The end of the year is a time to reflect and take stock of what you did well and what areas could use improvement. Setting new year's resolutions work for some people -- but tend to fizzle out as the weeks and months progress. Another way to set yourself up for success is to create a personal mission statement.
In my work with companies -- from small businesses to large corporations -- I have found that the ethics and values reflected in mission statements can be beneficial in conveying clarity and purpose within a company culture. The secret is to strive to actualize that mission statement as much as possible, each and every day.
Mission statements provide focus, intention, and conviction. A personal mission statement is much like a corporate mission statement -- but it is a declaration of who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to put out into the world. Personal mission statements are simply a conscious call to action. They can be helpful in providing awareness of your "future self" and will assist you in understanding your insights and philosophies.
A personal mission statement imparts a sense of direction -- helping you move resolutely toward manifesting your goals. Imagine the difference between a light bulb and a laser beam. The light bulb is a small amount of energy that casts an expansive light, whereas the laser (in this case represented by a mission statement) is clear, intentional energy. With a single-minded focus on your intentions it is easier to strategize and be creative. It goes back to the adage, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
Begin your manifesto by creating a series of simple statements. This process works best if you allow free form thought and self-discovery to overtake critical thinking. Try this process to create your own personal statement:
- First, make a list of the things that you love to do. For example, "I am passionate about..." (writing, teaching, exploring, making a contribution to the world...)
- Then write down the qualities and values that best represent your character in a positive way, beginning with "I am..." (honest, thoughtful, giving, tenacious, creative, funny...)
- Complete the following statement, "I would like to possess more..." (list qualities that you wish you had more of. Examples might be patience, leadership, open-mindedness, empathy, etc.)
- Review all of your answers to the above and combine it into one emotionally charged, purposeful statement that defines and captures the essence of who you are.
The final step is to strive to manifest your statement -- live it and reinforce it often -- envision your success. Post it on your computer as a screensaver, or write it on a sticky note and affix it to a mirror. Record it on your phone and listen to it -- just do whatever helps you integrate it.
In time, you may find that your statement needs updating. Changing your perspective once in a while allows you to see yourself in a new light, so it is a good idea to revisit your statement often and make refinements as needed.
Ultimately, a personal mission statement will help inspire you to live a more fulfilling, conscious life. As the celebrated motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, "Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission."