Companies often need mission statements to define their values, and ensure they're remaining focused on reaching their goals without getting side-tracked.
At its core, a good mission statement helps a company demonstrate who they are, and how they're different from other businesses.
For instance, consider JetBlue's mission statement -- "To inspire humanity -- both in the air and on the ground."
Alternatively, take a look at IKEA's mission statement -- "To create a better everyday life for the many people."
It's obvious from these examples that a good mission statement doesn't just state what a company does -- it also represents what a company hopes to do, on a large scale.
An individual can reap similar benefits from creating a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement allows you to define your values and what success looks like to you, and articulate what matters most to you professionally. Additionally, a mission statement will help guide your professional decisions to ensure your career path aligns with your personal goals.
To ensure you're able to create a truly inspiring and accurate personal mission statement, we've created templates and cultivated examples to help get you started.
What is a personal mission statement?
A personal mission statement is your chance to articulate your values, who you are, and how you define success. You can use a personal mission statement to guide your decisions, and ensure your professional career path remains aligned with your personal goals.
Personal Mission Statement Examples
Take a look at the following examples to help inspire your own personal mission statement.
1. "To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference" -- Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company
2. "If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure" -- Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
3. "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" -- Maya Angelou
4. "To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world" -- Amanda Steinberg, Dailyworth.com
5. "To make people happy" -- Walt Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Productions
6. "To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be" -- Oprah Winfrey, Founder of OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network
7. "I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated" -- Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize laureate and activist
How to write a personal mission statement
Begin by considering both who you are, and who you want to become
Write down what is most important to you, what you want your legacy to be, and what you are most passionate about. If this is difficult, visualize what you hope your life will look like at the end of your career path
Dream big and take time to articulate your biggest goals, rather than writing down restricting and short-term plans
Ask peers or mentors what they consider your biggest strengths to be, and consider what makes you exceptional compared to others of similar expertise
Consider what kind of mark you want to leave on the world, and how your skills can help you achieve that
Keep it short. If necessary, try a writing exercise in which you write down only five words that describe you and your purpose, then two, then one. Use these words as inspiration for your mission statement
Be true to yourself -- make sure your mission statement accurately reflects your biggest passion and what you truly believe your long-term purpose to be
Personal Mission Statement Template
Your personal mission statement will be unique to you, and doesn't need to follow any traditional format. However, the task can seem daunting, so we've created a few templates to inspire you and get you started.
1. To [what you want to do] by [how you'll do it] so that [what impact you hope to make].
Example -- "To serve as a leader by encouraging innovation and forward-thinking so that my employees can create technology that will improve the lives of those in developing countries."
2. I value [one or multiple things you value] because [why it matters to you]. To do this, I will [how your professional path will align with these values].
Example -- "I value education because I believe it can help women get involved in politics and become world leaders. To do this, I will teach women's studies on policy and law."
3. To use my [skills or expertise] to inspire/lead [group of people] so that [ultimate goal].
Example -- "To use my skills as a journalist to inspire people, so that they are educated about the world around them and are energized to make change."
Ultimately, it's critical you take time to self-reflect and truly consider what energizes you, and what type of long-term legacy you hope to leave behind. If done correctly, a personal mission statement can ensure each decision you make leads you closer to a role in which you find both fulfillment and meaning.
Originally published Jan 3, 2019 6:00:00 AM, updated January 25 2021