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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

How To Write A Personal Mission Statement (A Step-By-Step Guide) 3 Important Metrics To Gauge Attainable Goals What to Do If You Find Yourself Making Slow Progress Towards Your Goal

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Last Updated on April 14, 2021

How to Find Your Core Values to Live a Fulfilling Life

How to Find Your Core Values to Live a Fulfilling Life

Everyone has things that are important to them. It can be getting in that morning coffee, going for a run after work, spending time with friends and family, or volunteering. The things that are important to you can give you a clue as to what your core values are in life.

This is important, as, according to The Atlantic, 7 out of 10 Americans say people’s values have been getting worse in America over the past decade.[1]

Let’s first define core values and then dive into discovering what yours are.

What Are Core Values?

Your core values are a testament to your true self because they are what matters most to you when it comes to your personal and professional life. Your values influence that little voice in your head that tells you whether or not to care about something and how you should prioritize your time.

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.[2] They help determine what you truly want out of life while simultaneously acting as the measuring stick you use to tell if you’re satisfied with your current situation and living in a meaningful way. Core values define who we are while helping us find our purpose.

Here are a few good examples of values:[3]

  • Reliability
  • Loyal
  • Committed
  • Teamwork
  • Caring
  • Adventurous
  • Listening
  • Diversity
  • Humility

Some of these values are instilled in you from childhood. They can be cultural or learned through watching your family and hearing their discussions about things they’re passionate about.

Perhaps now, in adulthood, you realize you’re passionate about those same things. It’s not a bad thing to share core values with those around you, but it can be detrimental to live a life that doesn’t honor those core values once you’ve identified them.

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How Core Values Affect Our Daily Decisions

We make decisions based on our values every day, but we sometimes forget about the important decisions we face, big and small, and the potential stress those choices can create.

When you can identify your values and make choices that align with them, life suddenly becomes a little easier. But when you’re running on autopilot and not allowing your values to coincide with your choices, you can find yourself becoming incredibly unhappy, and maybe you don’t know why.

Discovering your core values don’t help with huge aspects alone; they impact seemingly small things, too. Think back to that new phone you bought that you didn’t really need. You decided that spending money wisely was not valuable to you, but is that truly how you feel?

Now it’s the end of the month and bills are due. Perhaps it would be really helpful to have that money back, so it has created stress. That disconnect stems from living a life that doesn’t correlate with your core values.

When you begin to make those choices that seem small at the time knowing what you find valuable, you begin to feel less stress in other aspects of your life. This has a snowball effect that leads to better choices and prolonged stress-free existence. And the best part is, there’s no hard work needed, just some introspection and self-awareness.

And if simply sitting alone for a few minutes could impact the rest of your life positively, wouldn’t it be worth it? After all, knowing your values helps you make important decisions, like accepting a job, starting a business, or making a big change.

How Do We Find Our Personal Values?

Core values are important to us. By figuring out the things that matter to us most, we can lead a better life.

To get started finding your core values, you can check out Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment, which can help point you to what you believe to be important in life.

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Then, you can try the following two ways to find your personal core values.

Start With Your Morals

Knowing your core values can certainly sync up with your morals, which you likely already have a good handle on. After all, your values have a direct impact on your standards of behavior.

Think about it: if it is morally important to you to arrive at your workplace and focus on nothing but work on company time, it will also be true that being an honest and efficient employee is a value you carry to every job you occupy.

If you’re the kind of partner who puts their phone away when on a date, this probably means you are a morally loyal person and want to ensure your partner knows you value time with them.

This is a strong indication that, as a core value, you put relationships first and work hard to show people you care. You could easily list respect and commitment on your list of core values.

Analyze Your Own Experiences

For instance, think back to a time you were the happiest.

Can you name the thing that caused you to feel happiness? Was the fulfillment you felt due to other people, and if so, who were they?

Think about when you were proud of yourself, and why you felt that pride. Your own experiences can shine a great light on what you hold important.

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Don’t be afraid to look ahead and analyze where you want to challenge the status quo. What values do you want to exemplify to your children?

If you want others to value it, it’s valuable to you.

What Should I Do With My Core Values?

Just sit down and make a list of what comes to mind, and let yourself explore those core value words. There is no set limit on how many values you can have, so allow yourself to list as many as you can.

1. Prioritize Your Values

If you wind up with 20 words, consider crossing out those that barely made the list and prioritize your values.

Personal development blogger Steve Pavlina suggests identifying the top value, then the second-highest value, and so on until you’ve rebuilt the list in order of priority from the top to the bottom.[4]

As you’re trying to prioritize the values, have this question at the back of your mind:

If I have to choose from these, which one goes first, and which one can I live without?

Some of the words may easily float to the top, whereas others might stump you. Allow that to happen, and accept that it aids in teaching you who you are.

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2. Look to Your Values Every Day

Once you’ve determined what your core values are, it’s vital to look to them every day. We all face challenging situations and decisions, and it’s important to know your core values in those instances, as they will help guide you when the best choice isn’t the most obvious one.

Let your core values be valuable to you. Everyone is on their own path, and no one can tell you what your core values are but you.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Rework Your List in the Future

When you realize your values and begin to live by them, you may find that not all of them are as important as you believed.

Rework your list when the time comes. You’re allowed to consciously change your values as you grow and evolve as a person. In fact, it will be entirely necessary throughout your life.

Final Thoughts

You are not your values. You are the thinker of your thoughts, but you are not the thoughts themselves. Your personal values are your current compass, but they aren’t the real you.

Remember, your important values should aid in creating your best life, and your most authentic self.

You make the rules, so be patient with yourself and dedicate the time to discovering your core values. You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish.

More on Discovering Your Personal Values

Featured photo credit: Bewakoof.com Official via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Atlantic: 21 Charts That Explain American Values Today
[2] MindTools: What Are Your Values?
[3] ContentSparks: Big List of Core Value Words
[4] Steve Pavlina: Living Your Values Part 1

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