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I have been asked by one of my clients why I think having a personal mission statement is important.  The first thing that came to mind was my own personal mission which I wrote 20 years ago and is still to this day the guiding light upon my life’s path. I will share it with you at the end of this blog. To answer the question as to why it’s important I would quote Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”


“The most effective way I know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based

Because each individual is unique, a personal mission statement will reflect that uniqueness, both in content and form.”  –Stephen R. Covey

How do you stay strong when things aren’t going your way? What do you turn to in your times of need? How do you make the most important decision of your life? How do you navigate your boat upon the sea of life? In short, what are your values and priorities?

Now I’m not going to get into a discussion or debate about your faith or belief, that’s something that is personal and unique to you. My goal is to bring about a greater awareness of the significant role that a personal mission statement can have in your life when it comes to what you want to be and what you want to do.

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As I reflect back over the past 20 years of my life every major decision and everything I have worked towards has been in line with my personal mission statement.  I didn’t know that it would have such an impact at the time when I first wrote the words and put it on paper, but it has. So how do you write one? There are 5 steps that you can follow that will get you started: some systems have more and some less. Regardless what system or method you use the most important thing is to start the process. I use Dr. Covey’s method as a guide. I do a three hour workshop on this so don’t rush through it, take your time and truly think about each step.

Step 1. Who has affected your life in a significant way for good? Identify one person who has exerted (knowingly or unknowingly) a positive influence in your life. List the qualities you most admire in this person. What qualities did you gain from this person? This will help you identify what values or principles are important to you. Now develop a list of attributes that you believe identify who you are and what your priorities are. The list can be as long as you need. Once your list is complete, see if you can narrow your values to five or six most important. And finally see if you can choose the one value that is most important to you.

Step 2. Defining who you want to become: it’s relatively easy to define the things we want to have(possessions, money) and what we want to do (experiences, travel, etc.), but an inside-out approach to life begins with a definition of what we’d like to be (qualities of character). The next three questions should serve to clarify your thinking in each of these areas. What I want to have (possess). What I want to do (experience). What I want to be (qualities of character). Write down your answers to each.

Step 3. Defining Your Life Roles. You live your life in roles – not in the sense of role-playing but in authentic categories of life you have chosen to implement. You may have roles in work, family, and community organizations, as well as in other areas of your life. These roles can provide a natural framework in helping you define what you want to be.

For example, your work life may contain several roles. You may have one role in administration, one in marketing, one as a manager, or one in sales. You may define your family role as simply “family member.” Or, you may choose to divide it into roles such as wife, husband, mother, father, grandparent, son or daughter.  Once you have identified several roles: who are the key people in those roles? If you are married your spouse would be your key person, if you are a parent your children would be the key persons in that role.

Now Project yourself forward in time towards the end of your life and write a brief statement describing the key person’s feelings and thoughts as you would want to be described in that particular role.

Step 4. Write a draft of your personal mission statement.  We have covered a lot of ground and you should have a fairly good idea about how your roles contribute to the qualities of character you’d like to strengthen or acquire, so write a rough draft of your personal mission statement. Carry the rough draft with you and make notes, additions, and deletions before you attempt another draft.

Step 5. Continue revising and refining. Place your mission statement in your organizer or time-management tool. Refer to it often. Use it as a standard by which you judge decisions and actions

Step 6. Periodically review and evaluate. It’s important to stay in touch with your mission statement. Use these questions as a test of its value.

  • Is my mission based upon timeless, proven principles? Which ones?
  • Do I feel this statement represents the best that is within me?
  • Do I feel direction, purpose, challenge and motivation when I review this statement?
  • Am I practicing the strategies and skills that will help me accomplish what I have written?
  • What do I need to start doing now to be where I want to be tomorrow?
  • The final test of value of a mission statement is: Does this statement inspire me?

I think that the best personal mission statements are one or two sentences long, but it really up to you how long you want it to be. Mine is just a little longer than two sentences.  I told you that I would share my own personal mission statement with you at the beginning of this blog.

I wrote this in 1993 and I carry it in my wallet every day.

My Personal mission statement

“If I have but this one life, let it be one in which I use the strengths that I have to better the lives I come in contact with. To move through my life with the resolve to acknowledge my own weaknesses, and not condemn myself or others for them, but rather to turn them into strengths. Thus I will live my life with an intensity for love of all things, and in the arms of that love know the true meaning of bliss.”



Read 2258 times Last modified on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 22:39
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Christopher Turner

Christopher Turner is a Professional Speaker, Trainer, Community Advocate, and Liberal Catholic Priest providing Spiritual Intelligence (S.Q.) based consulting for individuals and organizations throughout the Northwest. Christopher enjoys a diversity of skills and talents which lend themselves to relating well to people of all types. He has demonstrated professional and personal success in the areas of people management, team building, facilitation, motivational speaking, time management, fund raising and career and life coaching.

Mr. Turner now exercises his considerable people skills with his company CNT Consulting, which he formed in 2001 where he continues to provide professional facilitation, motivational speaking and seminar training.


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