Each month, our BirthmomsConnect calls allow birthmoms to find community and connection with each other. This month’s theme focuses on personal mission statements, how to write one, and why they are so important.
Every successful company or non-profit starts with the development of a mission statement, one that succinctly lays out exactly what product or service is provided, who that product or service is for, and what the outcome will be. A well-written mission statement is a road map of what they do, both for themselves and for other people. Teach for America’s mission statement is, “Teach For America finds, develops, and supports a diverse network of leaders, working together to end educational inequity.” Disney’s mission statement is, “To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
But mission statements aren’t just for doing business. According to Melody Wilding, a good personal mission statement, “…describes your convictions, what you stand for, and how you plan to create a life that embodies your values. In other words, it becomes your personal definition of success–one that is separate from the approval of others.” Life is complicated: a personal mission statement lets us define the things that matter to us, giving us a roadmap for personal decision-making, and a destination for our own success.
There are seven key benefits to creating a personal mission statement.
Defining who we are, and what we want. This is one of the hardest steps, because it forces us to sit down with ourselves and take stock of who we are and who want to become, with honesty and clarity. This is the moment when we get to decide what we want for ourselves, and who we want to be in the world.
Focus. While it may be true that we can accomplish anything we put our mind to doing, we can’t accomplish everything we think we might want to do. A personal mission statement reminds us of where we have decided to focus our time, effort, and attention, serving as a road map to keep us on course in life in order to accomplish our goals.
Healing. Trauma can knock our lives into directions we never anticipated. The process of writing a mission statement for life is about taking stock of where we are right now, without judgment, and then figuring out how to get to where we want to be from there. Every step we take that aligns with your personal mission statement is a healing moment. Every good choice we make is a personal growth moment.
Simplification. This isn’t necessarily an intuitive outcome of writing a personal mission statement. It can feel almost like the opposite; that writing down what we intend to do and who we intend to be is extra work. But the truth is, as soon as we decide those things, everything we don’t want to do and everything we don’t want to be disappears, and our lives become less filled with distractions that pull us away from the choices that lead to our best lives. A personal mission statement makes decision-making a lot easier, because each choice we make either gets us closer to our defined goal, or farther away from it.
Accountability. Writing down a life plan is like making a contract with ourselves; there’s no wiggle room to get out of doing what we’ve agreed to do. And when we find ourselves faltering on our path, or making decisions that aren’t furthering our goals or aligning with our morals and values, we can look at our personal mission plan and remind ourselves of what our best life looks like, and what we have committed to do to get there.
Motivation. Our mission statements are the big picture of who we intend to be, and what we want to accomplish. Whenever we start to waver from our goals, we can use our mission statements to remind ourselves of what we hope to achieve, and how far we have already come.
Separation. When we define our own success, we separate what we want from what other people expect from us, and we no longer need external validation to tell us when we are successful. Other people's approval ceases to have the power it once did when we know we are on the right path for us, in service to our vision of our best self.
Writing a personal mission statement is an act of self-discovery, empowerment, and healing, and it allows us to define our purpose in life, and how we intend to fulfill that mission. It doesn’t have to be long, or complicated; it just has to be true to who we are, and how we can live our best, most authentic lives.
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