Companies have developed mission statements for years. It helps guide them by defining who they are and why they do what they do. Coca-Cola’s mission statement, for example, is “To refresh the world. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness. To create value and make a difference.”
Sept. 24, 2020
2 min read
Is your personal mission statement changing?
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For Google is “To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” When Stephen R. Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People in 1989, he put a spin on the idea, suggesting that individuals create their own mission statement as part of his second habit: begin with the end in mind. Twenty-five years later, personal mission statements, sometimes called purpose statements, are proving to be a good tool for high achievers. “If you want to be successful, you need to think of yourself as a personal brand,” says William Arruda, author of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives. “A personal mission statement is a critical piece of your brand because it helps you stay focused.”
Writing one, however, takes introspection. Arruda suggests asking yourself, what am I passionate about? What are my values? What makes me great? “We all have super powersthings we do better than anyone else,” he says, adding that it helps to ask someone else what your talents are. “These things often feel natural to us, but it’s important to see them as being special.”
When you’re ready to write, Arruda offers a template that links together three elements: The value you create + who you’re creating it for + the expected outcome. For example: I use my passion and expertise in technology to inspire researchers to create drugs to cure rare diseases.
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Each piece is helpful to create the complete puzzle, but Arruda says the most important is the first, your value. “This is your core DNA your operating principles,” he says. “These are the things that inspire and energise you.”
If your mission statement doesn’t change, you risk not being relevant any more. A personal mission statement is a powerful tool because it provides you with a path for success, and it gives you permission to say no to the things that are distractions. It also changes over time. “As we get older, we have more life experiences and acquire new skills,” Arruda says.
“If your mission statement doesn’t change, you risk not being relevant anymore.” While you write a personal mission statement for yourself, there is power in sharing it. “The more you share, the more support you get to achieve your mission,” he says. “Friends and mentors can support you or call you out if you’re doing something counterproductive.”