If you want to know about an organization’s values, mission, philosophy, and purpose you take a look at their mission statement. And it’s more than a simple description; companies take pride in their mission statements and hire expert copywriters to craft a compelling statement.
It’s important because it tells the world what they stand for, and it reminds employees what they need to strive for. Like a compass, it helps to navigate through negotiations and making decisions.
As crucial as it is for a company, it’s surprising that many of us don’t know what we stand for, what we value, what we’ll never compromise on.
Even more profound, studies have shown that writing out your own personal narrative causes positive changes in the brain and your behavior. Dr. Pennebaker, psychology professor from University of Texas has researched and taught extensively on the power of personal narrative, he says “I think of expressive writing as a life course correction.”
Indeed, we’ve all had encounters with the “Impostor Syndrome.” That voice inside your head constantly questioning your abilities and undermining your efforts. Writing a personal mission statement is a powerful tool to combat this inner monster. Rather than getting derailed by that negative voice, your mission statement will act like a ship’s rudder, keeping you on course when seas get a little rough. You’ll remember who you are, what you stand for, and how you contribute.
You’ll take comfort in knowing some of the most successful individuals have struggled with the impostor syndrome. Maya Angelou shared, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ ”
Here are the essential ingredients for a powerful personal mission statement. Four major questions to answer:
1. Who am I?
2. What do I do in life?
If you’re already in a career, you know the answer. For those who are not, to answer this, think about what you’re passionate about and what makes you unique.
3. Why does it even matter?
Think about what you’d change about the world. What are you passionate about on a personal level, and for those around you?
4. What’s my vehicle?
What career path or business will become your vehicle for carrying out your goals?
Let’s take a look at a successful company’s mission statement and adapt it into a personal one.
“At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
Using that as a framework, let’s make it personal:
“Sarah Smith is an artist and painter. She is passionate about evoking creativity in the lives of children from under-developed countries. Her appreciation for good coffee and deep conversations has become her networking tool, connecting her with investors to build her first school.”
Remember your mission statement can and should include dreams that have not yet come to pass. Think of it as setting a blueprint for the lifestyle you’d like to create. Written goals and values increase the likelihood of them coming to pass. It’s not only a fun exercise, but extremely powerful for keeping you on track.