Mags smile is hiding behind a sign that reads January Mission Statement Month

MISSION STATEMENT MONTH – Beyond Business, Mission Statements for Personal Success

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Let’s begin Mission Statement Month at Confessions by reminding ourselves that Mags learned about mission statements from a friend at a party in the late 90’s. While I won’t be delivering a TED talk on this, my buddy’s idea took a strong hold on me and has had a formative impact on my journey throughout my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, and will continue doing so into my 50’s. And remember, my first statement in 1999 only had about five directives listed. My 2024 statement has twenty-five. All these years later, I can’t decide if I’m on more of a mission, or if I actually know who I am and what I stand for in a much more specific way. No matter, my point in telling you that is only to remind you that you can start slowly. 

Understanding Personal Mission Statements

Perhaps like you, when I first heard the phrase “mission statement” I understood it as related to a business. I’m going to go ahead and paraphrase the Wikipedia definition a smidge to focus on the bits that apply to personal mission statements:

A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists, (and) what its overall goal is…. It may include a short statement of….the organization’s values or philosophies, or a desired future state. A mission is….an expression, made by an organization’s leaders, of their desires and intent for the organization. A mission statement aims to communicate the organization’s purpose and direction….. A mission statement also creates a sense of identity…..

Crafting Your Personal Mission Statement

Now, let’s take a stab at rewriting the Wikipedia definition above to suit our needs for this exercise.

A mission statement is a short statement of why I exist and what my overall goals are. I might include a short statement of my values, philosophies, or desires for my future growth.
This is an expression, made by me, to define and remain focused on my goals, ethics, and aspirations for myself. My mission statement aims to propagate my purpose, principles, and integrity while also creating a clear sense of identity.

Does that make sense to everyone? Can you understand how this idea, that was originally created for businesses, could be effective for us on a personal level as well?

As I mentioned last week, writing a mission statement isn’t about changing ourselves. For me, this exercise provides an opportunity to focus on who I truly want to be. When I take the time to define my ideal self, making decisions that align with my values, direction, and purpose becomes so much easier.

Making Decisions Aligned with Your Mission

My entire life journey is affected by the daily choices I make. I’ve heard it explained,

“You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your response to what happens to you.”

I would argue that a majority of the choices I make in response to my life have to be made when I’m either overwhelmed, overtired, or run down. You know what I can’t do when I’m all of those things? Make clear decisions. If I don’t have an intentional plan, I’m going to do what’s easiest in the moment, regardless of whether that choice aligns with my goals for myself and my family. If I’ve never taken the time to think about or write down who I want to be, or how I want to handle different situations, how can I be hard on myself when I make the easiest choice in the moment? When I’m overwhelmed, the easiest choice is all I feel capable of handling—but that’s actually not true. I can handle more, if I know why I’m making the harder choice. When I take time to see the bigger picture, I’m able to see that often the harder choice is the easier choice in the long run. Why? Because it’s the choice that leads me to feel better about myself, my decisions, and, ultimately, it leads me to the life I want to live.

Personal Mission Statements as a Guide to Optimal Self

My mission statements have saved me from mental and emotional exhaustion time and time again. How does the mission statement help me? By bringing my optimal self to all that life throws at me. Because the statement was written when I was of sound, well-rested mind and body, because it was created when I took the time to truly and peacefully look at who I want to be and what I stand for on this journey, it is my strongest, most authentic guide.

Sleep Training and Mission Statements: An Analogy

I’ll end with this example because sleep training children is a great analogy for the effectiveness of mission statements. As the parents of four children, G Man and I have had a healthy amount of sleep training over the years. And, what we know for sure is that you cannot change a pattern of sleep in a child without a plan. In our experience, no one can be expected to make effective choices at three in the morning! However, when we established a clear plan ahead of time, when we took the time to consider all the possible scenarios and hitches, and when we were fully committed to resolving something that was causing family members to lose out on much-deserved, restorative sleep—we were able to create actual change.

Just as a sleep training program is a thorough plan to reclaim rest and peace in the home, a personal mission statement is a comprehensive plan to reclaim self and inner peace.

Join Us in Crafting Your Personal Mission Statement

If you’re part of our Team and receive my weekly Friday morning emails, you’ve likely already received my personal mission statement, Powerhouse Manifesto. If you do NOT receive my weekly emails and you feel like you could use an example of a mission statement, please just tap on the “JOIN TEAM C” button on my website. Now, if you are on our weekly email list but you don’t have a copy of the Powerhouse Manifesto, please email me and I’ll get it over to you ASAP. My email address is [email protected].

Next week, be sure to tune in when we talk more specifically about how exactly we go about creating our individual mission statements. It’s honestly not as hard as you may think it’s going to be. And remember there is also no teacher looking over your shoulder or handing you a test, which is SO NICE. I’m a sucker for a loving, no pressure process. Gentleness feels soooo good, right?! And hey—don’t forget to invite your friends to join us on this gentle journey. Please share this post with anyone and everyone in your life who you think would enjoy getting to know themselves better in 2024 and beyond. See you next week TeamC!

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    Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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