What do you think of when you hear the word “mission?” Mysterious secret agents with self-destructing recordings? Clean-cut young adults with name tags and scriptures? Carefully-crafted corporate purpose statements?
Have your ever thought of it in terms of a personal mission statement? A statement that defines your personal life philosophy—an ethical and behavioral touchstone, if you will. That sounds pretty heavy, but a mission statement doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I believe the simpler the better. Some of my favorite are one liners:
- 3M: To solve unsolved problems innovatively.
- Green Berets: To free the oppressed.
- Marty Seligman: To increase the tonnage of happiness in the world.
I chose a simple quote as my mission statement: Live, laugh, learn, and love. This succinct phrase is something I can easily remember and even repeat to myself mantra-style when necessary.
This mission statement represents my four core values:
- Health and fitness
- Joy—mine and others
- Lifelong learning and growth
- Meaningful relationships
Ideally, my mission statement works like this:
When I’m struggling to decide where to focus my time and energies, I ask myself if the activity in question supports one or more of these areas.
When I’m setting goals, I consider how they fit in with these values.
Now that I’m contemplating what my life after career might look like, my mission statement and values serve as a guide.
Over the next four weeks, I will use this blog to focus on one value per post—at least that’s the plan, I sometimes tend to wander. I’ll be examining what I’m doing now to cultivate each value and how I might incorporate it into my “retired” life.
If you have a personal mission statement, I’d love to hear it.
If you would like some prompts to help craft your individual mission statement, I recommend Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams Miller.
Christie is an author and professional communicator who blogs about life transitions, wellness, mindfulness, and anything else that answers the question “So what? Now what?”