Personal Mission Statements: Giving Yourself Specified Purpose
Many people identify with their work mission statements and some people have even memorized them. Whether it’s small business, community outreach, military or government institutions, many people have inherently recognized and implemented their professional mission statement and even expanded its influence outside of the organization. These professional mission statements guide the force within their entire organization.
Do leaders and followers more easily identify with their larger institution if they have a personal mission statement? This mission statement is important because it can guide leaders in parenting, friendships, and day-to-day actions. It also assists in setting and accomplishing long-term goals. Imagine youth and what they could accomplish with having a personal mission statement, a definitive set of principles. Societies might have fewer children dropping out of school, fewer young adults in prison, and communities could be stronger and more productive. They might grow to be upright citizens within communities and militaries would be stronger. This does not prove that they cannot be successful without a personal mission statement, but imagine the inherent positive structure it creates.
My personal mission statement, named My Personal Constitution, took some time for me to develop. I regularly asked myself the spiritual and philosophical questions of what my purpose is in life and what drives my daily actions. I realized that although I had an innate sense of direction, I did not have a solid and quantifiable way to reflect on what I desired to accomplish. I searched online, read some books, reflected on my military and civilian experiences, spoke to leaders and innovators in my field, and spoke with those whom I hold close to me. I reflected on the moments over my military career that seemed to affect me the most, both positive and negative.
After years of self-introspection and six months of deliberate writing, I came to a complete personal constitution in summer of 2015. This mission statement has changed and will likely continue to evolve; I accept that, but I now have a simplified and focused mission that can endure throughout the rest of my existence on this earth. The U.S. Army’s institutional values and Code of Conduct serve as a foundation for adapting my own personal values to my desired accomplishments. What have I discovered? I can reflect from time to time and know if my actions and my goals are parallel with my mission, personal and professional. I can also allow my cohorts and family to challenge me and support me throughout my personal journey. I also can better relate to my professional mission statement as they both align. Additionally, I can still feel accomplished and achieve this mission regardless if I change professions, change job locations, grow my family, and if other unexpected obstacles come my way. I believe this is important since we can’t always control our environment and the challenges we face. I can accomplish my mission at all levels, whether I am protecting a child as she crosses the street, serving in a military uniform on a battlefield, writing cyber-security policy, or enabling soldiers to understand foreign weapons. This statement goes a long way and reflects my desire to protect and defend my nation, my neighbors, my organization, and my family.
My experiences, both challenges and successes, and development within the U.S. Army truly influenced my perspective, my desires, and my eagerness to improve my sense of purpose and my eagerness to positively influence others. The U.S. Army’s counseling process provides a framework for engaging, managing, developing, and leading personnel. During these sessions with my soldiers, I deliberately use My Personal Constitution as a counseling tool. This reflects my seriousness about my cause and brings a sense of motivation to my team. It reflects my desire to work in synchronization with my organizational mission. I share My Personal Constitution with acquaintances and I often receive positive feedback from these individuals, even months and years later. This feedback is a monumental milestone that reciprocates positive motivation and reinforces my use of a personal mission statement.
It is never too late to create a personal mission statement. Some discover themselves and find their purpose during their service with an organization that reflects their values and has constant accountability to the mission. Serving alongside professionals with a detailed, structured, and branched plan for accomplishing goals can be a strong motivator to find specified purpose. I owe much of my success to the U.S. Army and the leaders, including soldiers and civilians, whom continue to inspire me throughout my career.
My Personal Constitution
I am a devoted leader, protector, and facilitator of people, systems, environment, and infrastructure to improve and defend our way of life.
I ethically embrace resilience, positive change, innovation, erudition, and humility.
There are several websites and literature that provide personal mission statements of both the common people and chief executive officers, methods in building a personalized mission statement, and tips from the professionals like Stephen R. Covey. One should be patient, realistic, and not afraid to bring passion into it; accomplishing a personal mission is something to be excited and proud about.
I give my utmost appreciation to Dr. Kalev Sepp of the Naval Postgraduate School for his support on the article development.
This article only reflects the opinions and views of the author. It does not reflect the view or stance from any organization.