Living a focused and inspired life begins with developing a relevant personal mission statement and effectively investing and managing your time.
Thoughtfully considering and going through the process of developing a mission statement is undoubtedly worth the time investment. But throughout my life and career, I have found few leaders who encourage this type of introspection.
The reality is, we should not rely on others. Developing a mission statement is an inside job, because spending our days without a conscious understanding how we want to live can lead to an aimless existence.
The Many Uses of a Mission Statement
- Your mission can serve as a compass as we navigate the terrain of life
- It provides clarity and can assist us in making decisions related to how we will invest our time and resources
- It can make it easier to say “yes” or “no” to requests for our time/resources; saying “no” is very difficult for many of us, especially if we want to avoid disappointing others. The funny thing is, it is harder for people to say “no” than it is for others to hear. Those in the position to ask are usually used to hearing it
- It can help you stick with good decisions that nonetheless present challenges
After making a mission statement, I found I was more focused and motivated to grow and strengthen my skills. Going through the process made me a much stronger leader as well.
As an example, here is my mission statement:
To use my leadership and financial skills to help my family and others grow into all God created them to be, while continuing to grow myself.
My mission statement helped me make some major decisions. One was to leave my long-term employer to transition to a new one, where I had the opportunity to develop a learning and development program. The deciding factor was that the new role aligned with my mission statement.
There were days in the new job that I questioned my decision. When that happened, it was always helpful to remember my mission. That thought process kept me focused, and allowed me to overcome negativity and barriers. It was somewhat challenging to pivot from an international manufacturer to a Fortune 500 retailer located primarily in the US.
I persevered and ultimately was able to sell a vision of a new function and department within a division of the company. I then led the building of a team and department that supported the learning needs of the division.
How to Begin
- Consider the roles you have assumed: spouse, son or daughter, father or mother, sibling, employee, boss
- Intentionally take the time to evaluate each role, and consider the people in these relationships
- Think about what you would like these people to say about you in the future: that you listened to them; spent time with them; showed you loved them? If so, what are you doing on a daily basis to ensure this occurs?
How to Finish
The process can be difficult, but well worth it in the end. Follow these guidelines to get to a mission statement that feels right:
- Be patient
- Think holistically
- Make it personal
- Determine your dreams
- Reflect on your values and motivations
- Journal or document your thoughts
- Incorporate your faith
- Be transparent and honest with yourself
If you get stuck, consider getting help from a professional who helps people make progress in their lives. The finished product will serve as a foundation for establishing short- and long-term goals in the most important areas of your life.
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