You know why your business needs a mission statement--writing one clarifies your value and purpose, and having one helps to both communicate that information to others and guide day-to-day decision making. But couldn't a personal mission statement do the same thing for you as an individual?

Your heroes already have one.

Many of the smartest minds around have already realized the answer to this question is a resounding yes. As branding consultant Kaitlin Zhang pointed out recently on Medium, your business heroes probably already have a personal mission statement they live by. Here are three:

  • Sir Richard Branson: "To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes."

  • Elon Musk: "If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure."

  • Oprah Winfrey: "To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be."

"A personal mission statement is a powerful tool because it provides you with a path for success, and it gives you permission to say no to the things that are distractions," Fast Company's Stephanie Vozza writes, explaining why busy big names would bother coming up with one.

Plus, spending some time pondering your own mission statement can help you  uncover you own personal superpower. "We all have superpowers--things we do better than anyone else. These things often feel natural to us, but it's important to see them as being special," William Arruda, author of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives tells Vozza.

How to write your own personal mission statement

While there is no foolproof formula to come up with something as personal as your own mission statement (though Arruda gives it a try: "The value you create + who you're creating it for + the expected outcome"), Zhang offers seven questions that can spur your thinking and help you begin to formulate one:

  1. What is the problem you are seeing in the world?

  2. What are you intending to fix?

  3. Why are you doing what you are doing? And why is that? And why is that? ("I usually find that by asking three 'whys' or more, I can find the real reason for something," she comments.)

  4. What in your past experience makes you passionate about this?

  5. What would the best version of yourself look like?

  6. How are you different from other people who are doing similar things?

  7. Is your mission sufficiently narrow to differentiate it from others'?

So, what's your personal mission statement?

Published on: May 29, 2018