What is your mission in life? Do you have your own personal mission statement? You don’t have to be an organization to have a mission statement.
PURPOSE VERSUS MISSION
Some may believe that your mission and your purpose are one and the same thing, and for many, that may be the case. I define a personal mission statement as a contract you have with yourself. It is a statement that reflects what you believe to be the overarching purpose of your life.
Your purpose is simply the reason for your existence. Some believe we have only one purpose each and some believe we have many purposes. My belief is that we have several purposes throughout the course of our lives.
An integral part of what keeps us motivated is knowing we have something to do in the future that means something. Knowing that whatever we are setting out to accomplish is part of the reason for our existence gives us a sense of purpose. But what if we have already accomplished this thing? Or what if we were unable to accomplish something we have tied so closely to our embedded sense of self (our identify)? What then? What next? This is a feeling that plagues many people- especially at certain stages in life and this is why I believe that we have many purposes for our existence which all tie in to something at our core… our personal mission.
Take Debbie Reynolds for example, maybe one of her purposes was to create the life of Carrie Fisher who among other accomplishments, became an iconic figure in our fantasy world as Princess Leia. But Debbie Reynolds also gave us many many years of memorable musical performances, forever embedded in our corridors or nostalgic MGM renditions. I have no idea what she believed her purpose or purposes in life were, but I have an idea of what her existence brought to the world.
Our personal mission comes from a place within us that's so subjective, that being able to acknowledge it, accept it and fulfill it could provide us with that elusive sense of peace and contentment. That desire we have to know that we are doing what we were meant to be doing at any given point in life. To feel that we truly are on the right path.
Your primary purpose today may be to fully give everything you have to be a parent in your child’s life, yet 15 years from now, that may not be a primary purpose. There may be something different in your life that you do not yet know about. A new purpose, which replaces the time your spent raising your child - or building your business - or performing on stage - or writing your trilogy - or lecturing on the various layers of D.H. Lawrence - or organizing an underground movement to dethrone a dictator. My point here is that your purpose(s) in life can/will evolve along with your personal development - but with the existence of a personal mission statement, you will always feel connected to the core of who you are. It becomes a trusted guide.
DO I NEED A PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT?
Do you need to have a mission statement? No. You don’t. But if you choose to create a mission statement, it becomes a beautiful addition to the tapestry of self-identity you have developed for yourself. It helps you to separate yourself from the definition of who you are based on how others (consciously or unconsciously) define you.
Creating your own mission statement has the effect of simultaneously keeping you focused and grounded on what is truly important to you. It helps you separate what truly matters to you and what doesn’t.
Many of us go through life making decisions based on what we are told we should be doing and how we should life our lives. However along the way, we may lose a connection with what brings us satisfaction, fulfillment and joy. We forgot what really makes us feel good about ourselves. Often, without a clear sense of what matters to us, we adopt the desires of other people, believing that we should want the same things. We have subconscious dialogues such as these:
- Should I want to own those items? Is it important to me? It seems important to everyone I know so it MUST be important to me…
- Shouldn’t I have this career? Isn’t that what is expected of me at this stage in my life?
- How many times should I… is it appropriate to…. do I have to do X, Y, or Z in order to fulfill what is expected of me?
We already know how toxic the word “should” can be to any sense of individuality but how else can we live our lives based on pre-existing norms without living as rebels? The answer is this….
Redefine what matters to you by stripping away the superficial desires imposed on your psyche by other sources. Reconnect with the core of who you are. And what better time to create your own mission statement than at the start of a new year? Here's some guidance...
7 STEPS TO CREATING AN AUTHENTIC PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT
- Find a location free from distraction. Turn your phone off and close your laptop.
- Using a pen and paper (yes, this is important - no computers) jot down the numbers 1 to 5 vertically on a blank page.
- Sit with your eyes closed for 1 to 2 minutes*. Breathe comfortably.
- When you open your eyes, write down up to 5 things (values, ideals, activities) that are important to you - not anybody else. Just to you. These things make you feel good, worthy, effective. Don't overthink it.
- When you have finished, look at that list. You will notice that you feel more emotionally connected to some than others. This is where you separate what is truly at your core from some more imposed upon ideals. Narrow your list to 2 to 3 things. Take your time. Listen to your instincts.
- Now that you have narrowed down your focus, create one sentence using those main 2 to 3 things that matter most to you. Write that sentence is many different ways until you find one that resonates with your soul.
- Now you can type it up! (and you can switch your phone back on… if you must.)
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY MISSION STATEMENT?
Your mission statement can be kept private. It can be for your eyes only - or you can type it up and place it prominently somewhere as a reminder - create a plaque if you want! It’s up to you. What’s important is that you are aware of it and the more you increase your awareness of it, the more it becomes imprinted into your automatic decision making process. As you make intentional decisions every day, let the awareness of your personal mission statement stay close to those decisions.
AND HERE IS MY MISSION STATEMENT
In the interest of transparency I will share my mission statement.
This mission statement is one which I firmly live by on a daily basis. Whatever I am doing and wherever I am, I make decisions intentionally, based on an internal compass which points to my mission. When this happens, I find that I experience the presence of a peaceful contentment because I am acting according to who I truly am.
MY DESIRES FOR YOU...
It is a new year and I believe, a special one too! So from the core of my being, I wish there things for you and your family …
- A ship-load of love and laughter
- Freedom from suffering
- Renewal of inner power
- Reconnection to your TRUE mission
Thanks for reading! If this blog post resonates with you in some way, please share with someone.
* this does not have to be precise - you don't have to set a timer.