Living a focused and inspired life begins with possessing a relevant personal mission statement and effectively managing time. A person with a clear and compelling mission statement, aligned with a clear purpose (why) and vision (what) of the future is quite rare in our world. Prayerfully considering and going through the process of developing a personal mission statement are without a doubt worth the investment of time. During my life and career, I have found that very rarely will anyone encourage this type of introspection. The reality is that we shouldn’t rely on others. Developing a mission statement is something for which each of us should take full responsibility.
There is a reason why most corporations have a mission statement. I contend that each individual should have one as well. We have a finite amount of time on this earth. At the end of your life, what contribution will you have made to the world? This is a question that everyone should ask him or herself. We should ask ourselves what would it mean that we were here? After pondering the question, a strategic approach to life should continue or begin to be taken. As Stephen Covey says, “begin with the end in mind.” This is part of the process of developing and living by a personal mission statement.
How is a mission statement created? Begin by considering the various roles that you have assumed. Every person has a multitude of responsibilities and roles that he/she plays in life. For example, the roles could be daughter, son, father, mother, brother, sister, employee, boss, etc. The roles are often assumed with little regard for their importance or the impact on others. It is easy to float through the day thinking of pressing priorities and needs without regard for the many important relationships and people in our lives. Intentionally taking the time to evaluate the roles that we play, while understanding that roles aren’t our mission or purpose, is important to our well being and the well being of others. Once this step has been taken, we should then consider with whom you have the respective relationships.
When we think of the many roles that we play, who are the important people with whom you have these relationships? Identifying the various roles that you play and the individuals impacted is very important. We each have the opportunity to impact many people either positively or negatively on a daily basis. God has created each of us for relationship. When developing your mission statement, keep in mind that in many ways, it will ultimately have a significant impact on our lives and the quality of relationships.
When we gain clarity about roles that we play and with whom, we should then consider what we would want said about us in the future or at the end of life. This is taking a strategic approach to life. For example, think about your spouse, children, friends or acquaintances. What would you want them to say about you? Is it that you listened to, spent time with and loved them? If so, what are you doing on a daily basis to ensure that this occurs?
As previously mentioned, time is precious and passes rather quickly. That is one of the reasons why getting clarity on mission is so important. We all have one opportunity to live a life of meaning and relevance. We each have unique personalities and skills and were created for a purpose.
Mission statements are nice to have but can sometimes be difficult to develop. The time invested in its development, however, could pay dividends that will last for generations to come. As one goes through the process of creating a mission statement, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Be patient
- Think holistically
- Make it personal
- Determine dreams
- Journal or document your thoughts
- Incorporate your faith
- Be transparent and honest with yourself
Successfully developing a meaningful mission statement and intentionally living by it will lead one on a path towards a measure of true and authentic success. It will serve as a foundation for establishing short and long-term goals in the most important areas of life. Mission allows you to live out your purpose and the vision that is derived from your purpose. We are here to positively impact the world and make a difference in the lives of those around us. “Serving others above yourself” is a Rotary International tagline that encapsulates this way of thinking.
Developing a clear and compelling mission statement is the second step in the process of developing a strategic plan for life.
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
– Carl Sandburg, author