A personal mission statement describes how you see yourself in the future. Business author Michael Goodman defines a personal mission statement as “an articulation of what you’re all about and what success looks like to you”.

    A mission statement integrates various aspects of your life and what you know about yourself. It makes it easier to define the actions that will help you achieve your vision, acts as a yardstick against which you can measure your current reality and progress and allows you to evaluate how well you are adhering to your values. It is written in the present tense, imagining yourself already achieving it.

    A Five-Step
    Mission Statement Development Process

    Like your personal vision statement, it needs to be written down to harness its power to become reality. Here’s a five-step mission-building process recommended by Dr. Randall Hansen. Take as much time as you need and dig deeply so that your mission statement is authentic and honest.

      1. Identify your past successes. Spend time identifying four or five examples where you’ve had personal successes in recent years. These can have been at work, in your community, at home, etc. Write them down. Identify whether there is a common theme or themes to these examples and write that down too.

      2. Identify your core values. Develop a list of attributes you believe identify who you are and what your priorities are. Once your list is complete, try to narrow the list down to five or six important values and then see if you can choose the one that is most important to you.

      3. Identify your contributions. Make a list of the ways you could make a difference. In an ideal situation, how could you contribute best to:

      • The world in general
      • Your family
      • Your employer
      • Your friends
      • Your community

      4. Identify your goals. Make a list of your personal goals, perhaps in the short term (up to three years) and the long term (beyond three years).

      5. Write your personal mission statement.

    A Sample Mission Statement

    Here’s an example of the development process and a final Personal Mission Statement that followed the above five-step process. It will give you some ideas and help you work through your own Mission Statement development process.

    Your past success:

      • Developed new product features for stagnant product
      • Part of team that developed new positioning statement for product
      • Helped child’s school with fundraiser that was wildly successful
      • Increased turnout for the opening of a new local theater company
      • Note Common themes here: Your successes all relate to creative problem solving and the execution of a solution.

      Your core values

        • Hard-working
        • Industrious
        • Creativity
        • Problem-solving
        • Decision-making
        • Friendly
        • Outgoing
        • Positive
        • Family-oriented
        • Honest
        • Intelligent
        • Compassionate
        • Spiritual
        • Analytical
        • Passionate
        • Contemplative
        • Your most important values:

          • Problem-Solving
          • Creativity
          • Analytical
          • Compassionate
          • Decision-maker
          • Positive

          Your single most important value:

          • Creativity

          Identify Contributions:

          • the world in general: develop products and services that help people achieve what they want in life. To have a lasting impact on the way people live their lives.

          • my family: to be a leader in terms of personal outlook, compassion for others, and maintaining an ethical code; to be a good mother and a loving wife; to leave the world a better place for my children and their children.

          • my employer or future employers: to lead by example and demonstrate how innovative and problem-solving products can be both successful in terms of solving a problem and successful in terms of profitability and revenue generation for the organization.

          • my friends: to always have a hand held out for my friends; for them to know they can always come to me with any problem.

          • my community: to use my talents in such a way as to give back to my community.

          Identify Goals:

            Short-term: To continue my career with a progressive employer that allows me to use my skills, talent, and values to achieve success for the firm.

            Long-term: To develop other outlets for my talents and develop a longer-term plan for diversifying my life and achieving both professional and personal success.

          Your Mission Statement:

            To live life completely, honestly, and compassionately, with a healthy dose of realism mixed with the imagination and dreams that all things are possible if one sets their mind to finding an answer.

          For a little automated help, Nightingale Conant offers a free on-line mission statement builder. It’s a good starting point but you’ll need to do some refining with the mission statement itself.

          My Personal Mission Statement

          Because of the timing and my specific circumstances at this time, my personal mission statement is directly associated with the creation of this website and reads as follows:

          “My mission is to inspire and help women managers achieve their fullest career potential”.

          A Final Thought on Writing Your
          Personal Mission Statement

          Although the Mission Statement (#5 above, not my personal one) does not appear to have much direct relevance to your career, it is the basis on which your professional development process and decisions will be based. Without it, your career- and job-related decisions may be out of sync with who you are and “success” may be hollow and unfulfilling.