2 Reasons You Need a Personal Mission Statement

Team Hoyt By Gr5 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A mission statement is a written declaration of your career and life purpose that you seek to live by. It can be as simple as John Robinson’s one-liner: “Get off your knees,” as organized as Benjamin Franklin’s list of virtues or as detailed and visionary as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The development of a personal mission statement can involve a solitary process of meditation and reflection, discussions with the important people in your life and resources, such as the FranklinCovey Mission Statement Builder, free online software with thought-provoking questions to guide you through the undertaking. But why spare time to do this?

Here are the two main reasons why it’s worthwhile to invest time in creating a personal mission statement:

  1. Find Meaning in Life
  2. For an introduction on how the search and fulfillment of meaning is the basis of human life, watch this quick interview with the late Dr. Viktor Frankl.

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    Dr. Frankl was the author of the famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” based on his experiences as a Nazi concentration camp survivor. It was in those camps where he concluded that personal meaning can be found in even the most agonizing life situations. Meaning gives you a sense of purpose in life that makes your goals worthwhile. Your life and career will undoubtedly be filled with challenges, but you suffer less from the natural rollercoaster ride if you feel that you are fulfilling your meaning. Having a clear meaning in life gives you the strength, hope and faith to endure, motivating you to keep on keeping on.

    For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” — Viktor Frankl

    As you get a grasp on the current meaning of your life and career, document it as a personal mission statement to make it concrete. Continually reassess and refine it because your priorities, goals and dreams change as you gather experiences and grow.

  3. Know What Really Matters
  4. Having a clear mission reminds you about what really matters and acts as your guiding compass in life and career decisions, so you can more easily prioritize what’s important to you.

    Dick Hoyt’s mission statement places family first. It’s why he agreed to help his son, Rick Hoyt, participate in a 5-mile race for a local athlete who had been paralyzed in an accident. Rick, who has cerebral palsy and has no control over any part of his body aside from his head, wanted to send a message to the local athlete that you can still live a fulfilling life even with a paralyzed body. Dick agreed even though he was 40 years old, out of shape and had never run more than a mile.

    After the first race, Rick said: Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore. As family is what matters in Dick’s books, this motivated him to participate as Rick’s arms and legs in over 1000 races and triathlons, including ironman competitions, pushing, towing and carrying his son through each event. People have said that Dick could be an elite endurance athlete on his own, but he disagrees because he has no desire to run by himself; he is solely motivated by his son.

    Team Hoyt’s motto is simply yet powerfully, “Yes, you can!” And you can too. A powerful purpose, like Dick Hoyt’s, set out in a personal mission statement can help you clarify your personal values and what’s most important to you in life, so the worries and fears fall along the wayside. It helps you frame your time and set aside the things that don’t really matter, so you can focus on what does.

What are your experiences with or without a personal mission statement?

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  1. Posted June 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I think a mission statement is absolutely an imperative as a blogger. I believe a mission statement is the framework by which you are initially defined by everyone stopping by your website or blog. It is also part of your brand. It helps visitors better remember you.

  2. Posted June 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    What an excellent point, Sherry! It’s part of having a clear goal and vision with your blog. Thanks so much for your wisdom!

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