The Personal Mission StatementFebruary 2, 2023
What Is It?
A personal mission statement is like a constitution by which you make all decisions for your life. Highly Effective People shape their own future instead of letting other people or their culture or their circumstances, determine it. A personal mission statement is your purpose and meaning in life, written down, so you can make your decisions based off of it. The benefits of a personal mission statement clarifies what’s important to you, provides focus, and puts YOU in charge of designing it. It helps guide your day-to-day decisions and gives you a greater sense of meaning and purpose. I cannot stress enough the value of having a personal mission statement.
In 1996 my father passed away. I was in jail and decided to read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. That’s when I realized I needed to get clear on what my life was going to be about. And so I wrote a personal mission statement. I took that mission statement, I put toothpaste in the back four corners of the paper, and I stuck it on my cell wall. Without fail, I would review that personal mission statement each night. It was always about keeping focus. And this helped guide my decisions. In other words, if I had a decision during the course of my day that I had to make, I had to ensure it was consistent with my personal mission statement.
Where Can It Lead You?
I wrote out my mission statement and I put it on the wall of my cell back in 1996. I talk about this in my first book, The Upside of Fear. At that time, I was a three time convicted felon and high school dropout who had abandoned his own son. I had no money, no home, no nothing. I was facing seven more years in prison. My point is this: Dr. Covey says that this personal mission statement is all about envisioning the end, or how you want things to end up. The end does not have to look the way it does now. Today, you don’t have to wait until things are perfect before you start outlining your personal mission statement. You can outline it now and it’s all about how you want things to end up.
I have a wonderful relationship with my son; he’s almost 30 years old now. I got an education by going back to school and getting my GED, then my bachelor’s degree and then my master’s degree. I own a beautiful mountain home. I’m a successful businessman. I’m a successful writer and public speaker. I have made it a life goal for my family to live very comfortably. I have an honest, trustworthy and beautiful wife. I’m a man of character, honor, and integrity. Now, here’s the thing I think is really important. All of these things I wanted came true.life today is very consistent with that mission statement.
When I Grow Up
Deep down within all of us is that special yearning, that special calling to accomplish more, to be more, to create more, perhaps than we really think is possible today. One of the things I know is that it’s helpful for me and many others to tap back into some of the dreams that we had when we were young people. You know, back when somebody said, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” We answered with a list of all these amazing things. Sometimes we lose sight of those goals because life can be difficult and sometimes, you know, life kind of knocks the wind out of us. We look at those dreams and say all those dreams are too fantastic. They were too wonderful, too amazing. Well, they really aren’t.
Remember, whatever you want to accomplish with your life, contrast that with my life, being in prison in 1996, a high school dropout and three time loser. Contrast that with my vision statement, my mission statement, which was to become an awesome dad and create businesses and homes, etc. At the time, that was a million miles away in the future. But I guarantee you wherever you are right now, where you want to go is a very short distance. But you have to be willing to consider these things and again, as Dr. Covey said, live out of your imagination.