Companies have been using mission statements for a long time. It’s a strategy that helps them find identity and purpose. For Coca-Cola, it’s “To refresh the world.
To create value and make a difference. To inspire moments of happiness and optimism.” Google, on the other hand, wants to “keep the world’s information organized so that it’s universally accessible and useful.”
In Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, which was published in 1989, this idea made its first appearance; the author suggested that people adopt a mission statement as part of their second habit: start by having the end in mind. Today, personal mission statements, also known as purpose statements, seem to be a good instrument for individuals with high hopes.
"In order to meet success, you have to brand yourself,” says William Arruda, the writer of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives. "A personal mission statement is a crucial element of your brand since it makes sure you stay focused."
Creating one, however, requires reflection on oneself. According to Arruda, you should ask yourself, what are my values? What is my passion? What makes me stand out?
"We are all superheroes there are things we can do infinitely better than others," he says and adds that, sometimes, it’s better to discover your talents through the eyes of others. "These things don’t really feel special to us, but it’s essential to look at them as they are."
When you are set to begin, Arruda has a template available that combines three elements together: The value you produce + who benefits from it + the expected result. For instance, I use my passion and knowledge of technology to boost research to discover medications to counter rare illnesses.
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Every element has its place in completing the puzzle, but the highest importance lies in the first, says Arruda; your value. “It is what you are made of your operating system,” he adds. “It is the source of your energy and inspiration.”
For Chase Sagum, VP of Marketing at Bestcompany, a personal mission statement has great power, because it lays down a path to success, and also allows you to steer clear of distractions. Moreover, it evolves with time. “As we grow older, we accumulate new skills and life experiences,” says Sagum. “If your mission statement stays rigid, you run the risk of losing relevance in the long term.“
Although writing a mission statement is a profoundly personal matter, sharing it is equally compelling. As you make your goals known to others, you will get more support towards achieving them. Mentors and friends will offer their support or caution you if they see you falling out of your tracks.
Below are five real-life personal mission statements:
1. Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company CEO
"To be a leader, lead my life in balance, and uphold my ethical values to stand out in a significant manner."
As Morrison said, "Having a personal mission statement was essential for me because I think that it is impossible to be a leader without having a strong grasp of your identity and core values. From my perspective, a balanced life means to care for my physical, spiritual and academic needs so that I achieve a feeling of self-esteem and well-being."
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2. Joel Manby, Herschend Family Entertainment CEO
"For me, being successful is defined by how well I follow my personal mission statement: to Iove God and others.”
Herschend Family Entertainment, Manby’s firm, owns and runs 26 family-targeted attractions and theme parks across the country, including Harlem Globetrotters and Dollywood. He told Skip Prichard that he succeeds in achieving his purpose statement in his own undertakings, but considers it a blessing to implement it in an evolving, profitable business.
3. Oprah Winfrey, Founder of OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network
"To be an educator. And to leave a legacy of inspiration towards achieving higher goals than initially conceived."
In an O magazine issue, Winfrey remembers how her grandmother used to churn butter and wash clothes in the yard, in a cast-iron pot. She had an inner dialogue where she promised herself that she would achieve more in life than hanging clothes on a wire. Eventually, she realized that teaching was her calling, but she never expected that it would be on TV.
4. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder
"To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes."
Branson made his personal mission statement known in an interview with Motivated magazine. He also said that "In business, you should strive to be a good leader and always look for ways to make people do their best. It’s really easy: have trust in them, listen to them, respect them, believe in them, and let them try!”
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5. Amanda Steinberg, Dailyworth.com Founder
"To use my traits of charisma, intelligence, and optimism, to bolster the self- and net-worth of women all over the world.”
DailyWorth, which was launched by Steinberg 2009, has a mission of helping women become rich. Today, her site counts more than one million members. "I believe that women who are financially powerful are the secret to world peace," she adds.