Companies have a mission statement to guide what they do. It explains why they exist and where they’re headed. It’s what a company filters all their actions through. But a lot of us don’t have that kind of intentionality when it comes to our personal lives. When you create a mission statement for your own life, you add clarity & purpose to what you do.
Do you have dreams, ambitions and goals, but aren’t quite sure how to get there? Do you feel like life just happens to you, and you can’t seem to change it into what you want it to be? Have you settled for where you’re at right now, but deep down inside you know life could be more?
I’ve been in that same place. I know that feeling of wanting to be somewhere, to be someone, but not knowing how to get there. I would try to pursue a lot of different things, but they never led anywhere, and just made me even more busy.
My life only started generating some forward movement and clarity when I developed a mission statement for myself. It’s a statement of intention – what you’re going to do with your life.
A lot of people actually have a mission statement – it’s just not clearly defined. More often, it’s been defined for them by life’s circumstances. Instead of letting life decide your mission, let your mission decide your life.
Here are 4 simple questions to ask yourself that will help you write a personal mission statement for yourself.
1. What is Most Important to You in Life?
Take a second to write down what you value the most. What do you cherish? What is worth working for and fighting for? Is it family? Community? Your faith? Certain issues? Specific people? Make a list and refine it. It can be as narrow as quality time with your spouse, or as broad as freedom for everyone.
For me, my Christian faith is most important to how I live my life. I want my wife to have the freedom to pursue her dreams and feel supported. I want other people to live in a safe world where they have the freedom to pursue their dream as well. I value my reputation and legacy I leave behind.
2. What Do You Want to Accomplish in Life?
These are your dreams. What great things to you want to achieve? Think big. They can professional or interest based. Is it traveling the world? Starting a company or nonprofit? Raising a family? Contributing to a project? Attaining a certain role or position?
I lot of what I want to accomplish involves different career paths. I want to start a few different online businesses. I want to start or be part of an organization that fights human trafficking. Later on I’d like to run for elected office.
3. What Do You Want to Be Doing?
This answers the how of your dreams. It’s very similar to the previous question, but differs a little bit. It involves the day-to-day of carrying out that vision. Say you want to do something that makes your city a better place to live. It could look like running for politics, volunteering, or starting a local business.
What are your strengths? What do you enjoy doing? What would you not mind doing everyday.
For me, I’ve recently discovered that I enjoy public speaking. I enjoy leading and managing teams. I enjoy casting a vision and setting a strategy for organizations. This would be the type of work I would do as I pursue the things I want to accomplish.
4. How Do You Want to Be Known and Remembered?
We don’t often think about how we’ll be remembered when we die, but it’s important because it affects how we live today. The place you want to be and the person you want to become tomorrow start with what you do today.
Try this exercise: write your own obituary. At the end of your life, what would it look like? What will people be saying about you? What will the history books say about you? What stories will be passed down about you?
Writing Your Mission Statement
Once you jotted down all the notes to these 4 questions, refine them and find common themes. See if you can answer each question in one concise sentence.
Then see if you can combine those 4 sentences together into a single mission statement that is one or 2 sentences. Here is an example of my missions statement:
My mission is to create a world where people can live with dignity and thrive in their passions. I will do this by investing in organizations that inspire people to do what they love, to do things that impact others, and to do them with excellence.
You’re mission statement doesn’t have to be complicated or poetic. It just has to be simple and clear. It also isn’t set in stone – you can change it as you develop and grow.
But have a mission statement helps you bring focus to your life. You’ll be able to set goals that are in-line with your mission statement and being moving forward. You’ll be able to filter all your actions through your missions statement and move with confidence. You’ll have a mission for your life.