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Your Personal Mission

By Laura Sweeney

A personal mission statement is your challenge to yourself. Use it to initiate and evaluate your activities and endeavors.

"[A personal mission statement] builds your character and, at the same time, it lays it bare." -Jeffrey Gitomer
Are you going places? Do you have big dreams? Write these goals down in a personal mission statement and get to where you're dreaming about.

A personal mission statement is a definition of the roles, relationships, pursuits, and principles that you value most. It is your challenge to yourself. It is your affirmation, philosophy, and purpose rolled into one. A mission statement can help you crystallize your vision of who you are and where you want to go in your career and personal life.

You can use your statement to initiate and evaluate your activities and endeavors. Keeping it in mind will help guide you through complex decisions. Simply put, a personal mission statement can keep you on track.

Adventure into yourself
It might sound heavy, but writing a personal mission statement can be an interesting adventure into yourself. It is a process, requiring introspection, drafting, and then revising. Here are some guidelines to get you thinking:

1. What do you value?
Values are things that are important to us, such as: diversity, family, free time, health, justice, learning, lifestyle, possessions, volunteerism

2. What are your principles?
Principles are the guidelines for conduct that we follow in our lives. Principles are naturally aligned with values. For example: encouragement, excellence, fairness, growth, service, humility, honesty, integrity, patience

3. Consider the lives of people you admire.
What elements of their characters do you think are special?

4. List your strengths and talents.
What do you and others recognize as strengths in your character? Are you...confident, philosophical, intelligent, energetic, diplomatic, sincere, open-minded, imaginative, hard-working?

5. What are your goals?
They may be related to your career, your family, or your personal development. Goals are what you work toward, and they define your idea of success.

6. What are your barriers?
What is preventing you from achieving your goals and being the person you want to be? Are you...dishonest, compulsive, insecure, prideful, excessive, narrow-minded, pessimistic, uncommitted, unreliable?

The most meaningful statements are brief and succinct. Memorize your personal mission statement, or keep it close by so that you can refer to it often and revise it as you grow. Apply it to your personal life and your career, and use it to help make decisions. A thoughtful mission statement will never steer you wrong.

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