Personal Mission Statements

Defining Your Goals

You can achieve your goals in a focused way by writing a personal mission statement.

© iStockphoto/StuartDuncanSmith

One of the most important things that corporate leaders do is define their organization's purpose, and identify what they ultimately want it to accomplish. They communicate this information in corporate mission and vision statements  . These set a clear course for the organization, tell employees how they should focus their efforts, and prevent people going "off mission".

If mission and vision statements are so important to organizations, why don't we spend any time creating them for ourselves?

In this article, we'll look at the benefits of creating personal mission and vision statements. We'll show you how to create them, and highlight how you can use them to bring clarity to your own objectives and goals.

Why Create Mission and Vision Statements?

All of us have very different ideas about success. What's important, however, is that you spend time defining your version of success. Otherwise, how will you understand what you should be working toward, and how will you know if your decisions are helping you move toward your goals?

Used as part of your personal approach to goal setting  , mission and vision statements are useful for bringing sharp focus to your most important goal, and for helping you to quickly identify which opportunities you should pursue.

Shaping this goal into a mission statement helps you keep it at the front of your mind, and helps you focus your energy and resources upon it. Without this focus, you can be distracted, or you can spread your effort too thinly across multiple competing goals.

Note:

By creating a personal mission statement, you make one of your personal goals supremely important. This gives you the best possible chance of achieving it, which is essential for some types of goal. However, if you focus exclusively on one goal, you'll inevitably have to de-emphasize others. Make sure that you're happy to do this, and make sure that people who are important to you don't suffer as a consequence.

Mission Versus Vision

So, what's the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?

  • Mission statement – This defines your purpose. It's what you ultimately want to achieve in your life or career, expressed in a specific, measurable way.
  • Vision statement – This is a bit more emotional. Here, you define your core values, and how you'll apply those values to your mission.

Tip:

As your career develops, your goals and objectives are likely to change too. So make sure you revisit your mission and vision statements regularly, and update them as required.

Creating Mission Statements

Follow these steps to create your mission statement:

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