This was a guest post written by C.S. Nelson.
Each of us longs to live lives of meaning. We crave the satisfaction of knowing we’re doing what we were designed to do with the time we have. But it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind and have days, weeks, and even years pass by without anything to show for the time. One simple step toward a purposeful life is a personal mission statement.
How to Craft a Personal Mission Statement
Start by taking time to discover who you are. This isn’t the kind of task you can sit down and do in an hour. Really reach into your life and find the things, people, and relationships that matter the most to you. What have you done or experienced that brought you true joy in your life? How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone? What causes are important to you, and how do you want to contribute your time to those causes? Do you have a passion you’d like to build into your life? This isn’t a time to beat yourself down for not being the person you wish you were. This is the time to embrace who you are and who you’d like to grow to be.
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When you’ve gotten a handle on your core values, it’s time to write down your mission. This should be short. It’s not an essay. Keep it at a length that you can easily memorize and be able to apply to future decisions. The phrasing should be inspiring and reflect the core of who you are. It should be a place where you can center yourself on your priorities. After you write out your statement, tuck it away for a few days. When you come back, reread the mission. Are you inspired? Do you feel your life is simplified by the definition of your purpose? If not, make changes. This isn’t a race. Keep coming back to your drafts until you hit on the right personal mission statement for you.
Now that you’ve finalized your priorities, print your mission statement. This can be in the form of a paper you stick on your refrigerator or a wall hanging you display in your home. Any way you choose to present your mission is fine as long as you make it accessible. This is the statement to which you will refer when making choices in your life. Should you move to Thailand? How does that look when compared to your core values? If travel and adventure are some of your priorities, this may be a good move for you. But if you’ve stated that caring for your aging parents is a top value, you may want to reconsider.
With your values in writing, you’re free to live your life with purpose, making each day count. There’s an art to living fully. It’s a matter of clarity, values and passion. And by defining the things and relationships that inspire you, each day can be filled with meaning.
P.S. If you’d like more tips on finding yourself, check out our Figure Out Your Life class.