Do you have a personal mission statement?
If not, you should.
Early in my career, I was inspired to create one when I worked in public relations for the JCPenney Company.
James Cash Penney, the founder of the once giant retailer, based his business philosophy on one simple personal mission statement: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” — the Golden Rule.
In fact, his first store was called The Golden Rule.
This mission statement permeated every aspect of how Mr. Penney ran his business.
He asked for a “fair remuneration and not all the profits the traffic will bear,” and was the first to call employees “associates,” and he treated them like family.
During the stock market crash in the 1920’s, Mr. Penney lost his personal fortune and took a loan against his life insurance in order to pay the associates’ salaries.
- What Is a Personal Mission Statement?
- Why You Should Have A Personal Mission Statement
- Personal Mission Statement Template
- How To Write a Personal Mission Statement
- Personal Mission Statement Examples
- Short Mission Statement Examples
- Personal Mission Statement Generators
One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Penney is this:
“Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals, and I’ll give you a stock clerk.”
Mr. Penney understood the value of having goals that reflect your mission and how they can change the course of your life.
His goals for himself and his company were grounded in his personal mission statement of the Golden Rule.
Knowing his mission statement, it was much easier to build his business and remain focused.
What Is a Personal Mission Statement?
Businesses create mission statements to provide purpose and direction for the organization.
But it’s as vital for individuals to have a personal mission and a vision for themselves as it is for any business.
A personal mission statement is:
- A tool for making difficult decisions.
- A framework for how you want to live your life and express your life mission.
- A beacon to those around you about the kind of person you are.
- A declaration that motivates and inspires you to stay the course.
- A statement of your values and life priorities.
Why You Should Have A Personal Mission Statement
Creating a personal mission statement forces clarity, helps you define a plan of action, and serves as the foundation for your life goals.
It also helps you identify the underlying reasons for your choices and behaviors and what truly motivates you to make positive change.
As the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, says your mission statement is about “defining the personal, moral and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself.”
Writing down your mission statement on paper makes it real.
Your personal mission statement becomes your own personalized constitution — the basis for life-directing decisions, as well as making daily choices that impact you and those around you.
Personal Mission Statement Template
We put together a mission statement template (pdf) for you to download and print.
Use the personal mission statement template to write your own clear and concise personal vision for yourself.
Click here to download the template now.
How To Write a Personal Mission Statement
Step #1: Examine the lives of others.
Think of a person in history or in your life whom you admire.
What are the qualities of that person that you would like to emulate?
Consider the specific reasons you admire the person and list those qualities in detail.
Step # 2: Determine your ideal self.
Define the type of person you want to become, not just what you want to have or achieve.
This ideal should reflect your core values and your definition of living with integrity.
Consider all areas of your life, as a spouse, friend, employee, parent, etc. and who you want to be in each of those roles.
I find it helpful to write down the phrase, “As an ideal spouse (or friend, parent, etc.), I want to . . . .” Then fill in the end of the sentence with as many outcomes as you wish to become.
For example, you might write: As an ideal spouse, I want to:
- Express my love daily in words, affection, and action;
- Be supportive and attentive to my spouse’s needs;
- Work through conflict calmly and in the spirit of compromise;
- Be fully present and emotionally intimate.
This exercise may take some time, but it is well worth the effort beyond its usefulness for your mission statement.
It helps you clarify your personal operating system and reminds you of what you are capable of becoming.
Step # 3: Consider your legacy.
Determine all of your life roles (career, family, community, etc.), and write down a short statement of how you would like to be described in each of those roles.
Think about how you would like the important people in your life to remember you and talk about you.
For example, you might want your boss to say, “He was a man of character and integrity who was a compassionate and inspiring leader and a visionary for our organization.”
This exercise may feel awkward, but no one else has to see it.
It is to help you decide how you want to step into each of the roles in your life and to clarify in concise words how you want others to perceive you.
Step # 4: Determine a purpose.
Write down a personal mission statement for the four fundamental elements of who you are: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
In each of these areas, what is the most important way you want to express yourself?
This may seem confusing, but it’s really simple. We tend to go about our lives without considering our goals for our essential being and how we want to direct that ambition.
So with this exercise, see yourself as CEO of each of these four areas. As CEO of your physical life, your purpose might be to treat your body as sacred by practicing fitness, healthy eating, daily affection, and pleasurable physical experiences.
Your plan for your mental life might be to become a life-long learner by expanding your skills, problem-solving, and challenging yourself.
Step # 5: Clarify your aptitudes.
What are the talents and skills you possess that are most important to you and that you actually enjoy?
Part of your personal mission statement should reflect your best aptitudes and strengths, these are what create joy and energy in our lives.
When we spend our time on what we do well and enjoy, our lives not only have meaning but also it has vibrancy.
Make a list of all of your personal and professional talents, aptitudes, and skills — even those you may take for granted, like being a good friend or having the ability to organize well.
Then circle the skills you enjoy or find fulfilling. Focus on these.
Step # 6: Define specific goals.
Based on everything you outlined above, what are some related goals you want to achieve in your life? Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.
As you look at the people who inspired you, the ideal self you’ve defined, the legacy you want to leave, the aspirations you have for the elements of your life, and the aptitudes you want to enjoy, what are the outcomes you want to achieve for your life?
You might want to create goals for various areas of your life — from your relationships to your hobbies.
Step # 7: Write your personal mission statement.
Taking into account steps 1-6, begin to write a personal mission statement.
Keep it simple, clear and relatively brief — from a few sentences to a couple of paragraphs.
You can write it as a statement that flows or with bullet points. How you craft it is less important than what you want to express.
The point is you want a statement that will guide you in your day to day actions and decisions, as well as your long-term goals. Try to keep your words positive and affirmative. Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.
Step # 8: Continue to refine it.
Creating a mission statement is not something you do in a day. It does require introspection, self-analysis, clarity of mind, and often several drafts before you produce it in a final form.
It might take several weeks or even months before you feel really comfortable with your life mission statement. Feeling like your personal mission statement is complete and a concise expression of your innermost values and directions may take a few iterations.
Once you complete it, put it where you can review it daily so it motivates you to honor it in all of your actions and decisions.
You might need to revise it every few years as your life priorities change.
Personal Mission Statement Examples
Personal Mission Statement 1:
My mission is to act as an instrument of positive change in my family, my work and my community. I will utilize all of the talents that God has given me and will participate in all aspects of my life with energy, purpose and gratitude. I will utilize my talents in strategy and administration to ensure that my home is loving and calm, my workplace is productive and positive and my community is responsive and growing. Through this focus I will give more than I take and will provide a positive role model for my children.
Personal Mission Statement 2:
My mission in life is to have my own family. I need to remember that what I do now in my life will affect them. Because of this, I try my best to do the right things that will benefit my future. I would someday like to have a large farm with horses where I can help handicapped children. I’d like to work with animals, perhaps even be a veterinarian. Most of all, I want to have time for my family. So today, I will study hard and stay away from things that may hinder my dream from happening.
Personal Mission Statement 3:
To find happiness, fulfillment, and value in living, I will seek out and experience all of the pleasures and joys that life has to offer. My core values are not limitations restraining me on this hedonistic quest for fun. Rather, they provide a framework for identifying, pursuing, and achieving those pleasures that last the longest and are the most satisfying. The greatest joy of all is being worthy of the respect and admiration of family, friends, and business associates.
Personal Mission Statement 4:
To remember where I have been and where I will go through maintaining positive relationships with family and friends. To choose the ethical way by making a personal commitment to honesty and integrity. To find peacefulness within myself by looking inward while using my heart to guide my dreams and desires, and my mind to pursue knowledge, creating balance among all of my obligations. To content myself in my surroundings so I will always know where security lies within my life. To build a reputation of being dedicated to every goal I choose to pursue while having successes in both my personal and professional life. To enjoy every moment along this journey finding laughter, love, and happiness with each day that passes.
Personal Mission Statement 5:
To be humble.
To say thanks to God in some way, every day.
To never react to abuse by passing it on.
To find the self within that does and can look at all sides without loss.
I believe in treating all people with kindness and respect.
I believe by knowing what I value, I truly know what I want.
To be driven by values and beliefs.
I want to experience life’s passions with the newness of a child’s love, the sweetness and joy of young love, and the respect and reverence of mature love.
Finally, to go through life with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye.
Here are some additional mission statement examples we’ve crafted for you:
Personal Mission Statement 6:
My mission is to live a life without resentment. I will use my mind and all my talents and skills to keep my life focused on gratitude, love, and forgiveness — to live my best life and to help others do the same. I have no room in my life for negative self-talk, grudges, or for pointless regret. Every morning, my goal is to take another step forward, keeping my mind and heart trained on the present and on the words, “Thank you,” I want everyone in my life to know exactly how they’ve made it better.
Personal Mission Statement 7:
My mission in life is to exercise my freedom to think as I choose to think. I choose to see the good in every person and every situation, however painful. No one makes me think or feel anything; I am responsible for my thoughts and feelings, and I choose to remain free, no matter what happens to me. I choose gratitude over resentment and compassion over criticism. I choose hope over despair. I choose to make my life count for something far greater than the space and time it occupies.
Personal Mission Statement 8:
My mission in life is to bring joy to others, whether by word or action. I’ll do whatever it takes to make my place in the world better for those I share it with. My life will continue a chain reaction that someone else started and that somehow (for some reason) reached me. I won’t be where it stops, and I’ll show others how to keep it going. From me, the chain reaction will reach even more people, who will make it their mission to bring joy and compassion to as many souls as possible.
Short Mission Statement Examples
Here are some examples of short mission statements from famous people and organizations.
9. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou
10. “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” — Oprah Winfrey, Founder of OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network
11. “I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated.” — Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize laureate and activist
12. “Improve lives. The concept of improving lives runs through the center of everything I do.” — Wil Smith, actor
13. “To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world.” — Amanda Steinberg, Dailyworth.com
14. “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” — Google
15. “Build the best product. Cause no unnecessary harm. Use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” — Patagonia
16. “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” — Tesla
17. “Help people perform better, think faster, and live better.” — Bulletproof
18. “Be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection.” — eBay
Here are some additional short mission statement examples we’ve created:
19. To create music that helps people struggling with mental illness to feel calm, loved, and in control. I will use my talent and skills to create medicine people can hear and feel.
20. To write books that help others struggling with the same challenges to know they’re not alone and to know what actions to take to change their lives for the better.
21. To open a shop that encourages every patron to bring more magic into their lives and to share it with others, with thoughtful and spirit-loving gift ideas.
22. To work as an inspired chef and to prepare meals that help the people in my community explore new flavors, new cultural recipes, and new perspectives.
23. To plant as many new, healthy trees as I can with the time I have and to inspire everyone to be responsible and loving stewards of the earth’s resources.
24. To create a place where unwanted cats and dogs will be loved and cared for and where they can bring love to patrons who come in for a soothing drink or comfort food.
25. To create a social media platform that runs on gratitude and compassion — with no room for negative attitudes, narrow mindedness, and self-centered criticism.
26. To be a therapist who makes my clients feel safe and strong enough to say anything, to dig deeper into their own thinking, and to love themselves just as they are.
27. To be a parent who helps my children love themselves, ask for help when they need it, and know what actions and words will help them reach their goals.
28. To build a legacy that will benefit my children, grandchildren, and beyond and give each of them something good to build on when creating their own.
Personal Mission Statement Generators
If you’re a fan of online quizzes, you might enjoy using a personal mission statement generator. Answer key questions and the generator uses them to create a clear and cohesive statement that reflects your highest values and goals.
It’s similar to a mission statement template but is automated and available as either an internet-based tool (or mobile app) or a software download.
Templates can be overwhelming because you see all the fields you need to fill out. And the thought of then gathering up your answers and distilling them into a powerful sentence or two is daunting enough without considering the time it’ll take to fill in all the blanks.
A mission statement generator uses a gentler, more interactive approach to engage the user and get them through all the questions as painlessly as possible.
- The FranklinCovey Mission Statement Builder can help you create the following types — personal, family, team, and values-focused — with its free online tool.
- LifeCoachesToolbox.com has a Mission Statement & Elevator Speech Generator to help you establish your brand identity and clarify your goals. Choose between the free online version (with ads) or the ad-free download for $39.
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Did this post help you with your personal mission statement?
I hope this article motivates you to get started on your own mission statement.
Crafting this essential document can truly change your life, as it gives you self-defined boundaries and goals that set you on a course for success as you see it to be.
A personal mission statement is something everyone needs but only a few take the time to create — mostly because they don’t know how.
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