All great leaders learn early that the ability to influence others starts with the discipline to influence and develop personally. I refer to it in The 7 Steps of Intentional Leadership TM model as working from the inside-out. Inside out personal development and leadership skills at times will be an uncomfortable realization of who you are, what you want to become, and who others see as you walk into a room. Having a vision for yourself, through the exercise of developing a personal mission statement, starts this journey. I must warn you, at times it is difficult to apply mission clarity and vision creation to yourself but the thought process gives you direction and purpose.
Research has shown there is a strong correlation between having a clear and concise mission statement and success. As a side note, research also reports a correlation between a mission statement’s commitment to employees and success. At the same time research shows no correlation to a mission commitment to customers and business success. *
For your personal mission statement – start by thinking about the person you are and the person you want to be. What will your friends, family, and acquaintances say about you twenty years in the future at your retirement ceremony? Are you too young to retire in twenty years? Okay, make it forty years. Be a true visionary. Will your spouse and children say you were always there for them? Will they say they want to be just like you? Will they say you are honest, caring, compassionate, hardworking, and supportive? Or will they say you were too focused on work, hobbies, money, things, or a cause? Determine now what you want those important to you to remember as your legacy, and write your vision of yourself. It is true you have to make some very difficult choices. There are many situations in life where true balance is almost impossible when choosing between family and work. To find some semblance of balance, we must intentionally make the attempt.
Take the time to do this on your own; that’s why it’s PERSONAL. It could take days, weeks, or months to finalize your mission statement. You don’t have to write or type your valuable path, why not use your Pinterest account to depict your mission statement in pictures. Since it’s yours, you can create your mission in any format that works for you. Once you author your statement, don’t print it and throw it in a file, never to be seen again! Read it at least once a week and check in with yourself that your living legacy is on target. This exercise will help you to be authentic in your relationships, both personal and professional.
Think of your personal mission statement as a compass for your life. Where are you heading? What is the reason you get up every morning? However, no need to share your personal business with me. After all, it’s personal!
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
* Mission Statement Quality and Financial Performance – Bartkus, B., Glassman, M., & McAfee, B.; European Management Journal; 24/1, 2006