Wednesday, November 05, 2014 at 1pm

What’s Your Personal Mission Statement?

mission statement

What comes to mind when you think about a personal mission statement? A personal mission statement embodies the essence and soul of who you are. Author Michael Goodman says, “A personal mission statement is an articulation of what you’re all about and what success looks like to you.” Stephen R Covey also based the second habit in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on the concept of personal mission statements.

I was introduced to the idea while in business school. One of my professors gave us an assignment to write one up. At the time, I can remember thinking it was going to be an easy project to complete. I was wrong. It required time and a period of introspection. It proved to be one of the most challenging projects that semester.

Why you need to construct a personal mission statement

There is value in formulating a personal mission statement. The statement can help you achieve higher performance levels and personal goals. In order for that to happen, you have to bring the statement to life. It can’t just be a document that you create and then file away never to be seen again. It must be a living document.

It is a personal call to action. Personal mission statements provide a sense of direction, affirmation of beliefs, definition and a single-minded focus for your plans. A well constructed statement will answer these questions and more:

  • Who am I and what do I value?
  • What is the legacy or impact that I want to leave?
  • What are my personal and professional values?

You want the statement to be authentic and honest. For that reason, DO NOT rush through the process. Don’t think that this is going to be a mindless exercise. It is truly a process. Over the years, I’ve taken various personality assessments to help identify my character strengths and dominant personality traits. There are a host of different assessments available. Some of the ones I’ve taken include: Holland Codes, Myers-Briggs, the DISC personality test and the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI).

Side note. If you are a jobseeker, develop a list of target companies for which you would like to work. While researching those companies, see if their values, beliefs and mission are in alignment with yours. Ask yourself – do you want to work for a company if there are no shared values and beliefs?

I indicated earlier that it is a process. Normally, a process involves a series of steps. This process is no different. Are you ready to get started? On your mark, get set, go!

1.  Identify character strengths and dominant personality traits

The first thing I did and would recommend for you is to list your character strengths and dominant personality traits. Initially, I came up with a list of approximately 15 to 20 based upon the results from several of the assessments that I took.  My list of character strengths and dominant personality traits included: versatile, quick-witted, enthusiastic, spontaneous, creative, optimistic, creative, passionate, innovative, sociable, encouraging, persuasive and adventurous to name a few. I narrowed it down to my top five strengths – humility, humor, perspective, persuasive and social intelligence.

What will you include on your top 5 list?

You may not realize the impact that our dominant personality traits have on our daily lives. Typically, when we apply our strengths we have a greater sense of wellbeing. Our greatest successes are often achieved when we are applying our dominant strengths. Employing your strengths leads to increased happiness.

Now more than ever before, it is important that you are able to identify your top strengths. Corporations are placing a higher emphasis on maintaining balanced character strengths amongst employees.

2.  Define your priorities and what is important to you

Determine where you want to focus your energy, time and resources. To put it another way, where do you want to spend your time, talent and treasure? List ways you can contribute and/or make a difference to the following areas:

  • To the world
  • To your family
  • To your employer
  • To your friends
  • To the community in which you live

For my employer, I want to lead by example. I want to continue to learn and strengthen my skills so that I can offer a valued return on investment. I strive to motivate and train others so that they can reach their potential and achieve shared goals. For my community, I will work to be the change that I want to see. I want to be a part of the solution and not the problem.

3. Personal goals

Determine your priorities and personal goals. What is important to you? You need both professional and personal goals. You also need short and long-term goals. I would classify short-term goals as those within the next three years. Long-term goals are those beyond the three-year mark.

One of my short-term professional goals is to become a certified Generation X life coach. A long-term professional goal is to obtain another degree. A short-term personal goal is to participate in a spoken-word event. One of my long-term personal goals is to travel to Italy.

4.  Put everything together

I think that one speaks for itself.

Once you have created your statement, don’t file it away. Make copies and post it in places where you can see it regularly. Revisit it annually. Update the statement. You change, so should your statement. Remember, most Fortune 500 companies, non-profits and institutors of higher education have mission statements.

Victor Hugo once said, “there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has finally come, you many call it a credo, a philosophy, you many call it a purpose statement, it’s not as important as to what you call it, no it’s how you define your definition.”

About Starla Trigg

Starla holds a MBA degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.  She has spent her career working in various capacities for Fortune 250 companies.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, learning new things, and playing golf.

Starla holds a MBA degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.  She has spent her career working in various capacities for Fortune 250 companies.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, learning new things, and playing golf.

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