Whether you work in a business or not, learning how to write a personal mission statement can benefit you. I’m not talking about a mission statement that guides your career—I mean one that is a navigational tool for life.
A personal mission statement can be your compass as you make everyday choices as well as those big decisions that affect your life’s path. Great people in the world have clear personal mission statements that help them achieve their goals and live according to their values.
Just like companies have mission statements, personal mission statements are a record of your big-picture intentions. They are both lofty yet achievable.
Let’s learn more about personal mission statements, review how to write a personal mission statement, and share some examples to get you inspired.
Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
What Is a Personal Mission Statement?
A personal mission statement defines your purpose in life. It also explains your identity and values.
In essence, it’s a statement about who you are and how you will live. They are generally short—think one to three sentences.
However, the exact form and style can be customized, as you’ll see in the personal mission statement examples.
Why You Should Have a Personal Mission Statement
Your personal mission statement will serve as your guiding light as you go through life. Before you commit your time or energy to something, you can ask yourself “does this fit with my personal mission statement?” If the answer is no, then your efforts may be better spent elsewhere.
Your personal mission statement should be something you can easily remember. You can check your actions against it to see if you are living up to your own most cherished values.
As humans, I think we’re wired to wonder, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” With a personal mission statement, you’re answering those questions for yourself. Each of us has unique talents they’re bringing to the universe, but their worth cannot be fully realized unless we apply them purposefully.
Your personal mission statement can help ensure you are living as your truest self and making the impact you want to have in the world.
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
Writing a personal mission statement will take some deep thinking. Take the time to get it right. Here are some questions to help you determine what to include:
- What is most important to you in life? What are you passionate about?
- How would you want others to describe you?
- What are your unique strengths?
- When you look back 30 years from now, what will you hope to have accomplished? What would you like to leave behind as your legacy? Dream big!
- What principles to you hold most dear (e.g., honesty, hard work, integrity, faith)?
Think about your answers for a while, and when you feel ready, give writing your personal mission statement a try. Don’t expect it to come out perfect on the first draft.
Work with what you wrote and see if you can boil it down even more. Strip out any extra pieces until you’re left with a concise statement that gets right to the core of who you aim to be.
Try saying it out loud to see if it feels right. Will this statement push you to be your best self? Does it feel true to you and your ideals?
While your personal mission statement is about you, remember that they often include something about others and the wider world as well. After all, the key to finding joy in life is putting others first.
Reviewing some examples can also help with writing a personal mission statement. Though each one will be highly individual, you can see how they reflect that person’s highest goal.
Personal Mission Statement Examples
The personal mission statements of some highly influential figures show you just how powerful these words can be:
Oprah Winfrey: “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
Malala Yousafzai: “I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated.”
Mahatma Gandhi: “I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”
Walt Disney: “To make people happy.”
Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
If you’re still struggling with how to write a personal mission statement, you can try a simple formula like the ones below:
To use my [personal strengths] to [impact you want to have].
- To use my creativity and positivity to better the lives of those around me and inspire others through a quiet inner strength.
- To live a life worth writing about and to use my passion for feminism, fitness, and the written word to empower women and girls.
Because I value [personal value], I will [what you want to achieve].
- Because I value equality, I will use my activism and powerful voice to give those in need a chance at a brighter future.
- I believe learning is the greatest gift, so I will explore the world with curiosity and wonder.
Living Your Personal Mission Statement
Now that you’ve learned how to write a personal mission statement and crafted one that inspires you, it’s time to put it into action. Know it by heart and write it somewhere where you’ll see it often, like the first page of your journal or day planner.
Try to think about your personal mission statement frequently and give yourself self-assessments. Are your actions measuring up? Are you putting your time and energy where it matters most?
We all have some daily activities we have to do to get along in life that don’t necessarily contribute to achieving our ultimate goals. But when you think big picture, are you headed in a direction that aligns with where you want to go?
If you need to make some change in your life, know that it can take time. Give yourself some grace and value progress over perfection.
Your personal mission statement might need refining or revision over time if you realize your long-term goals have changed.
Now that you’ve mastered how to write a personal mission statement, you could also write a mission statement for your career or family. These more specific mission statements can help guide those areas of your life.
A family mission statement is like the mission state of an organization where all members work collectively to uphold the family values and achieve a common goal.
I hope you find writing a personal mission statement to be a worthwhile experience that can serve you for years to come. Share your mission with people in your life to hold yourself accountable and inspire others.
Feel free to share yours in the comments!