A personal mission statement is as a compass set to a specific location. It is a powerful combination of words that sum you, your goals, and sometimes ambitions up. A personal mission statement is a mission statement designed for you. It is your mantra, your central dogma, and it gives you your identity.
A personal mission statement is important because it is a simple tool that allows you to make powerful long terms decisions without worry or stress. In a simple example, if your mission statement states that you want to save the world via legal means, you would have no trouble ignoring illegal things.
What a mission statement should not be
An expression of who you are going to be
A mission statement should be an expression of who you already are and not an expression of who you are going to be. The future is so far away. If you create a mission statement that talks about who you should be, you will have to expend more energy trying to reach it, and when you reach it, what next?
If a personal mission, statement is about solving problems to win a Nobel Prize when one eventually wins the Prize, what else? If it is to be a good soldier, what happens after you retire?
A good mission statement should instead be about who you are and who you will be every day. Consider these examples: 'to be a problem solver,' 'to optimize the great solutions of the world.’ They point to things that can be done in the present, and you can start acting on it right now.
A mission statement should not be too vague. It should be well crafted enough to allow you to know precisely where you are going. If your mission statement is to change the world, it is fine, but how do you plan to change the world? A better way to put it will be to say to change the world by bringing to it new and innovative technology. Then we have a proper mission statement.
What do you need to write a mission statement?
You need to know yourself: knowing yourself is no easy thing. If you do not already know yourself, do not worry. You need to read more. You need to begin to read books by your mentors and role models and look for values that they have or had, which aligns with you.
You should also read other books like Man's search for Meaning by Viktor Frankly and 12 rules for life: an antidote to chaos by Jordan Peterson. While doing this, you should be able to figure out what values you hold dear and who you see yourself becoming or rather who you should be at this moment.
Know what you want the world to remember about you: when you die, your mission statement should be what you wish everyone to say about you. It should be something that when one person says, everybody should nod and have something to say to collaborate or confirm it. It is the legend of who you were and what you always did and acted upon.
Those important to you: your mission statement should not ignore those most important to you. Your family, close friends, co-workers, and those you have a relationship with should be considered when you are creating your mission statement, after all, it is the central dogma for your life, and you cannot afford to ignore your relationships.
Writing your personal mission statement
When writing your personal mission statement, you should keep what we have discussed in mind and subject it to the filter of the following questions:
- What you want or value
- Why you value it
- What you will do to make the value a reality.
- What you want to become
- How you will start being that person
- What impact that person will have on the world
- What skills you have and are going to acquire
- How you will use it to affect a group of people
- The effect you want as a result.
You should not forget to keep your personal statement short and straightforward; anything more than five sentences is too much. It should be something you can remember at any time in any place in any situation.
When you are done constructing it, you should share it with those closest to you. Since it is to become the operating system of your life, they should know about it. They can also help point out what they think is not consistent and help you to improve it and keep you accountable to it.
The personal mission statement is not static. As you live life, things about you change. What you thought was cool 20 years ago may not be so cool now. As such, your mission statement cannot stay the same; as you mature and become a better person, your mission statement should mature too and reflect the change. I suggest you review it every year to see if it still describes who you are.
Finally, a mission statement is useless if you do not take action on it.