Define and Write Your Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement is a written-down reason for being and many believe it is the key to finding your path in life. A mission statement is focused on the practice of what you need to be doing.

Define your personal mission

There are several definitions for mission in every dictionary. Here are two that apply to your personal branding work:

  • A mission is a specific task that a person is sent to perform.

  • A mission is an allotted or self-imposed duty or task; a calling; one’s mission in life.

Missions themselves are simple statements that clarify what you are all about and what you want to do in life. Figuring out your mission sounds simple, but it’s often hard. Often, the greater the mission, the more simply it can be stated. Your mission needs to include your enthusiasms for life. If you have no passion for your mission, then it isn’t really your mission.

A personal mission statement or personal philosophy is what you feel you would like to become in your life. It is an internal process and needs to come from the core of who you are. There are no right or wrong answers; defining your mission statement is just a way to put your purpose or calling into words.

Here are some memorable examples of other people's missions:

  • To make cool stuff (computer engineer)

  • To bring order from chaos (quality control manager)

  • To live a life of service to others (human resources manager)

Ideally, a mission statement should encompass most aspects of your life, not just your work. A sense of mission can become a foundation piece of your personal brand.

A key practical use of a mission statement is that it becomes a filter for you in deciding whether opportunities are the right ones for you. As you incorporate your mission into your brand, you’ll be able to ask, “Is this on brand for me?” After you have your mission, decisions become much clearer to make.

Write your personal mission statement

Before you try to write your mission statement, be sure to look at your needs, values, and interests first. One strategy is to put keywords on sticky notes and think about them for a few days. Sometimes messages like your mission statement just come to you while driving or in the shower. Make sure to write your ideas down when you get a flash of insight.

Here are some steps you can take to help you craft your mission statement:

  1. Think of nouns that describe you.

    Examples are teacher, learner, strategist, farmer — any word that applies to you.

  2. Add verbs of how you like to be in the world.

    For example, maybe you like to educate, inspire, sell, or run.

  3. Add your picture of what a perfect world would look like.

    This picture can be derived from your vision statement, which I explain in the next section. Examples can be “I picture a world in which all people are able to use their talents in meaningful work” or “I hope for a world in which no one is hungry” or “A place where everyone has enough money.”

  4. Combine these three elements.

    You have your mission statement.

You must have a strong sense of being before you can embark on your personal brand; otherwise, you may try to sound like someone else. Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” You don’t want that to be you.

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