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.