Don’t underestimate the power of this single statement.
If written properly, it has the power to change your life.
This statement is none other than your personal mission statement.
You may have heard about it before, or you may have not.
Regardless of which group you belong to, the importance of a personal mission statement certainly cannot be disregarded.
In this article, I want to explain to you 5 reasons why writing your personal mission statement is of vital importance.
Before that, we need to understand what a personal mission statement is.
The Power In Your Personal Mission Statement
What Is A Personal Mission Statement?
The idea of the personal mission statement was conceived by Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In his book, he describes it like this.
“Your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.”
Your personal mission statement, or life purpose statement, in other words, is your “personal brand”. Just like how organizations have mission statements, your mission statement serves a similar function.
Here are 5 reasons why you definitely should start writing yours today.
Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement
#1. It Highlights What You Stand For
Your personal mission statement is an expression of what ideas you believe in. This includes your values.
To put it in another sense, what are the things in life you are willing to protect even if it may cost you your job, promotion, and/or even your life?
For Martin Luther King Jr., it was protecting the civil rights of the people. He was the leader in the Civil Rights Movement and in the process, he was thrown in jail for protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham, Alabama.
What is it that you stand for?
If you have not figured it out yet, don’t worry.
Start by reflecting within and soon enough you will find out the values you hold firmly to.
Clearly writing out what you stand for has huge impacts on your life, especially in the area of productivity.
Many people believe that productivity is all about doing things as fast as possible, however that is just one part of the equation.
Productivity is also about doing the things that matter most. In the words of management legend Peter Drucker, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
#2. It Helps You Clarify Your Priorities
By writing out your personal mission statement, you are essentially answering this question, “What is important to you?”
The answer to this question will help guide you in the daily choices in your life.
One popular productivity hack I recommend is to use the Eisenhower Matrix to organize tasks. However, there is an important caveat to using this Matrix.
You must first know what is important to you.
As I mentioned above, this is very important productivity wise.
The Eisenhower Matrix is split into 4 quadrants:
- Quadrant 1: Important and urgent
- Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent
- Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important
- Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important
The things you want to cut down in life are the tasks that belong to quadrants 3 and 4.
The implicit premise of this productivity hack is that you already know what is important to you!
What is important varies from person to person hence you are the best person who can answer that question.
When you write down your personal mission statement, you clarify your priorities. This informs you which tasks you should focus on, and which ones to reject.
Moreover, it also allows you to make informed choices on the percentage of your time to allocate to each aspect of your life.
#3. It Gives You A Vision For Your Life
In his powerful book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes his experience in the German concentration camps.
There were many things he wrote about in the book, but one of the most powerful insight he gathered was this.
Those who gave up hope in life would very likely die within the next few days. They either succumbed to diseases or beatings.
Those who held on to meaning however, were the ones who survived even in the midst of troubling circumstances.
For example, Viktor Frankl imagined himself lecturing to students on psychology.
That to him was his vision in life, and that gave him purpose to attempt to survive while in camp.
Many of you reading this may not have been trapped in a concentration camp before.
Nevertheless, the parallels of that to your life are surprisingly similar.
If you do not have a clear vision of your life, you will not be able to live your life to the fullest.
When you write your life purpose statement, you are answering the question, “What do I want to achieve by the end of my life?”
Although it would never happen in real life, I want you to imagine yourself at your own funeral.
What do you want the people closest to you to say about you? What impact and what legacy do you want to leave on this world?
#4. It Helps You Combat Procrastination
One of the most common ailments in productivity is procrastination. I am sure all of us suffer from it.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, why do you procrastinate?
Many times it’s because you don’t feel like doing it.
When you write your personal mission statement, it will serve as a powerful reminder for why you do what you do.
Writing it down will also make you more committed to doing it. This will increase your passion for whatever you feel is important.
If you have something so important burning in your heart, I bet no amount of distraction can stop you from achieving it.
A gentle note is this.
I am not saying that writing it is the magic pill for solving the problem of procrastination. It won’t solve the problem completely, but it will definitely help.
#5. It Keeps You Focused On Your Why
For many people, I realized that they face this one huge problem.
When they embark on a project (or pick a job), they are very clear about why they are doing it.
However, as the years go by, they start to lose that sense of meaning. They start to get distracted and forget their ‘why’.
This is where writing down your personal mission statement comes in.
It will keep you focused on the goal you have set out to achieve.
Assuming you don’t lose the paper you wrote your personal mission statement on, you will be able to remember it for years to come.
Forgetting your ‘why’ at first glance may not seem like a big thing.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
With your ‘why’ comes the passion and meaning in what you do, and when you forget it, you will lose the passion and meaning that comes with it.
Perhaps an even more serious impact is this.
When you forget your ‘why’, you may be in the same job/project, but you are getting distracted. You take up roles that aren’t related to your ‘why’, and you unknowingly start to take up Quadrant 3 and 4 activities.
Over time, you feel burdened by those activities, and you question if there still is meaning doing them.
Your personal mission statement can play a vital role in preventing this from happening.
In summary, writing your personal mission statement will do you a great favor in your life.
If you are convinced on the importance of writing your personal mission statement, you may want to read more on how to write your personal mission statement.
Stop procrastinating and start writing yours today!
Author Bio: Nathanael Siew is the founder of the personal development website Wise Living Today, a website aimed at inspiring people to see the world through lenses of hope. With in-depth content and fresh insights, his articles empower readers to live a more meaningful and effective life.