A personal mission statement has the power to give your entire life direction. The problem is that they are not easy to write, and they are not something that can be thrown together. You need to take time and go through a specific process to make sure you get your personal mission statement correct.
The worst thing you could is rush this and put together a mission statement that points you in the wrong direction. Even worse than having a lousy mission statement is being like 99% of people who don't even have one.
With no mission statement, you are basically going through life on hope, and hope is not a strategy. You don't move towards the things you want in life without intention. The first step to that is your mission statement.
“A mission statement is not something you write overnight, but fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.” - Stephen Covey
What You Will Learn
What is a Personal Mission Statement?
A personal mission points to what you want to accomplish on your deathbed. It calls out your ultimate goal in life that every other action you take stems from. It's often inspired by experiences that have brought you the most growth.
A mission is not about choosing a career path or deciding how you want to make money. It's often the opposite because it focuses on what you will give to the world. The mission statement is the impact you want to have on the world before you die.
Its harder to accomplish this now than ever because there are too many people trying to live someone else's life. People don't know what they want other than money and success because they have never had to think about it. Society told them to get a good job, so that's what they did.
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
1. Build Career Capital
No one ever talks about working on getting good at something before you declare it to be your mission. For someone to be a mission for life, it's going to be hard and takes a long time. To accomplish anything hard, you're going to need a certain level of mastery.
To master something, you need to figure out what area you should be working in, and that is where things get complicated. It's not about being passionate, it's about working at one thing long enough that you become precious.
When you skip this, you end up just jumping from job to job, thinking that your mission is different every week. It takes time to work in one area to start to narrow down your purpose.
2. Engage in Deliberate Practice
The second step to mastery once you build career capital is to work on deliberate practice. Most people don't do this, and the result is that they plateau. Most people have been working on things for years and not getting any better.
For Deliberate Practice You Must:
- Have Clear Goals
- Practice Consistently and Work on Challenging Tasks
- Get Immediate Feedback
Deliberate practice is not easy because it pushes you way outside of what you're comfortable with. You need to have clear goals that tell you where you're going, and then you keep practicing by working on things that are hard for you. When it becomes easy for you, your focus switches to something else that is hard.
The immediate feedback will come from coaches and mentors who will push you to be better. There is no room to be comfortable, and this ensures improvement.
3. Think With The End In Mind
The personal mission statement is all about the end game. Once you begin to build career capital and improve your skills, you need to start dreaming about what the end could look like.
You don't need to make any commitments yet. This process is just like casual dating. You are going on lots of dates, just trying to figure out where you are and what you like.
You have to picture something that matters to you so much that you're willing to spend the rest of your life working towards its attainment. It's a big deal, and that why it should not be made in haste.
4. Put Down Some Ideas
Once you think of some good things that you may want to work on for the rest of your life, jot them down. You want to have 3-10 things that you think are worthy of your time. They should be in the area you have built career capital. For example, if you spent the last 10 years in human resources, your mission should not be to free human minds and bodies with Yoga.
Your ideas should just be increasing the zoom or focus in one area. For example, if you worked in human resources, you may want to focus on diversity in the workforce. It still is within HR, but it's just getting more focused.
5. Make Tiny Bets
Another mistake people make when working on their personal mission statement is thinking that they have to approach it with an all or nothing mindset. It's not necessary! We have already accepted that finding a mission takes time, and it's essential that the right one is chosen.
Once you have your different ideas, find ways to work on small projects within each of these areas. The goal is to put a little bit of time into each concept. Make some small bets and see what work moves you the most.
Some of them you will know right away are not for you. Keep dwindling your list down until you have one or two clear top options.
6. Market it to a Movement
When people talk about a life mission, it's big and requires the help of a lot of people. For example, no one can connect the world, like Mark Zuckerberg, and do it alone. He has thousands of employees that work for Facebook and a billion customers that make the mission possible.
The last thing you need to consider when creating a mission is if and how to market it to the world. How will you get people on board with your purpose and help you accomplish it?
You may have a mission that you love, but its a bad option if you can't get anyone else on fire for it. The best purposes take off because communities are built around them.
7. Set Your Mission
You can finally exhale! You now have a mission that you can lock-in.
You should review this mission every day. All of your life decisions should be based on this mission. Your singular task is to make sure that you are moving towards it every day.
Examples of Great Personal Mission Statements
Here are some of the mission statements of the most famous entrepreneurs that run companies we all know, like Amazon and Facebook. These are meant to provide inspiration and to also show you how large some of these missions are.
"To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be."
"To sell everything to everyone."
"Saving people money so they can live better."
"To connect the world."
"To save the humans by helping them to get to another planet."
How to Accomplish Your Personal Mission Statement
Now that you have your mission statement, the next step is figuring out how to make sure that you accomplish it. You just did all of this work to decide what you want to achieve for your entire life. That is a vast body of work, and it can get overwhelming on where to start.
Remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Anything is simple if you break it down, and if it's not simple, it has not been broken down enough.
The personal mission statement is the big picture of your life, but it's worthless without goals and habits. Let's dig in on goals first.
You need to have goals because they break down the mission statement and help you to make sure that you are headed in the right direction. You want to have the following purposes.
- 50 - year goal
- 40 - year goal
- 30 -year goal
- 20- year goal
- 10- year goal
- 5-year goal
- 3-year goal
Short -Term Goals
- 1-year goal
- 6-month goal
- 3-month goal
- 1-month goal
- 1 Week goal
Using Habits to Reach Your Goals
The last step to all of this is breaking down all of your goals into bite-sized habits. Habits are actions that you take daily. You use your practices to attain your goals and your goals to reach your personal mission statement.
Your goal is just a desired result, but it is not much you can do or control to ensure you get there. Habits, on the other hand, have full control because they are not results but daily actions you will take.
Use our Free Habit Tracker to track your habits. Each day you simply mark whether you have done it or not so you can track streaks and know how close you are to your goals.
Get Started On Your Personal Mission Statement
Making a personal mission statement is a lot of work. You can do this well if you take the time and put in the work to make it happen. It will take a lot of time and work to come up with the mission, but after that, you will need the right goals and habits to bring it to life.
Though it's a lot of work, it can be one of the most worthwhile things you ever do. Waking up a single day for the rest of your life with a purpose is not something many people have. You will also have the means and the plan to bring that purpose to life.