Do You Have a Personal Mission, Vision and Values Statements?
By Mark Swartz
You could probably recite the mission statement of your employer. But if someone asked you what your personal mission, vision and values are, would you be able to answer?
Maybe not right away. It takes effort to identify your ultimate goals, and imagine a bigger picture of how you could be living. That’s what the process of creating a topline strategy for yourself can do.
Personal Mission Statements
“A mission statement is not something you write overnight... But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.” That’s according to Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits Of Highly Successful People.
A personal mission underpins your career mission statement, yet the two differ. Your career version strategically plans where you want to be professionally in five years. The personal type deals with how you define your purpose as an individual.
Personal Mission Statement Example
Whether your mission is lofty or more down to earth depends entirely on you. Here is a sample:
“To be a decent person who is respected by family, friends, loved ones and my chosen communities. I am here to make a positive difference despite being imperfect. My work reflects my values and enables me to travel widely and enhance the lives of others. People will remember me for being there to lend a hand, keeping an open mind, and for getting involved in issues that matter most to me.”
Your version could be much more specific. Notice that there is legacy involved; capturing the impression you want people to summon when they think about you. Consider using a day off for career development when pondering this.
Personal Vision Statements
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Carl Jung
The power of a vision statement lies in imagining a better future for yourself. Right now things may be difficult or unsatisfying. So envision a more fulfilling life. One that makes use of your passion and interests. That lets you be more authentic in everything you do. What might that look like?
Sample Personal Vision Statement
There will always be constraints in your life. Money, health, the economy, long held fears. Try to put these aside and tap into your intuition for a moment. Then project out a five to ten year timeframe. You might come up with a vision statement along the following lines:
“I am more courageous in my day to day living. There is extra time for family and loved ones, healthy activities, and good old-fashioned fun. I don’t hide my values or pretend to be something I’m not. My basic financial needs are met and I’ve saved just enough to pay for a career change.”
As you seek to achieve your objectives, there will be a strong reliance on values. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations…
Be consistent with – and supportive of – your mission and vision. The resulting personal values statement may resemble this example:
“To try and be honest (yet not deliberately hurtful) when dealing with people. But I will also strive to be more assertive, politely when possible, so I don’t get trampled on. Money is important. I have to earn enough to afford the things I really like. Visiting different places around the world with my romantic partner important to me. So is being in the outdoors and enjoying nature.”
Make It Pragmatic
The above process may seems too touchy-feely for use in a career plan. It gets concrete when combined with an analysis of your career strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
Add a career goal statement and you have the makings of a personal strategic plan. Together these can serve as your map as you navigate upcoming roads.