Why do you do the tasks assigned to you at work? Do you have a purpose behind putting up with your spouse’s mishigas (loosely translated – craziness)? How about a reason for chauffeuring your children? If you answered no to any of these questions you’re living someone else’s priorities or desires. I know. I did it for many years.
When deciding on a college major I chose architecture because my father wanted me to be an engineer and my mother loves art. My first marriage broke up because my wife insisted I live her life vision, which was incompatible with mine. I stayed in real estate for 20 years because other people admired my being a business owner driving an expensive car.
Not until I was evacuated from the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, did I ask myself the hard questions that led to my living a life in concert with my deepest values and aspirations.
Being an Intentionalist hasn’t made my life easier. But now there is purpose to my struggles. Defeats have become stepping stones to eventual triumph. Victory is sweet because of the conviction that I truly want what I have achieved. My certainty comes from having a well thought out personal mission statement to guide my actions and goals.
A personal mission statement answers the whys in your life. It serves to guide your goal -setting. (See my post on how to connect your personal mission to setting goals. Most important, it keeps you moving forward,
There’s no set formula for creating a personal mission statement. I recommend you follow these steps:
- Make a list of the experiences you’ve had that gave you the most satisfaction. For example, you may particularly enjoy watching your child play soccer.
- Make a list of the five values you hold most deeply. Don’t mistake political positions for values. Examine why you have a particular political belief to determine the values that underlie it. (Signup for my email list and get 49-Days to Refine Your Character to help you gain greater insight into your values.)
- Write a sentence expressing each value through one or more of the three realms of life – physical, mental, and spiritual. For example, if you value close familial relationships you could write: Providing my children with the best education and extracurricular activities will forge lifelong, close relationships with them.
- Sift the essential idea out of each sentence. The preceding sentence can be summarized as: Prioritize and sacrifice for my family.
- Synthesize your essential ideas into one or two sentences that describe WHY you will live your life. Take some time to talk about it with your spouse and children if they are old enough.
- Let it sit then edit it. Set your personal mission statement aside overnight then review it and make necessary changes. Repeat this process monthly (more frequently if you want) until you are satisfied that it truly expresses you.
The beauty of having a well-considered personal mission statement is it simplifies future decision-making. All goals you set should begin with how they will support your personal mission. It answers if and how you should expend time, money, and emotion.
Without a personal mission statement, you are as Zig Ziglar calls it, "a wandering generality instead of a meaningful specific." There’s no better time to begin this process than right now.
What roadblocks are you encountering in writing a personal mission statement?
© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links in the above post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”