Companies have created mission statements for years to explain why they exist and why they do what they do.
Google’s mission statement, for example, is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” For Zappos it’s “to provide the best customer service possible.”
These manifestos affirm an organization’s core beliefs and values and solidify the business’ long-term vision.
A personal mission statement is much like a corporate mission statement: it describes your convictions, what you stand for, and how you plan to create a life that embodies your values. In other words, it becomes your personal definition of success – one that is separate from the approval of others.
Your personal mission statement is a short statement, usually a sentence or two, that points to the direction you intend your life to move in. It’s like a compass that helps you stay on track, heading in the direction you want to go.
When you find yourself experiencing Imposter Syndrome, self-doubt or resistance to change, you can turn to your personal mission statement, like a north star to reconnect with your deeper purpose and motivations.
How to Write Your Personal Mission Statement
This exercise will guide you in reconnecting with your purpose. Your task is to create a personal mission statement that describes your “why”.
1. Brainstorm your “why,” thinking about the following:
- What inspires you and gets you out of bed in the morning?
- What are your innate strengths?
- How will you measure success in your life?
- What do you stand for? What do you stand against?
- What setbacks have you experienced and what have they taught you?
- What values or positive character traits or skills do you want to develop further?
- What phrases guide your every day actions?
- What important relationships do you want to cultivate in your life?
- How do you want to feel each day?
2. Keep your personal mission statement clear and brief–no more than three sentences long.
3. Use positive language. Instead of saying what you don’t want to do anymore, focus on what type of person you do want to become.
4. Use the sample mission statement sentence templates below to get you started, then write your mission statement. Feel free to combine the sentences to carve a manifesto that is unique and personally meaningful to you.
Personal Mission Statement Examples
“To… [what you want to achieve, do or become] … so that … [reasons why it is important]. I will do this by … [specific behaviors or actions you will use to get there]”
“To live each day with … [choose 1-3 values or principles] … so that … [what living by these values will give you]. I will do this by [specific behaviors you will use to live by these values]”
“To appreciate and enjoy … [things you want to appreciate and enjoy more] … by … [what you can to appreciate and enjoy these things on a daily basis]”
Defining your “why” and becoming crystal clear on the larger purpose fueling you will be the anchor that helps you ride out changes and future setbacks.
When the going gets tough and your momentum wanes, remembering your personal mission statement will help you believe in yourself, stick with the plan, and carry you across dips and valleys so you can reach progress on the other side.