Although people have heard of missions statements, most people do not have a written mission statement for themselves. This is a lost opportunity that can change your life very quickly.

Why Should I Have a Written Mission Statement?

The power of a mission statement is partly that it gives you focus but also that the process of writing it down gives you insight that can catalyze how you live your life. Most people float from one event to the next without giving thought to why they are doing it or how it contributes to the quality and outcome of their life. This is called reactive living rather than proactive living. The results are the path of least resistance making your daily expenditure of energy or focus lower but also slowing down living your full potential. A great mission statement can help you to get the most out of your life and lead you to the life you want to have. A large obstacle is that most people don't know how to write a mission statement. Some people learn to do it professionally. And there are others who think they know what they want but have never written it down. The problem with not writing it down is that it's not front of mind and it can have a lot of vague impressions rather than clear direction. It's analogous to driving without lights at night. You have to go slowly and run the risk of crashing.

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement

First of all, make sure you have the time and energy to do it. If you're a morning person, set aside a morning to do this. Allow at least an hour or more. If you're a night person, carve out time at night to do it when you won't be distracted. Second be sure to have a notebook or journal to write down different things as you go through the process. Paper is better than digital. Third, understand that it may take several tries to come up with the mission statement that works for you and also that it may change as you age and gain wisdom. The process of self discovery is as important as the mission statement. The mission statement should address aspects of your life such as health, relationships, career, personal development, financial status, education, and experiences. What follows are suggestions. You may expand or limit this list depending on your process.
  • From the gut, write down what you think your mission is currently.
  • Try and project to when you are very old and looking back on your life and get a sense of what you hope your life was about.
  • Remember to think of all categories from the list above. Often people forget about health, relationships, personal development and education or experiences.
  • Think of people you know who have "good" lives or who you admire. Think about what you admire about them or their lives.
  • You may want to Treasure Map to give you a visual sense of what you want. I also recommend that you do this in addition to the mission statement.
  • Make a list of things that are important to you and that you want to have.
  • Make a list of things that you want to avoid. Review the list and figure out what the opposite is and add it to your positives list.
  • Now try and group common things together in the positives list and see if you can find words or phrases that describe the group of things that fit together.
  • Search for the mission statements of either companies, organizations or people who you like. See what their mission statement looks like to get an idea of what a mission statement can be. Some are better than others so the more you get the better you will understand what you want to create.

Distilling Down to a Mission Statement

Now comes the real fun. Distilling down the information into a simple and easily remembered statement or at least something that's relatively short. Prioritize your list so the most important things are on the list. Also know that you may have sub-mission statements for individual categories like health or financial. As long as you do the additional statements then it takes the pressure off of including everything in one statement. Write down something, anything, just to get started. Don't judge it. Just do it. There will be plenty of time to revise it in time. Plan on writing it 10 different ways. Now read all ten of them out loud and underline the parts that you like the most. Reading it out loud is very important. Now write a statement using as much of the underlined part as possible in one statement. Still too big? See if anything can be trimmed or combined. Read it out loud so you can hear it as well. Do it again. Repeat until you feel good about it. When you have your three best versions, you will want to ask some of your close friends or family for feedback. Tell them what you're trying to accomplish first. Then read it to them so they can hear your voice. The one that's the best will be heard in your voice because it's the one you feel the strongest about. Continue to expand your feedback loop as much as you feel the need. Once you are happy with your mission statement, write it down and make copies of it so you can post it where you will see it repeatedly. Bathroom mirror, bedroom, kitchen, car and other places are all good. It creates a constant reminder for you and it advertises to the world what's important in your life. Other people will see it and help you reinforce it. (If someone puts you down about it or makes fun of it, you probably don't want that person in your life as they will hold you back. This is a great filtering device so you are surrounded by the people who want you to succeed.) Questions? Your feedback is always appreciated. Thank you. Kris

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