If you’ve ever had a job you’re probably familiar with the concept of a mission statement. whether it’s a goal for where the company wants to see itself go, what the expectation of the employee is supposed to be, or your commander’s intent for the mission; mission statements are meant to convey what you’re trying to do, and how you’re trying to do it. So if companies and commanders use mission statements to direct the people under them, why shouldn’t you use one to guide yourself? Now I know what you’re thinking. “H, I already have a bucket list” or “I already have my career goals written out” but that’s not what I’m trying to help you achieve; this is so much bigger than just a goal, or a list of awesome vacation spots to hit before your first prostate exam. I want you to create a guide that will change slightly, but stay essentially the same throughout your whole life. It’s not an easy task.
The task at hand takes a lot of introspection and brutal honesty with yourself about who you are and what you really care about. If you can manage to devote a couple a minutes a day, for a couple of weeks then you just might create something that won’t necessarily lead you directly to success…but it’ll help make sure you can live with yourself when you get there. Very often in life we’re given a choice that would help us get to our eventual goal, but at the expense of your morals or some other belief system. If you take the path that violates your personal virtues, you may find it’s not worth being where you wanted to be considering how much it cost (health, friendships, marriages, financial security). If you follow your own guidelines nobody can force you to become somebody you don’t like. Remember that nobody else can make you live with yourself. SO how do we create a mission statement? Obviously I’ll tell you that there are books on it you can dive into for pretty cheap. However, if you don’t want to read the books I’ll give you the short version here step by step. Are you ready? Because this is gonna take a while.
First things first, grab yourself a tall glass of your favorite whisky or liquor to inspire deep thought, but not enough to get drunk. Maybe grab a cigar if you enjoy them, or whatever will help you gain insight into your own mind. Lastly, grab an old fashioned pencil and paper. Now that you have everything you need to sit down and think, set about an hour or two aside. No phone, no kids, no wife, no distractions, just an hour or two of you completely alone to think about who you are. I want you to focus your thoughts on what your absolute core values are. Whenever you can, make your core values one or two words; we’ll put them into cohesive thoughts later on. As you think of the core values that really matter to you simply write them down on the piece of paper.
Now that you have your core values laid out, it’s time to start putting them into a cohesive thought (for example one of my values is my integrity, so my mission statement begins with “Live life with the highest degree of integrity.”). This mission statement can be as long or as short as you need it to be. Once you feel like you have laid out all of your values in a way that makes sense, put the paper to the side and forget about it for about a week. After a week or so look at it again. Does it still make sense? If not, what could you change to make it convey your intent? Could you change the wording and make it more eloquent, or meaningful? Do this for a couple of weeks, putting it aside and then reviewing it a few days later. Remember you’re trying to create a personal mission statement that is important to you, as a moral compass, so don’t ask others what their opinion of it is because that will simply invoke their own opinions into your values. This should be inspiring for you, and should inspire others to create their own when they see it.
Now that you’ve refined your mission statement to the point where you’re happy with it, make sure you can see it! Put it somewhere that is your own that you’ll see it every day, or at least a couple of times a week. So how do I make it something I want to look at you say? Well a few ideas you could do are:
Have it written out in calligraphy professionally (or personally for a great touch) and frame it to put in your office.
Burn it into a plank of wood, or a slice of a tree for an awesome manly touch to your otherwise boring office.
Weld the words onto a piece of sheet metal to hang in the garage.
And if you’re sure you have the absolute perfect wording you could even get it tattooed!
there are literally thousands of ways you can make this even more of your own, only limited by your imagination. As long as you look at it frequently enough to be reminded of why you act the way you do, it’ll be serving its purpose.
“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission” – Zig Ziglar
Take time to become focused,