Many of us are familiar with organizational mission statements, but a personal mission is just as powerful.
Want to stay true to your goals, your passions and who you are? Save on time and energy? Turn down the volume on emotional drama? How about reducing disappointment?
A personal mission helps you get clear on what matters to you. This allows you to organize your time, energy and resources in a way that clears out the clutter. So you can live with more intention, purpose and joy. So that you can live with less stress, drama and wheel-spinning. Sounds fab, right? Let’s explore.
What is a personal mission?
A personal mission focuses on purpose and values, and is rooted in passion. A personal mission statement may have one mission or a few. We hone the statement until we’re crystal clear—in the simplest terms—what gets us out of bed each morning. (No. Drinking coffee isn’t a mission, unless you’re a professional coffee taster.)
There’s no judgement in missions, from a purely philosophical point-of-view. Whether your driving force is being the best parent, building the most successful hair salon, creating the most powerful drug cartel in your country or saving the polar ice cap. It’s a mission and it’s what excites you.
To be clear, I’m not promoting drug cartels here. I’m simply saying that knowing what matters to YOU is where the magic lies. Why? Your personal mission will support you in authentically living a life that creates the impact you desire to have in the world. It will support you in feeling more engaged and joyful, regardless of the messiness that is everyday life. Game on!
“Can I just have a day that’s easy? Where things go my way?”
Well, you CAN. However, it’s the exception rather than the rule. Every day, we face challenges. Some big, some small, and most often we see them as unwelcome.
Avocados double in price. Our business partner bails. Our bike is stolen. We don’t like the president. Our parent has dementia. Our child is acting out. We get a flat tire. Netflix took down our show. Our boss is ungrateful and mean. Stock prices tanked. They made our coffee wrong at the drive-thru. And on.
Life unfolds around us. People act the way they act. This IS life.
Our predominant mindset is that these things are all “stressful” and make our life crappy. We get mad, disappointed or hurt. We try to reverse the direction of things that we have no control over. We want people to change their thinking or the way they act. None of this actually changes what’s happening. Instead, our thoughts of resisting what IS make us feel unhappy. Stressed. Resentful. Put-out.
Yet. Everyday stress and misfortune lives in our mind.
The truth is that none of these events are, inherently, stress-producing. Only if we choose to make it so. As the saying goes, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
One of the greatest powers of a personal mission is that we become crystal clear on what matters to us. We CHOOSE what to focus on. And this, my friend, can help us not sweat the small stuff, and sometimes even the big stuff.
The power of personal mission
Too often, we attach our well-being to specific, uncontrollable elements in our environment. We attach ourself to a person, a place, a company, an organization, a project.
A better bet? Attach yourself to a mission, a calling or a purpose. Only. This supports you in moving toward what’s important to you, while also supporting productivity, authentic relationships and inner peace. A personal mission:
- Acts as a guardrail on our life journey, keeping us clear on how we spend our time and resources. Both physically and mentally.
- Supports us in showing up for others in a way that aligns with our values
- Moves us toward our goals
- Guides us in living an intentional life, instead of one that just happens
- Helps us choose, act and live in alignment with our values
When you’re unfailingly clear on what deeply matters to you, you learn to not sweat the small stuff. You are also less likely to get buffeted by the opinions and judgements of others. When we’re engaged with what matters to us, we also naturally get better at setting boundaries. (Honest, kind and firm.) And, ya know what else? Purpose feels good.
What does a personal mission look like?
What might a personal mission statement look like? The personal mission that I can write most effectively about is my own. The current version. Which brings up an important point. A personal mission isn’t a set-in-stone and if you change your mind you’re a goofball kind-of-thing. Your personal mission can, and likely will, evolve.
My long-standing personal mission is to put family first; to support whole-person (body, mind, spirit) health and evolution; and to love the natural world.
The phrase “love the natural world” might sound a little funny. My intent is to be deeply curious about the natural world, to explore it and, ultimately, to honor it. All that seems to wrap up neatly in the word love.
There’s a lot more I could write in my personal mission. Ideally, however, a personal mission is one sentence because it compels us to stay connected with what’s most important to us. One sentence is easier to use as a guardrail.
A litmus test you can use on your personal mission is: Does this support my well-being, too? If the answer is no, you may want to revisit. If you’re spending your all time and energy on things that others expect/want of you, the personal mission is lost. Using my statement as an example, spending my time and energy on those three things feels GOOD to me. It lights up my life.
I invite you to get clear on what matters most to you in this precious life. And to then live your life accordingly. There’s power in purpose.
To your empowered well-being,