How a Personal Mission Statement Can Help You Change

 

“The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.” – Stephen R. Covey

Wow. What a powerful quote. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is one of my most treasured self improvement books. I have read it a few times now and regularly pick it up from my bookshelf to consult particular sections.

I mention this because upon re-reading it a year ago I sat down and took the time to write out a personal mission statement. Now, I must admit, I often skip the exercises in self improvement books but on this particular occasion I followed the advice of Dr. Covey. This decision has made a world of difference. Let me explain why.

What Is a Personal Mission Statement?

A personal mission statement is an individual statement that outlines what you want to be (character), what you want to do (contributions and achievement), and the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.

2 Ways A Personal Mission Statement Can Help You Change

1. Self Knowledge

A personal mission statement requires introspection, self-analysis, and written expression. Rather than being something that is produced in 5 minutes, a personal mission can takes weeks, even months, to complete. The process of writing the statement is so important as writing will help clarify your inner-most thoughts and feelings. You will come to a greater understanding of who you are, what you are about and what you value.

2. Decision Making

A mission statement becomes a personal constitution that can be turned to when making either major life-changing decisions or small daily decisions. It will not necessarily make such decisions easier, but it will add focus and direction. Think of it as a roadmap that you can refer to for guidance as you journey through life.

My Personal Mission Statement

Just as each person is unique, so will be their personal mission statement. That said, I believe we can find inspiration in the statements of others. The following is my personal mission statement which I wrote a year ago and have stuck on the inside cover of my diary.

  • I will be loving and proactive in building and maintaining my relationships with family and friends, so that I may be considered a successful husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend.
  • I will always act with integrity and never compromise with honesty, so that it may be said that I am a person who stands for what is just and right.
  • I will approach life with a curious nature, so that I am someone who continually strives to better understand both my inner and outer worlds.
  • I will look after my health by regularly exercising, eating well, and limiting the intake of anything that may be harmful to my body.
  • I will treat money as my servant, not as my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and means. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save and invest part of my income.
  • I will try to help others live a better life by writing articles for my blog that are both inspiring and motivating.
  • When times are tough, I will remember there are still countless reasons I have to be thankful. As such, I will give something back to the community, via donation and volunteering, so that those less fortunate receive a helping hand.

Even just now, after having rewritten my personal mission statement above, I feel a sense of clarity and direction about my life.

Writing a Personal Mission Statement

If you want to begin writing a mission statement, I suggest opening up a new Word document or taking a blank sheet of paper and answering the three following questions:

  • Who do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I value?

Just write what immediately comes to mind. As mentioned earlier, your statement may take some time and a few rewrites before you are comfortable with it.

Peter Clemens

Peter Clemens is founder of The Change Blog and author of The Possibility of Change books series. Click here to learn more about Peter and his books.

10 Comments

  1. A good idea… I’ve written a post in the past about finding your calling, which is a lot of the same thing. Your calling is what you really feel like you were meant to do, what you would do for a living if you could, or keep doing even if you didn’t have to make a living, because it’s the core of who you really are. When I took my own advice, I found my calling to be writing (and, interestingly enough, wood working… I can’t explain it, but I love wood… the smell, the feel, the look…), and so I’ve been working ever since then on making it part of my life every day or nearly so.

    It’s an awesome feeling to know that you are doing what you were meant to do, regardless of whether it will support you right now or not.

    Reply
  2. Great comment Jason.

    I recently added a core message to my “About” page: You can change your life. I discovered this core message when I was having some doubts about this blog and then did some reflecting on its purpose.

    I also just realized that my mission statement could be updated to include something related to this site, such as “To inspire people to change their lives for the better.”

    Reply
  3. That’s a very well-worded statement Peter.

    I must admit that even though the ‘7 Habits’ is one of my favourite books, I never end up doing the exercises. After reading this, I’ll certainly be doing this one.

    Reply
  4. Thanks Scott.

    Here is another good quote from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People :

    Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behaviour with your beliefs.

    Reply
  5. Great job! Thanks. I’m working on a post entitled “Why Do We Need a Mission” and, assuming I finish it, will link to you here.

    Reply
  6. Charles I just watched your video – what a brilliant idea. I may just look at doing my own :) .

    Reply
  7. Thanks for the this excellent post about creating a mission statement for yourself. When I sat down to do my mission statement I started off by jotting ideas down on index cards and putting them next to pictures from newspapers and magazines that illustrated the end result of my mission. I just wanted to make it more interesting and fun to do. Because what’s the point of creating your vision if it isn’t fun and one that you want to re-visit again and again to keep you on track. As I researched how to others have done their mission statements, I discovered some “vision statements” that people were making and posting on youtube. Wow. These are really fun. They get you focused really fast and I highly recommend it as a way to clarify your mission statement. Here’s mine if you want to see what I mean.
    youtube.com/watch?v=7jaslMfe7XA
    Keep up the excellent work. This blogspot is very inspirational and informative to those of us still finding our way on the blogosphere. Thanks for the great work.

    Reply
  8. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article o.us poetry, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

    Reply
  9. Thanks for the article, all of them, I invested my early morning skimming over your site and filling my notebook with great advice!

    Great work!!

    Hugs

    Ken

    Reply
  10. Hai,

    Actually the post is good, especially i like that sentence (treat money as a servant, not as a master) and feeelings of our inner heart. Its not the just a words, it a reflection on inner heart. I could able to read ur mind.

    Thanks for the good post and good msg.

    cheers

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>