The Power of Mission Statement

Parlindungan Pardede

parlpard2010@gmail.com

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

Organization Mission Statement

Most of us have probably ever seen various organizations’ mission statements. They are written on the organizations’ websites, hung on walls in the company lobbies, and printed inside their promotional brochures. These mission statements define each of the organizations’ identity, purpose, and business. SHRM (2018) defines the mission statement as a concise explanation describing an organization’s purpose and its overall intention. Thus, it defines what the organization is, why it exists, and its reason for being.

Different from a vision statement that describes the ideal state (or the ultimate goal) that an organization wishes to achieve, a mission statement defines what the organization is currently doing to achieve the vision. The mission statement, therefore, communicates the organization’s purposes to all stakeholders so that they are interested to play their roles to realize the vision. To be more specific. a mission statement clearly defines the primary customers, identify the products and services, motivate or direct employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders, and reassure investors of the company’s future. The followings are some examples of the mission statements that belong to some popular organizations.

  • To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” (Facebook)
  • To organize the world‘s information & make it universally accessible and useful.” (Google)
  • “To enable people & businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.” (Microsoft)
  • To provide fast & easy video access & the ability to share videos frequently.” (YouTube)

Personal Mission Statement

Mission statements, however, are not just for organizations. Every individual, including student, teacher, leader, employee, athlete, and artist, also needs to make a personal mission statement, Such a statement defines who you are as a person, identifies your purpose, whether it is at school (if you are a student) or simply in your daily life, and explains how you aim to pursue that purpose, and why it matters so much to you. Your personal mission statement is necessary to guide you in making decisions and help you stay focused to achieve your long-term goals. With a good personal mission statement. You can easily check whether your decisions align with your long-term goals.

In line with that, just like organizations that fail due to their lack of clear purpose and intention, individuals without clear goals and focus will never succeed. Their lack of purpose and focus will run down too many rabbit trails and never realize who they were created to be. Thus, to succeed, every individual needs to have a rock-solid dream (vision) verified in his personal mission statement. Dave Ramsey stated, “Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realize it was leaning against the wrong building! Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realize it was leaning against the wrong building!”

Friesen (2016) recommended five steps you can take to write a good personal mission statement. The first four steps are intended to develop clarity about your life’s purpose or mission. The last one concerns with the personal mission writing based on the previous four steps. First, know your personality. This is important because without knowing your personality traits you’ll be frustrated and ineffective in your attempt to optimize your potential. Are you more inclined to worry, feeling tense, and moody or to be patient, content, and rarely affected by stress? Are you prone to be introverted or extroverted? Do you think you are more dominant in creativity, imagination, and curiosity or in logic, practicality, and prefer to focus on a narrower range of interest? Are you more agreeable or competitive and tough-minded? Are you highly organized and disciplined or flexible? Everyone falls somewhere along a continuum of each of those personality tendencies. Your understanding of your personality tendency will then enable you to suit it to your purpose. If your personality tendency is not congruent with your goals, you will keep on encountering problems in your attempts to attain the goals.

Second, know your values. Clarifying your values, i.e. what is truly important to you will empower you to reach your goals. You cannot pursue goals that are incongruent with your values.

Third, know your interests and passion. In addition to values, interests and passion are also influential determinants of your success to chase your goals or dreams. If you love sports (interests and passion), you should not aim to be a musician (goal). If your goals are congruent with your interests and passion, you’ll never feel tired in your journey to chase the goals.

Fourth, know your strength, talents, and skills. In this step, you should figure out what you are good at and use them to achieve your goals. However, you should make sure that those skills and talents are congruent with your value and passions. Some persons may find that they do not value certain activities that they are good at. If they force themselves to pursue goals just because they require the skills they are good at, but the goals are not congruent with their passions or values, they will not be happy or effective in chasing the goals.

Finally, write down your purpose or mission statement based on your accurate understanding of your basic personality tendencies, values, interests, passions, strengths, skills, and talents. To write your mission statement, answer the following: (1) What do I really want out of life? (2) What do I want my life to stand for? (3) What am I uniquely put on earth to achieve? (4) What do I believe my purpose or mission is in life?

Put the answers into a brief paragraph and edit and revise it so that it runs interestingly. Now you have your personal mission statement. The followings are some examples of personal mission statements from some famous figures.

  • To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” (Oprah Winfrey)
  • To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.” (Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group)
  • 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, founder of DailyWorth)
  •  “I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” (Mahatma Gandhi).

Over time you might find that you need to modify or even change your mission. Don’t hesitate to do it. It’s natural. The main point is that you are focusing on the right mission for you so that nothing can stop you to pursue it!

7 Comments

  1. In the previous article entitled “The Power of Mission Statement” I learned the importance of having a vision in life. It made me aware that a student without a vision is a person without a future. In this article, I learned that personal mission statement is needed to make my vision comes true. The process of writing a mission statement seems quite laborious. However, since it is very important, I should try my best to have my personal mission statement.

    Like

  2. Thanks for this inspiring post. It made me aware, for the first time the importance of having a personal mission that keeps making us aware of where we are going to.

    Like

    1. I also love this posting. It taught me about one of the most important thing to have in life, i.e. the missions to carry out for making one’s dream (vision) come true.

      Like

  3. I love this article. It taught me that not only companies or organizations need mission statement. An individual also needs it. The steps of making a personal mission statement also helps me to define mine. Thanks for publishing this post.

    Like

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