What’s Your Mission Statement?
Do it right, and a personal mission statement might just be two sentences that change your life.
What sort of mission do we mean? Writer Stephen R Covey suggests the focus be on “what you want to be in terms of character and what you want to do in reference to contributions and achievements.”
Why is it important? In a recent survey by Abbott, 28% of Indians said they believed other people lived fully due to one factor — attitude. What better short-cut to a positive attitude than your own personal mantra — a tweet-length summary of where you’re going and why. Here are four tips to crafting yours.
1. Focus on what drives you
Healthcare innovator Shanthanu Pathak is the brains behind a portable kit allowing healthcare workers to test pregnant women at their doorstep.
His personal mission has been to improve access to healthcare in rural areas: “Convincing yourself to give up your nine-to-five job and pursuing an idea is challenging for anyone,” he admits.
“However, I don’t measure success by money or fame, but by the impact of my work. In the end, it’s your own responsibility to convert your dream to reality,” says Pathak.
So, first you must define your personal — and measurable, picture of success.
2. Get moving to find the answers
Are you finding yourself stuck behind your desk, blank page staring up at you? Time for a change of tempo — and setting. Here’s how Neha Motwani, CEO of Fitternity, found a statement to inspire great acts each day: By getting her heart pumping.
A life-long fitness devotee, Motwani finds workouts are the perfect time to return to her life-plan and unpack its challenges.
“When running, one aims to achieve the farthest in the least amount of time while setting milestones. I got my answers at every milestone,” she explains. “I was running and was wondering what my next challenge should be. One kilometre down with no answers yet, I started to focus on what made me feel as good as the next one kilometre would. Seven kilometres down, I had the answers.” Exercise became a way for her to think in the moment, link remote goals to the here and now, and achieve a eureka moment.
That’s not surprising. Research shows that we think more clearly after exercise because of increased bloodflow to the brain. So if you’re stuck for inspiration, lace up!
So what was Neha’s power maxim, unveiled through the power of exercise? “A job that wakes you up with excitement, a day that makes you create, a family that gets you home, people that help you grow, travels that teach you and friends that share it with you.”
3. Make it binding
How do you make your statement a reality? Put pen to paper — then put it out there. Writing down your mission statement, and sharing with friends or family makes it more binding, and forces you to stay true to your goals.
Many gain inspiration from personal mission statements of famous people they relate to. Oprah Winfrey’s, as you might imagine, is all about helping others: “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they should be.” But in the end, it’s your statement, nobody else’s, so make it unique to you.
4. Be specific yet inclusive
Your statement needs to be specific enough to be discernibly yours and keep you accountable, but at the same time extend beyond your personal and into your professional life.
That’s why Khushboo Agarwal’s personal mission is to challenge the status quo. “This is the same mission that I have cultivated in my company,” explains the co-founder and COO of youth apparel brand Campus Sutra.
The statements help his decision making, he notes. “I constantly ask myself and my team how we will differentiate from others.”
Test opportunities and challenges that come your way against your statement. This will keep your decision making authentic, and keep you on your path.
Have fun crafting your own statement, because as motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into the visible.”