Monday, August 25, 2008

How to Create Your Own Personal Mission Statement

A question from a reader:

"What advice do you have to offer to people in terms of how to create your own mission and vision?"

Good question, but unfortunately, this is not my area of expertise. I have LOTS of experience in helping managers and management teams write visions, missions, goals, and values for organizations, but not so much on the personal side.

So rather than faking it, I'm going to "outsource" my answer, and point you to a few articles that describe how to write some combination of your own personal mission, vision, or values:

1. Here's AJ West, from Lifehack, 'How to Write a Personal Mission Statement":

2008 is here and it is time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements. A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success. For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Read the rest here.

A personal mission statement is a brief description of what you want to focus on, what you want to accomplish and who you want to become in a particular area of your life over the next one to three years. It is a way to focus your energy, actions, behaviors and decisions towards the things that are most important to you.

While there is no unique format or formula for creating your personal mission statement, the following guidelines may be helpful: read the rest here.

This site even offers all kinds of mission and values templates and samples.

3. Randall Hansen, from Quintessential Careers, "The Five-Step Plan for Creating Personal Mission Statements":

The biggest problem most job-seekers face is not in wanting to have a personal mission statement, but actually writing it. So, to help you get started on your personal mission statement, here is a five-step mission-building process. Take as much time on each step as you need -- and remember to dig deeply to develop a mission statement that is both authentic and honest. And to help you better see the process, we've included an example of one job-seeker's process in developing her mission statement. Go here for the complete article.

Hope that helps. If anyone else has ideas or a good source on this topic, please comment.


Anonymous said...


This is terrific!

Really, I confess that even though there is always an over-arching "thing"driving me, if someone asked me to succinctly state what it is I'd probably be at a loss for words.

Now you've got me on a mission. . .

Joshua said...

Thank you for finding an answer to my question. I really appreciate that you did not "fake it."


Randall Hansen, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for mentioning and linking to my article on creating a personal mission statement published on my site, We actually have several articles on creating personal mission statements, as well as a collection of sample personal mission statements. Readers can find all of these here:

Anonymous said...

you forgot this gem

- Meg

Dan McCarthy said...

Meg -

Thanks, that mission statement generator could have saved me hours of wasted off-site retreat meeting time.

Rachel - former HR blogger said...

Alright let's hear it, what's yours?

Dan McCarthy said...

Rachel -
I have goals I want to achieve, but not a mission statement. Maybe it's time I did!