I’ve been adrift. Like a battered old rowboat, I allowed myself to be tossed about on the sea of life. I needed an anchor and something to remind me what floats my boat. With the help of several resources, I wrote a personal mission statement.
I am nothing short of shocked how a simple mission statement is helping me do everything with more confidence, clarity and inner peace. Every decision is easier. Life is easier.
Writing an effective mission statement can take time, but Laurie Beth Jones offers a helpful formula in her book The Path: Creating a Mission Statement for Work and for Life. This is certainly not the only way to write a mission statement, but it is an excellent way to get started. The idea is to fill in the missing blanks to create your personal mission statement.
My mission is to
_______________, ______________, and _________________
(your three verbs)
(your core value or values)
for (to or with)
(the group/cause which most moves/excites you)
Let’s look at an example. A woman Jones worked with initially said her mission was to raise a happy family. Sounds good, right? Wrong. This mission requires her family members to be happy, which isn’t within the woman’s control. The only thing she controls are her own values and actions. While a mission should benefit others, the hard truth is that the people in her family could leave her. If that should happen, she can and must continue with her mission.
Using Jones’ formula, here’s how that dedicated mom re-wrote her mission statement: My mission is to create, nurture, and maintain an environment of growth, challenge, and unlimited potential for all those around me.
Now it’s your turn. First, consider what is most important to you. These are your core values. Next, consider the talents you have that could help you move your core values into action. These are your verbs. Now, think about who will benefit from your mission and why. Finally, put it all together to write your mission statement. Shuffle it around, sleep on it, keep at it until it feels right.
Your personal mission statement should be broad enough to help you create a clear vision for all areas of life. When changing tides, unsettling ripples or tsumani-sized waves rock your boat, your personal mission statement allows you to stay steady, strong and unsinkable.