Not Sure Where You’re Going? Start with a Personal Mission Statement

Mission text concept isolated over white backgroundToday’s guest post is by David Cordery. 

Most organisations have mission statements—a clearly defined and articulated purpose to focus energy and help leaders make decisions.

But what about a clearly defined and articulated personal purpose? While most of us have some idea about what we want to do with our lives, many of us don’t have a personal mission statement.

This is an important concept. A personal mission statement harnesses energy and enables us to have a greater sense of well-being—especially if we can connect our personal purpose with our department’s purpose as well as our organisation’s purpose.

Let me give you a personal example. In the mid-nineties while I was in the Royal New Zealand Navy, I attended a Situational Self Leadership training session. As part of the workshop, I spent some time developing and refining my life purpose statement. It required reflection and effort, and eventually I came up with a statement that felt right:

“My life purpose is to use my knowledge, skills, and abilities to work with others in order to create an environment in which people feel valued, content, and fulfilled as they contribute to society.”

Creating my purpose statement was just the first step. In order to leverage and maximise my personal and professional alignment, I printed out the statement, put it into a picture frame, and placed it on my desk. This was a very important second step for me. When it came time to make significant career decisions, I would look at my purpose statement and ask myself What course of action will best help me fulfil my life purpose? 

The framed statement was a great reminder—and it helped immensely when I had difficult decisions to make, such as changing roles and up-skilling in support of training and development. It was an area that fulfilled my purpose more than the operational role for which I was initially selected.

How about you? Have you identified a clear sense of where you want to be, or is it more of a general idea? Why not challenge yourself? Develop a purpose statement for your life. Then align your role with that of your organisation, reflect, and make adjustments as necessary.

I’ve long since left the Navy and am currently a director and consulting partner with Blanchard International New Zealand. In part, I can trace my journey here to the decision I made years ago to identify, write down, and reflect daily on my life purpose statement.

Your future is waiting for you. Don’t wait. Take the first step by writing down your personal mission statement. You never know where it will lead!

About the Author

David Cordery is a Company Director and accredited Consulting Partner with Blanchard International in New Zealand.

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