I recently spent some time revising my personal mission and vision statements- both for my personal life as well as my business. I do this regularly. It occurred to me that the vision I have for my work closely relates to my personal vision. Having a practice that reflects my personal vision is powerful because it has allowed me to create a business life for myself that truly reflects who I am.
Companies know all about mission and vision statements and expend a lot of effort and resources into getting their employees on board. These statements propel the company in the direction that they want, and ultimately towards success. Many of us have spent countless hours working on these statements for our employers, and doing our part to contribute to their vision as a part of the team. As humans, we, like businesses, have a purpose or mission in life.
What if we spent as much time getting to know who we are and what we want for ourselves? Personal mission and vision statements make up the framework for creating a powerful life. They are the key ingredients you need for a power potion. Unlike goals, your life vision, and therefore your mission rarely changes. Your vision is a reason for your existence. It guides you in the decisions you make and the directions you take.
Your Personal Vision
Let’s try an exercise. Close your eyes and picture yourself in the future. It may be a few months or years from today. Notice the person you are. What are you doing? Who are you with? What have you accomplished? What is important to you? How do people relate to you? How does it feel to be you? Feel the person you are- your true self. Now, open your eyes and see your life and yourself in the present, through the eyes of that future self. You will begin to notice the changes you need to make to honour this vision and lead a powerful life. A Personal Vision is a picture of your True Self in the future. An effective personal vision includes all the important elements of your life and career; it is who you want to be, what you want to do, how you want to feel, what you want to own, and who you want to associate with. Although your personal vision helps you to see into the future, it must be grounded in the present. It is a statement of who you are, and who you are becoming. It is the framework for the process of creating your life. Your vision is where you are headed. How you get there is your mission statement.
Your Personal Mission Statement
A Personal Mission Statement is how you plan to manifest your Personal Vision in your daily life. It may be a few words or several pages- the length doesn’t matter. But, it’s important to note that a mission statement is not a “to do” list. It reflects your uniqueness and must speak to you powerfully about the person you are and the person you are becoming. Remember, it’s okay to be where you are, while heading somewhere else. In fact, the only place you can start is where you are right now. Having a personal vision does not mean your life changes overnight. But it will change if you are willing to do the work to let it. Your personal mission statement provides the steps to get you there.
Your Personal Mission Statement should answer three questions:
- What is my life about (Purpose)?
- What do I stand for (Values)?
- What actions do I take to manifest my Purpose and my Values?
According to Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, an empowering mission statement:
- Represents the deepest and best within you
- Comes out of a solid connection with your deep inner life
- Is the fulfillment of your own unique gifts
- Is the expression of your unique capacity to contribute
- Addresses and integrates the four fundamental human needs and capacities
- Deals with the significant roles in your life
- Represents a lifetime balance of personal, family, work, and community roles that you feel are yours to fill
- Is written only for your inspiration
- Communicates to you on the most essential level
Creating a Personal Mission Statement will be, without question, one of the most powerful and significant things you will ever do to take leadership of your life. In it you will identify the most important roles, relationships, and things in your life – who you want to be, what you want to do, to whom and what you want to give your life, the principles you want to anchor your life to, the legacy you want to leave. All the goals and decisions you will make in the future will be based upon it. It’s like deciding first which wall you want to lean your ladder of life against, and then beginning to climb. It will be a compass – a strong source of guidance amid the stormy seas and pressing, pulling currents of your life.
Personal mission and vision statements can help propel you into a new job, or make your present job work better for you. The more connected they are to your true self, the better they can guide your career and your life.