan of Arc’s mission was to free France.
Mission statements are your “why.” Why you do the things you do. Why you keep going when things get tough. If you have no mission, the complexity of every day life will surely catch up to you and define your mission for you. Just as companies need mission statements, we as individuals need them as well. They help create our identity, define our purpose, and direct the vision we have for our life.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
__ Nelson Mandela
So, to help you get started, here is a five-step mission-building process:
Step 1: Identify Past Successes. These successes could be at work, in your community, at home, etc. Write them down.
Step 2: Identify Core Values: Here we are not talking about morality, we are discovering what you say yes to…or more importantly what you say ‘NO” to. Develop a list of attributes that you believe identify who you are and what your priorities are.
Step 3: Identify Contributions: In an ideal situation, how could you contribute best or make a difference to: the world in general, your family, your employer or future employers, your friends, your community. How would you like to be remembered by people from each of these aspects of your life.
Step 4: Identify Goals. What do you want to accomplish? Spend some time thinking about your priorities in life and the goals you have for yourself.
Based on the first four steps and a better understanding of yourself… now;
Step 5: Write a Personal Mission Statement.
Try to identify whether there is a common theme — or themes … begin writing a rough draft (a page of any length) of your mission statement.
A personal mission statement addresses three questions:
1) What is my life about? i.e. what you want to do ? what you wish to accomplish and how do you want to contribute,
2) ) What do I stand for? i.e. who you want to be – the character strengths and qualities you wish to develop. And finally,
3) What action am I taking… to live that – what my life is about AND what I stand for? It is an action-oriented document.
You may take as much time on each step as you need — but remember to dig deeply to develop a mission statement that is both authentic and honest. Be patient with yourself. The self-discovery process is as important as the outcome.
Make it work for you.
The only way you can appreciate the effects of a personal mission statement is by writing one and experiencing the advantages it gives you. Write your PMS and extend it to other aspects of your life…maybe 3 -4 lines for your career -a ‘Personal Career mission statement’. Experience how it gives focus to your career goals, type of work you want to do, employers you seek out, the work environment you say ‘no’ to… The material developed here will be utilized again in the development of your resume and cover letter, in interviewing, and in all future job search contacts.
Here’s hoping you write the mission statement that you believe in. Ideally, it will make you feel you have started your life… you feel the direction, motivation and inspiration when you read it. (not necessarily realistic at this time ).
Let it be your guiding light at every turn, then every decision you take in life , will ALWAYS be right for you. Let it take you through the path of “the YOU - you always wanted to be.”
ACE voice: Just as companies need mission statements, we as individuals need them as well. They help create our identity, define our purpose, and direct the vision we have for our life. Go out and live it!
Renuka Tandon is Director and Chief Consultant at ACE Impression. She provides customized image management and personal branding consulting to corporate executives and business owners targeted towards professional growth and business success . Click here to contact Renuka.