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Published on March 19, 2021

How To Write A Personal Mission Statement (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How To Write A Personal Mission Statement (A Step-By-Step Guide)

As an experiment, I asked several friends, “what do you stand for?” It was surprising how hard it was for some people to answer.

According to positive psychology, to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, you must cultivate what is best within yourself. To optimize your personal and professional life, you must visualize your future plans and place them against your current standing.

What better way to strategize your life goals than writing a personal mission statement?

Writing a personal mission statement might feel like a chore initially. Still, it has far-reaching effects that can change the way you look at yourself as a person capable of balancing between personal and professional aspirations.

You will never know where you are heading unless to assess what you have now that you can leverage in your current situation to advance where you are heading and what you seek to achieve.

The Search For Meaning

The author Emily Estaphani Smith, who has extensively studied happiness, says,

“Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there’s a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, but having meaning in life — serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you — gives you something to hold onto.”

Smith holds meaning upon four pillars: belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence.

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  • Belonging – Being a part of something.
  • Purpose- the reason for which something is done or exists.
  • Storytelling – The story you tell yourself about yourself.
  • Transcendence – Feeling connected to something vast and much more significant than yourself.

Watch this video for a more detailed explanation of Emily Estaphani Smith’s four pillars of meaning here:

These four pillars might not mean much to someone who lacks clarity in life, but to someone conscious of their choices and consequent results, they can serve as foundational blocks to personal and professional success.

The first step is going deeper into these concepts for a thorough self-examination.

Be Honest With Yourself

They say, “Honesty is the best policy,” but according to Judi Ketteler, the lies we tell ourselves are often more harmful than the lies we tell others. In her most recent book, Would I Lie to You? Ketteler examines how we lie about accomplishments; whether you inflate your abilities, leave things out, or cushion the full impact of honesty, many moments in life start with a lie.

If you wish for something to be true, the concept of “motivated reasoning” is an easy way to reach a particular conclusion and use that desire to guide your thinking.

These lies, according to psychology, are what impact our self-perception and attitude. When self-image (how you think you are) and ideal self (what you want to be like) are juxtaposed upon each other, we get these corners peeking out from everywhere called areas of fabrication. Interesting, isn’t it?

There are lies to our self-perception, regardless of whether they are used to overestimate or underestimate our capabilities!

A personal mission statement is an honest review of oneself, highlighting those very areas of fabrication that manipulate our assessment of the self and ultimately harm the potential we hold to make an impact. This step will shape the way you think about yourself, ensuring your personal mission statement isn’t just based on your perceived self.

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Take a Double-Take at Your Mission, Vision, and Core Values

We all have goals in life; some are immediate, while others are long-term. Regardless of their immediacy, they hold value in our lives and determine our decision-making process.

Life goals allow for new ideas to be born in our minds and act as the foundation for innovation and creativity.

These goals, or missions, give us a vision for the world that helps us create our core values. Mission, vision, and core values are three interdependent and coterminous concepts that maintain the cycle of activity in our life. And guess the biggest obstacle in their smooth functioning? It’s our lack of focus.

Steven H. Cady, in a journal article[1] on mission, vision, and values statements, brings to light how individuals are more concerned with articulating the message instead of actualizing its insights. Our tendency to focus on the wrong things dumps us in unpleasant situations, which is exactly why we need to shift our attention to what’s needful instead of what’s attractive.

Ask yourself: Do your actions align with what you claim? Does the output tally with the input?

Whether you are a businessperson or somebody looking for valuable advice in life, searching for the answers to such questions will help you locate the areas of fabrication in your mission-vision-values cycle. Between what you think is happening and what you wish for to happen, you will discover what is actually happening!

Think of Your Ambition as a Rocket Ready for Take-Off

In almost every situation of your life, whether at work, at home, or with friends, your job is to create value that is not apparent. If you find your mission, vision, and core values too bland, a company called Brand Foundations provides an updated framework[2] — It’s called purpose, way, and impact.

  • Purpose: What is your goal?
  • Way: How will you reach it?
  • Impact: Why is it needed?

Your purpose must reflect a deeper understanding of the spaces you occupy as an individual by locating their problems. Next, you should be able to provide solutions to those problems by reflecting values based on things’ practical and philosophical nature. And finally, the impact needs to exhibit the sensitivity you possess to accommodate the diversity of thought and action in your proposal that does not fade away after your speech or presentation ends.

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Ask yourself:

What am I trying to achieve from this initiative? How am I going to make this idea actionable? Why am I doing this?

Writing a personal mission statement, with an upgraded touch, can add depth to your plan of action. The more you have answers to fundamental questions, the sharper your focus will be; doing so can help you discover your blind spots and overcome them.

Define Your Simple Marketing Promise

Once you have articulated your purpose, way, and impact, it’s time to complete this three-sentence marketing promise from Seth Godin that connects what’s important to you with what’s important to others (your audience).

  • My product is for people who believe _____________.
  • I will focus on people who want ________________.
  • I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get__________.

This statement is anything but easy and if you do it right, it will take you a week or so of refining until it starts to sing!

Here’s mine:

  • My product is for people who are curious about their full potential.
  • I will focus on talented people who are open to personal and professional growth but aren’t sure how.
  • I promise to use my candor, experience, & network, to guide you in building an action plan for your life and career.

What’s Your Movement?

As individuals, professionals, and entrepreneurs, a movement can be your reality IF you choose to prioritize it. Whether you are focused on financial inclusion, gender equality, or helping build up necessary skills in underserved communities, you can and should define your movement based on what gets you excited.

A movement can be a full-time job or a hobby after your day job. Either way, it is critical to define what it is and what you plan to do with it, or else you will never be able to measure your progress.

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My movement is my company, Your Brand Coach. Your Brand Coach applies my diverse skills as a career corporate digital marketer, an entrepreneur, and a coach to help people understand what makes them tick and translate it into a real business or an actionable plan to connect your passion with your vocation. Seeing people receive clarity and a concrete plan from my workshops drives me to continue to evolve my movement and offerings.

Align Your Movement With Your Identity

There are three facets of a business that you must maintain to build a sharp brand image: Identity, Platform, and Movement.

Identity sets the foundation for having a crystal clear vision of who you are.

The platform (or channel) is the method you choose to establish your identity and share your message with your target audience. It could be your website, a social media handle, or simply a physical presence. Once you realize and form your business identity, it is essential to meticulously strategize how you will be approaching your customers on your platform.

And then comes your movement that acts as the icing on the top, enriching the customer experience. Your movement, presented as a promise, builds a deep connection with the audience.

Just like identity, your personal or company’s movement is also something that needs to be registered and organized by the self. You cannot perceive your movement (or come up with one) without truly understanding who you are and how your value and values resonate with your customers.

What are you waiting for?

According to social media today, here are the seven steps you can follow:

  • Step 1: Know your movement. Know those you wish to target and what action you want them to take.
  • Step 2: Get educated. What would be the concerns about people starting the movement?
  • Step 3: Make it popular.
  • Step 4: Rally the troops.
  • Step 5: Set up communication.
  • Step 6: Get noticed.
  • Step 7: Keep on showing up!

Bottom Line

Connecting your vision, plans, and actions with psychology helps gain a deeper understanding of your skills and plan of action. To understand what goes on around you, it is imperative to figure out what goes inside your head. And most often, we are unaware of what we truly desire and are capable of!

Writing a personal mission statement is like looking within to discover how you can impact what surrounds you. I hope this article helps you channelize your inner strengths and desires, productively!

More On Purpose And Meaning Of Life

Featured photo credit: Darius Bashar via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jay Mandel

Jay is an Entrepreneur and the Founder of Your Brand Coach

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation: Is One Better Than The Other? 3 Important Metrics to Gauge and Measure Attainable Goals How To Write A Personal Mission Statement (A Step-By-Step Guide) What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of motivation that lists five categories of human needs that dictate individual behavior. These five categories refer to physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.[1]

Motivation plays a big part in athletic coaching. I spent 44 years coaching basketball and each day at practice, I was trying to motivate our athletes to give their best effort. In this article, I will examine Maslow’s hierarchy and five areas of needs from an athletic perspective.

1. Physiological Needs

These needs represent the most basic human survival needs. They include food, water, rest, and breathing, and all four have importance in athletics.

Food has had an evolution in the world of athletics. I cannot recall my coaches in the 1950s and ‘60s mentioning anything about food. As time went on, the pre-game meal became important. Steak seemed to be the meal of choice early in the evolution. Research then indicated pasta would be the better choice.[2]

Today, I think most coaches prefer pasta. However, if the players are ordering from menus, some coaches believe the players should stick with their regular diets and order accordingly.

The next step in this evolution was that the pre-game meal, although important, is not nearly as critical as the athletes’ overall nutrition. At our University of St. Francis athletic seminars, we invited nutritionists to speak and to educate our players on their nutritional habits.

The ultimate change in food intake may be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady. He adheres to a specific, disciplined diet that has allowed him to play superb football at age 43.

Water also has had an evolution in sports. It went from not being allowed in practices to coaches scheduling water breaks during the practices.

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Rest is extremely important in all sports, and statistics validate its importance. NBA research found that during the course of the season teams win 6 of 10 games at home but only 4 of 10 on the road. In the NBA playoffs, the statistics change to 6.5 at home and 3.5 on the road. Many coaches believe rest is the key factor to these statistics because the players are sleeping in their own beds for home games.[3]

Our St. Francis basketball team found the importance of breathing on a trip to play in a tournament in Colorado. In our first game, we were playing great and winning by 12 points early in the game. Then the altitude kicked in, adversely affected our breathing, and we lost the lead and eventually the game.

In our second game, having learned our lesson, we substituted more frequently! Maslow’s idea of physiological needs plays a major part in the athletic arena.

2. Safety Needs

Safety needs include protection from violence, emotional stability and well-being, health security, and financial security.

If a fight breaks out during a basketball game, there can be serious injuries. This is the reason a coach steps in immediately when there is any violence or dirty play in practice. The coach must protect the players. You drill your teams to play hard—never dirty.

The importance of emotional stability has gained more credence in sports in recent years. Many teams hire psychologists to help work with their players. There is a great deal of player failure in sports and it is critical for the players to stay emotionally stable.

Health security is much more prevalent in sports today than in my playing days. I once got a concussion during a basketball game. We had no trainers. The coach handled it by telling me after the game, “Sullivan, you play better when you don’t know where the hell you are!” He was right, and my medical treatment ended there! Games today have trainers available to protect the health of the athletes.

Financial security is predominant in professional sports. Most players today use free agency to go where the money is because they consider sport not to be a sport at all. They believe it is a short-term business at their level. I personally appreciate the athletes who have taken less money so the team can retain teammates or use the dollars to bring in new players.

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3. Love and Belonging Needs

These needs can be summed up with two words: love and relationships.

After teams win championships, you will often hear coaches say, “I love these guys” or “I loved coaching this team.” You can tell by their body language and the tone of their voice that they really mean it.

I think coaches say this because the season can be a tough grind. Practices, scouting, film work, travel, and problems that arise take a toll on coaches. However, when you have teams that give all they have every night in practice, you do come to love them.

ESPN did a 30-30 segment on the North Carolina State national championship team coached by Jim Valvano. I was especially interested in watching it because I knew a player on the team who used to come to our camps. Terry Gannon played a major role in their championship.

The program was a reunion of their players. This was 20 plus years from their title, and if you were to take one thing away from the show, it would be how much the players loved each other.

In the last analysis, sport is all about relationships. You can meet former teammates with whom you played 40 to 50 years earlier and that athletic bond is as strong as it ever was. Although you may have not seen each other in years, your friendship is so cemented it’s like you have been seeing each other weekly.

David Halberstam’s book, The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, validates the relationship between athletics forges. Ted Williams is dying and three of his former Boston Red Sox teammates—Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio—make the trip to Florida to see him. Even though 50 years had passed since they played together, the bond among them never waned.

Love and belonging epitomize the essence of sports.

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4. Esteem Needs

These needs are characterized by self-respect and self-esteem. Self-respect is “the belief that you are valuable and deserve dignity.” Self-esteem is twofold—“it is based on the respect and acknowledgment from others and esteem which is based on your own self-assessment.”[4]

Often the players on the bench are the ones the coach respects the most because they work so hard in practices yet receive none of the glory. The best coaches never let the starters or stars ever denigrate the players on the bench. Coaches must always acknowledge the value and the dignity of those who play little. They often turn out to be the superstars of their professions.

Some coaches will never get “it.” They think they can motivate their players by degrading them. They embarrass the athletes during games and they constantly berate their performance in practices.

Great coaches are just the opposite. They are encouragers. They do push their players and they push them hard, but they always respect them. Great coaches enhance the self-esteem and confidence of their players.

5. Self-Actualization Needs

“Self-actualization describes the fulfillment of your full potential as a person.”[5]

I believe three words are the key to self-actualization: potential, effort, and regrets.

You often hear in athletics that a player has potential. It also is not uncommon for the person introducing the athlete to rave about his potential. I was fortunate to work with an outstanding man in the Milwaukee Bucks camps, Ron Blomberg. Ron had the best definition of potential that I ever heard: “Potential means he hasn’t done it.” Will he do all the work necessary to fulfill his potential?

Effort is great, but it’s not enough. If you want to reach your full potential, you must have a consistency of effort in your daily habit. Only consistency of effort can lead to success.

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John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, said that success is becoming all your ability will allow you to be. He agreed with his friend, major league umpire, George Moriarty, even though he used to kid him. Coach told him he never had seen Moriarty spelled with just one “i.” He followed this with, “Of course, the baseball players accused him of having only one ‘eye’ in his head as well.”

In his poem, The Road Ahead or The Road Behind, Moriarty wrote,

“. . . for who can ask more of a man
than giving all within his span, it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory.

When your life is winding down and you look back if you can say you gave “all in your span”—that you consistently gave it your best effort—you will have reached your full potential and there will be no regrets.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, consider reflecting on the last two needs (esteem needs and self-actualization needs) and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you doing all you can to enhance the self-esteem of those around you?
  • Are you doing all you can to self-actualize the potential you have been given?

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

Reference

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