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.
- 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.
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 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 — 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.
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!
- 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.
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!
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!
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Featured photo credit: Darius Bashar via unsplash.com