Every organization has a purpose, a reason for existing – a mission. It is a concise statement of the business’s fundamental reason for being in business. Most importantly, a mission statement puts into words the organization’s purpose not only to be public (those that the business aspires to affect), but also to the very people associated with that business.
For example, Microsoft’s mission statement reads:
“To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”
“McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
Levi Strauss says:
“We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe the world.”
As you can see in the previous examples, a good mission statement should precisely explain both why an organization exists and what it desires to accomplish in the future. It articulates the organization’s inherent beliefs, values, priorities, goals, and focus.
The three questions organizations need to address in their mission statements are:
- What principles and beliefs underlie and direct our efforts? (Values)
- How will we address those needs? (Endeavors)
- What are the needs do we serve by existing? (Purpose)
Should individuals have mission statements? Absolutely! You should develop a personal mission statement for the very same reasons a business makes use of one. Your personal mission statement should describe your goals, your priorities, and your values.
Your statement of purpose should:
- Define what’s important to you. (Your Values)
- Specify how you intend to go about fulfilling your priorities. (Your Endeavors)
- Personify what needs you serve by doing what you do. (Your Purpose)
Remember that a personal mission statement is not a calendar or program that you keep in your electronic organizer. Similarly, it’s not a productivity tool.
Your personal mission statement should be a concise representation of what’s most important to you, what you desire to focus on, what you want to achieve, and, ultimately, who you want to become. In its purest form, it’s an approach to your life, one that allows you to identify a focus of energy, creativity, and vision in living a life in support of your inner-most beliefs and values.
Also remember that your mission will change over time as you and your life change. Do you remember Microsoft’s mission statement? “To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.” That’s been Microsoft’s philosophy only since late 2002. Prior to that, Microsoft existed: “To empower people through great software — any time, any place, and on any device.” You can see that as Microsoft has grown and changed over the years, so too has its fundamental beliefs, values, and goals has broadened. Its idea of why it exists and what it desires to accomplish in the future has expanded.
A great personal mission statement is one that inspires you, motivates you, and offers you the opportunity for continued happiness and fulfillment.
So what’s my personal mission statement? Short and sweet: To empower others.
Written for Dumb Little Man by David B. Bohl, Husband, Father, Friend, Lifestyle Coach, Author, Entrepreneur, and creator of Slow Down FAST. For more info go to Slow Down Fast and visit his blog at Slow Down Fast blog.