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Published on March 19, 2021

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

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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!

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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

What Is Competence Motivation And How To Use It What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal 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)

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

Feel That Life Is Meaningless? Here’s How to Find Meaning

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Feel That Life Is Meaningless? Here’s How to Find Meaning

Have you ever felt like you’re unable to feel anything? You know exactly what this feeling is if you’ve been through it. The feeling of a meaningless life is unexplainable.

A meaningless life may not look bad. In fact, there’s likely nothing obviously wrong. You may be living in your dream house with the love of your life. Your well-paid job in the company that you dreamt of is doing great, too. However, you feel like a part of your heart and soul are missing.

If you feel like nothing is right, you may be living a meaningless life. But don’t you worry, because you’re in the right place to find the perfect solution for you and your unique life.

What Is a Meaningless Life?

Let’s start by helping you put a finger on your issue. Is it actually a meaningless life or just a rough slump?

Be clear on one thing: no human’s life is ever truly meaningless. Basically, your life can never lose its meaning and purpose. If you’re living in this world, there is some reason deep down. The only issue is that you have lost the vision to identify it. Your perspective is too blurred to figure out what you are in this world for.

A meaningless life may mean you’re going through an existential crisis. You could be borderline depressed. The feeling of emptiness may prevail all other emotions. However, you can be sure that, despite all of this, there’s still meaning to your existence.

All you have to do is push through to find it.

If you feel that you’re living a meaningless life, negativity will surround you like wildfire. However, you’ve got to keep your head high so that you can look ahead and find an answer. You have to strive to find your life’s meaning to continue to live a life of high motivation.

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Before you move on with the rest of the process, make sure to first imprint this in your mind. Only then will you be able to guide your thought process in the right direction.

Is There Any Meaning to Life?

Life, in its literal term, means to exist and reproduce. The reproduction not only includes the creation of humans like yourself, but also of thoughts, ideologies, and philosophies.

A person who is living a meaningless life has a very different view of what life is supposed to be. That is where the issue arises. To understand the meaning of life without any misconceptions, one should look at the philosophy behind this concept.

Like most branches of research, philosophy has numerous diverging answers to answer what the meaning of life is[1]. Here’s a quick summary of what I consider the most suitable understanding.

It all starts from a human’s expectations and, ultimately, reactions. Every individual expects something from the world and, in return, has to react to the expectations of others. Generally, this idea is surrounded by wanting goodness. To achieve that, a person has to do good deeds as well.

This cycle continues. But, of course, it is very complex. A lot of factors contribute to this cycle, such as selfishness, a different point of view of what’s good, emotions, likes and dislikes, etc.

The point of this entire concept in philosophy is that, ultimately, the process of growth and reproduction comes to an end for every human. There’s no escaping that. Therefore, the goal is to live life in a way that, when the individual’s growth comes to an end, something good is still left behind for the cycle to continue.

Where Does the Good Come From?

This is the point where the differences come in. People with different beliefs opt for varying methods to reach the same goal.

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There are four main schools of thought in philosophy in this regard, and they all offer different advice on how to move past living a meaningless life[2].

1. God

One school believes that God is the center of everything we do. Hence, goodness is anything that goes in line with the religion that you believe in.

2. The Soul

The other school of thought centers their actions on the soul. For them, anything that satisfies and calms your inner self is the path you should follow, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.

3. Objectivists

The objectivists say that everything in the world is defined; the good and bad are certain, so no one should go beyond the set boundaries.

4. Subjectivists

The subjectivists, on the other hand, believe that since every individual’s cognition varies, the meaning of every single thing in the world is different. No two individuals can have a similar thought process.

All in all, life comes down to one thing only: goodness. That is what life should be, and that is what you should leave behind. How you achieve it depends on which school of thought you agree with. Whatever you believe in is ultimately what the meaning of your life is.

How to Stop Living a Meaningless Life

Now you know that there is a meaning to your life, without question. You also have an idea of what this meaning is. You’ve got to figure out what you consider “good” and build your life around it.

Regardless of which school of thought you agree with or what you have decided your life’s meaning to be, the process to implement will be a bit hard. To make it easier, here are some universal tips.

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1. Unlearn What You’ve Been Told All Your Life

Do not be distracted by what you’ve learned in your life until now. The truth is, you could have been told something for 30 years of your life only to find out that it was all baseless.

The only thing in life that is definite is that there are no rules. We didn’t come into this world with a rule book or defined meaning. Every individual was given the ability to make choices in their life. So, take hold of yours, learn your right and wrong from scratch, and make sure nothing is detracting you from the real meaning of your life. Don’t be afraid if you learn something that goes against your lifelong motto if it gets you away from living a meaningless life.

2. Know That You Matter

This has been said a couple of times by now but, honestly, the more you emphasize this fact, the easier it will be for you.

The fact that you’re alive, living in this world, and taking another breath to take means that you matter. Your life purpose is yet to be fulfilled, so you’ve still got to make some impact in this world.

You are the one person that has to change the world, even if it is something as small as changing the life of one tiny creature. Keep this in mind at all times.

3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

If your life’s meaning was somewhere inside the circle that you stay in, you would’ve found it by now. Isn’t it obvious that what you’re looking for is out of your comfort zone? Then, what’s keeping you from stepping out?

Don’t hesitate to step out. The short-term discomfort will help you find the long-term purpose of life, which will give you a lifetime of relaxation and a constant way out of a meaningless life.

4. Follow Your Heart

Whether you’re choosing which school of thought to follow or opting between what good to go after, never ignore your heart. Your intuition is your heart’s way of guiding you. Don’t let it take over, but also don’t forget to take it into consideration.

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5. Do Not Let Go of Your Passion

You know that one thing in life that you just cannot give up no matter hard you try? Stop trying to get rid of it. You’re passionate about something for a reason. It is a step for you to reach your life’s meaning.

6. Be More Mindful

The big things in life tend to take over the tiny details. These little things are signs to help you decode and find answers. Meditate if you have a hard time focusing, but always try your best to pay attention to the little experiences that you usually don’t notice.

Conclusion

If you’re a person who is going through the dilemma of living a meaningless life, try to use these tips to help you seek out your unique meaning. Although your life seems meaningless, rest assured that it’s not.

The ball is now in your court. You’re the one who has to do the rest of the work. Use the tips to help you find the true meaning of your life, and then stick to it. Get on with step 1 from today without losing any motivation at all.

All the work that you’ll put in the process now will help you achieve a life of happiness and peace worth living.

More Tips on Living With Meaning

Featured photo credit: Frida Aguilar Estrada via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Philosophy Now: What is Life?
[2] Philosophy Now: What is The Meaning Of Life?

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