A personal mission statement not a new years resolution but your mission



By Clara Naum, M.A.

When you hear the phrase “mission statement,” you probably think of a company or organization. Their mission statements are “official” answers to the age-old questions, “Why are we here? What is our purpose, our reason for existing?” It wasn’t until actor Tom Cruise decided to write his personalmission statement in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire that we realized, people can write mission statements for themselves, too!

Of course, if you saw that movie, you’ll remember that Jerry Maguire got it all wrong! His mission statement, written when he was angry and disgusted with his job, rambled on for 25 pages and got him fired. Still, a lot of moviegoers walked out of the theater thinking, “Hmmm, a mission statement…what a great idea—maybe I’ll write one for myself!”

Although that popular movie made most of us aware of life mission statements, they only recently became “mainstream.” Some coaches have begun using mission statements as valuable tools in helping clients to enhance the quality of their lives, and to be successful in every aspect of their life journeys. I was inspired to use mission statements myself after reading Stephen Covey’s groundbreaking book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Since then, I have successfully implemented mission statements in my personal life, and assisted clients and businesses alike to write and practice their own effective, meaningful and empowering mission statements.

Most people who start a business wouldn’t dare launch their companies without a carefully written mission statement. But only when you sit down to write your statement will you realize how challenging a task it will be! For a company, the mission statement expresses the corporate purpose; it articulates the company’s goals and, most importantly, it tells us what the organization intends to do in the world. How would you conduct a business without zeroing in on those critical points?

A personal mission statement fulfills the same need: all of us function better when we give deep thought to our own mission—our relationships, our marriages, our purpose and values. We assume that we know what drives us and where we are headed, but few of us pull those thoughts together in a formal declaration. And we need that framework for our lives, to be clear about what we want and where we want to go.

And what about marriage—what are our aims for that partnership? Yes, I know…couples make vows. But vows and mission statements are quite different.

In my coaching practice, I work with people from all walks of life. At any given time my clients might include a waitress, a bartender, a prison inmate, an “average Joe” and CEOs of influential, global corporations. Most of them have never thought of writing their own personal mission statements—but when we start working together, establishing that statement is one of our first tasks together.

We dig deep into their lives, searching for what they truly want out of life, the values most important to them, and why they embrace those values. One of the most critical questions in our process is: Are those really your values, or the ones you think you should have?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking of your mission statement as a “New Year’s resolution.” It’s not about an aim you “want” to achieve this year, or something you feel pressured to accomplish. Rather, a mission statement is the basic fabric of your life; within that statement you formulate your heartfelt desires, your ethical and moral values, and your purpose. It is your GPS that reminds you of where you want to go, and who you want to be as you travel along that journey.

I encourage you to reflect on these questions as you formulate your own mission statement:

  • Who do you want to be? What do you want people to think of, when they hear your name?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you offer your relationships—not just your life partner, but friends, parents, co-workers, siblings, children and others?
  • What makes your heart sing?
  • What are your deepest values?
  • What does “success” mean to you?

Keep your mission statement to five or six well-planned sentences—a real challenge! Make it real and attainable. Your statement should stand for a long time, but it’s not engraved in stone; you may want to refine it every few years. Include a few specifics; instead of simply saying you “want to be a good mom,” for instance, add what “being a good mom” means to you—including the fine values you want to instill in your children (honesty, confidence and kindness, for example) and showing them those values by your good example.

I’m very passionate about serving my clients and helping them discover their “real” mission—and, most importantly, identifying and letting go of any obstacles they might encounter that prevents them from achieving and fully living their own mission statement.

If the idea intrigues you, consider joining one of my “mission statement” workshops or scheduling a private consultation. Don’t hesitate to contact me, because part of my own mission statement is to be of service and assist people in finding more happiness and peace in their lives!claranaum@gmail.com

This blog was also posted  on January 30th ,2015  by David Couper Consulting  where Clara also serves as an executive coach.


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