motivation

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What are some personal mission statement examples? What are the steps you should take to write your own mission statement?

A personal mission statement defines your values and who you are as a person. Having examples of personal mission statements can be beneficial when you’re trying to pursue your goals in life but don’t quite know where to start.

Below we’ll discuss the importance of having a mission statement and how to create one. We’ll include many personal mission statement examples to inspire you as you write your own.

Why Having a Personal Mission Statement Is Important

To achieve what you want out of life, you need to set long-term goals to get there. These goals will help you identify what’s most important to you and what gives your life meaning.

One way to clarify and pursue these goals is through a personal mission statement. In the book First Things First, Stephen Covey describes a personal mission statement as a written document in which you outline your guiding principles and long-term goals. A personal mission statement reinforces your priorities and reminds you of them through the changing circumstances and demands of everyday life. 

We’ll go into more depth about how to create a personal mission statement with examples and steps that can inspire you to create your own. For now, consider the following questions: 

  • What are three or four “first things” that are important in your life?
  • What are some of your long-term goals?
  • What are the most important relationships in your life?
  • What kinds of contributions do you want to make to your community, society, or the world?
  • What kinds of feelings do you want to have (e.g., happiness, confidence, peace)?
  • How would you spend the next seven days if you knew you had just six more months to live?

Personal Mission Statement Examples

Before learning how to write your own mission statement, it may be helpful to look at some other statements for inspiration. Below we’ve separated personal mission statement examples into two categories: general personal mission statements and statements used by companies or CEOs. 

General Personal Mission Statement Examples

It takes time and deep self-reflection to develop a mission statement, which should serve as an inspiring reminder of your long-term goals and the principles and values that you want to guide your life. An effective mission statement is based on what Covey calls “true north principles”—integrity, moderation, self-discipline, loyalty, responsibility, honesty, and patience— and is realistic enough to be attainable.

That being said, there are personal mission statement examples that are general enough to be shared by multiple people who have similar goals. For instance, many teachers aspire to change the lives of younger generations. 

We’ve categorized these general personal mission statement examples into two sections: statements for life and statements for teachers and leaders. Look at these statements if you don’t quite know where to start with writing yours.

For Life

Some personal mission statements are meant to create a better version of yourself. These statements can either help you become more active in your community or to encourage you to work harder at school or work.

Mission statements can also have a religious meaning to them. The Purpose Driven Life book gives a general Christian personal mission statement example, which is that Christians share the mission of spreading the word about God all over the world—just as Jesus did. Like him, they share what they know about God throughout their life to everyone they can.

Let’s look at examples of personal mission statements that Indeed gives that you can apply to your life:

  • “To inspire others to achieve great things.”
  • “To create new opportunities for today’s youth.”
  • “To be a source of hope by offering humility, optimism, and support to everyone I meet.”
  • “To bring beauty into the world through graphic design.”
  • “To encourage and equip others to live the lives they want to live.”
  • “To thrive in my journey through life and learn life’s lessons along the way.”
  • “To leave the world a better place than I found it.”

For Teachers and Leaders

Teachers and leaders might have different personal mission statements because they want to change the lives of others with their knowledge. If you’re a teacher or a leader, you might be inspired by one of these examples of personal mission statements:

  • “To educate young minds and create compassionate, empathetic, and hard-working members of society.”
  • “To support and elevate those around me.”
  • “To use my gifts to bring education to women around the globe.”
  • “To be a teacher and inspire my students to be the best version of themselves.”
  • “To inspire children to be more than they thought they could be.”
  • “To serve as a leader by encouraging innovative ideas and forward-thinking so that our team can create technology solutions that will improve the lives of others.”
  • “To use my writing skills to inspire and educate others around the world to make a change.”

Company/CEO Mission Statement Examples

Rather than mission statements that are tailored to be more personal for the individual, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau shares the importance of a mission statement for a company’s growth.

In addition to your business plan, you should form a mission statement or an explanation of the central values upon which your company is built. This statement should be no more than 140 characters and should explain in simple terms how your business can help people.

For example, if you run a day-care center, your mission statement might be, “I help working parents feel comfortable with using a day-care center by giving their children personalized, quality care during the workday.”

Let’s look at personal mission statement examples that companies and CEOs use to encourage dedication and hard work.

Company Mission Statements

Companies have their mission statements to inspire their employees to carry out only the best service for their customers. These mission statements are the foundation of what makes a company grow into a successful business, representing its core values:

  • Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Twitter: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
  • Kickstarter: “To help bring creative projects to life.”
  • Coca-Cola: “To refresh the world…To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…To create value and make a difference.”
  • Walmart: “We save people money so they can live better.”
  • Asana: “To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.”
  • Sweetgreen (as stated in The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek): “To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.” 

In addition, many companies had a great mission statement but ultimately couldn’t live up to the vision they created. In the book Bad Blood, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou explains how the now-dissolved health technology company Theranos used its mission statement to deceive its investors:

  • Theranos’s mission statement: “Detect diseases early so no one has to die unnecessarily.” 

All types of stakeholders saw what they wanted to see in it, allowing a large suspension of disbelief while Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was lying about the technology being used to sample blood from real patients.

This is a prime example of why acting upon your mission statement is important. It’s one thing to write down what you want to achieve, but you actually have to work to achieve it. Otherwise, your mission statement won’t mean anything.

CEO Mission Statements

A CEO’s mission statement might be a little different than the company’s mission statement. A CEO strives to be a leader for their employees, supporting them through every obstacle and being worthwhile role models. Let’s look at a few examples of successful CEOs’ personal mission statements:

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal mission statement is “If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure.” This statement is much more personal to Musk than Tesla’s statement: “To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
  • Oprah Winfrey, founder of OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), has a very grounded approach to her personal mission statement: “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
  • Walt Disney, founder of Walt Disney Company, had a simple motto he lived by: “To make people happy.” On the other hand, the Walt Disney Company’s statement is much more strategic and embraces business more than personal desires: “To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services, and consumer products.”

Key Traits of an Effective Mission Statement

Personal mission statements are as unique as the people who write them; they can be long or short, expressed in words or music, or another art form. But there are several characteristics that every effective mission statement should have:

  1. It reflects a strong connection with your deep inner life and recognition of your deepest and best self. 
  2. It recognizes and incorporates your unique purpose and ability to contribute. 
  3. It’s grounded in self-transcendence, or living to contribute to a higher purpose beyond yourself. 
  4. It addresses all four human needs: physical, social, mental, and spiritual. 
  5. It includes a purpose and methods of achieving that purpose that are based on the true north principles Covey describes.
  6. It incorporates your vision as well as your values: What kind of person do you want to be, and what accomplishments do you want to make?
  7. It balances all the important roles in your life—personal, family, work, and community.
  8. It inspires you.

Create Your Own Mission Statement

Now that you’ve looked at various personal mission statement examples and have an idea of what your statement should look like, let’s take a look at Covey’s advice on how to create one in First Things First

When you sit down to write your own personal mission statement, start by envisioning a future landmark event late in your life, such as your 80th birthday or 50th wedding anniversary. Take time to visualize the scene in detail, including the setting and the attendees. Visualize people there from each of the different roles in your life—people from your family, your work, and your community. 

Now imagine that someone from each of these areas of your life is giving a toast or speech in your honor. If you fulfilled each of your roles to your fullest potential, what would these people say about you, your character, your actions, and your contributions? What impact have you made in their lives? 

With this in mind, write down each of your roles in life. Next to each role, write down what you visualized someone saying about you and your contributions in that role. How do you feel as you look at this vision of what your life could amount to? 

This is the basis for your mission statement. You’ll take this vision and translate it into a principle-based mission that incorporates all four of your basic human needs—to live (physical), to love (social), to learn (mental), and to leave a legacy (spiritual).

Stephen Covey’s Tips

Covey offers these tips for developing your personal mission statement in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

1) Allow ample time. Writing your statement requires deep introspection and careful thought, which can take weeks or months. Don’t rush, as the process is as important as the final result.

2) Identify your core (or, as Covey calls it, your center). This is the source of your identity, perspective, drive, and direction in life. Ideally, your core—like your perspectives—should be centered on universally accepted principles, such as fairness and service to others. Principles provide consistent standards on which to base your identity and goals. 

However, many people have other values—such as money, pleasure, or family—at their core. Although these may seem like worthy values, their changing natures make them unstable centers, which creates chaos in your life. For example, if family is the core of your identity, then who do you become when your children move out of the house or you get divorced?

3) Identify your roles, such as spouse, sibling, parent, friend, professional, and individual. If you don’t create your vision and goals to address each of your roles, you may focus your statement too heavily on one area of your life and neglect others.

4) Create goals for each role. Effective goals should focus on the result you want, rather than how you’ll get there. Once you’ve identified your destination, then you can figure out a path to reach it.

5) Regularly review and revise your statement as your life, priorities, and circumstances change. Revising your statement ensures that it reflects such changes in your life and goals while also allowing you to refine your approach. For instance, you may realize that one iteration of your statement puts too much emphasis on your professional life, so you revise it to create more balance in your personal life.

Use Your Four Human Endowments

First Things First says that all four human endowments—self-awareness, conscience, creative imagination, and independent will—are necessary and must be integrated into the process of creating and achieving your personal mission statement. 

1. Self-awareness is necessary to understand your needs and unique capabilities. This endowment allows you to examine your paradigms and motives and evaluate how they are impacting your behavior and your life. Self-awareness also allows you to become aware of your conscience. 

2. Conscience gives you the power to recognize your unique purpose. In each of your roles, no one can contribute in the unique way you do; no one can parent your child the way you do, manage your team the way you do, or contribute to your community the way you do. You are a unique individual with an equally unique purpose and ability to contribute to those around you. Your conscience helps you to discover that unique purpose, and that is a central part of your mission statement. 

Conscience also helps you to recognize whether your vision and motivations are in line with true north principles. As we discussed, aligning your actions and trajectory with true north principles is the only way to achieve a supreme quality of life. Use your conscience to ensure that both the purpose you’ve identified and the methods you intend to use to achieve that purpose are aligned with principles. 

3. Creative imagination helps you translate your vision and values into words to create your personal mission statement. With your vision and purpose in mind, use your creative imagination to figure out a way to map out a personal mission statement that expresses that vision. Once you have your mission statement, use your creative imagination to practice visualization and envision yourself carrying out your personal mission; this exercise further ingrains your mission statement in your mind and heart and makes it easier to live out each day in pursuit of that mission. 

4. Independent will gives you the strength to pursue your personal mission statement, even when it means working against your conditioning, existing habits, or environment. In essence, independent will helps you to exercise discipline, which keeps you in line with your vision. 

What’s Your Personal Mission Statement?

After looking through multiple personal mission statement examples and taking Covey’s advice, what does your mission statement look like? We’d love to hear what yours is in the comments below—in addition to what else helped you create your statement.

Personal Mission Statement Examples & Writing Tips

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Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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