How to write a personal mission statement for 2022
How are you feeling as you head into the end of 2021? Relieved? Excited? Uncertain? For most people, it might be a mix of emotions: a sense of hope for a possible return to normality, mixed in with fear, sadness and disorientation after the events of the past years. So, one of the most helpful things we can do for ourselves (or with our clients), is to provide some structure, clarity and focus for the months ahead. Crafting a personal mission statement is a great – and simple! – way to do exactly that, and this article will show you how.
Make a list of all the things you’ve valued most from your past, all the things that are most important to you at present, and all the things you want in the world. These three areas (the things you’ve had, the things you have and the things you want) are a map of your desired past, your present and your future. This is your foundation for building your mission statement.
Go through your three lists (past, present, future) and figure out if there are any commonalities, or consistent themes. For example, the ‘future’ column might reflect a desire for a family, and the ‘present’ column might include close friendships. The common theme here might be community, or close personal relationships.
Using a career-focused example, the ‘present’ column might include your current working environment, and the ‘past’ column might include previous work experience you’ve had, but the ‘future’ column might reflect a different kind of desired career experience. The common theme here might be success, or ambition, or intellectual development.
If you can’t find a common theme between your ‘future’, ‘present’ and ‘past’ lists, think about the elements that seem most important to you – which aspects stand out to you as key priorities?
Once you have the key elements narrowed down, it’s time to craft your language. Mission statements often work best with powerful, assertive language – they should be confident, goal-orientated and bold. To start, you can use the phrase: ‘my mission is...’ – and then you can remove this part once you have your statement.
Here’s a basic example:
My mission is... to be an inspiration to my community, and to lead a balanced life.
This mission statement identifies two aspects: community and self-care. One is externally focused (inspiring others), and the other is internally focused (making sure the author’s life is set up in a balanced way). Notice, too, the things that are not present within this mission statement – career goals, or big ambitions about changing the world. That’s not to say they won’t have a place in your mission statement, but it does demonstrate what is important to this particular person.
My mission is... to use my natural abilities as a team leader to encourage positive change.
This mission statement draws on the author’s personal talents and works on the basis that the individual has enough self-awareness to recognise their own abilities (in this example, leadership). This self-awareness might have come through personal development work, or it might be a product of feedback, formal reviews or mentoring (you’ll see, as you work through this chapter, that many of the exercises can inform and enhance other exercises). The second part of the statement focuses on the impact of the author’s skills: a clear assertion that the author will be utilising their skillset to try and make a difference.
As with the first example, notice what isn’t present in this mission statement – a focus on the self, or on close personal relationships. Again, this isn’t about being correct or incorrect, but more about having a helpful exercise to draw out your own priorities. It’s possible that you’ll discover things about yourself that weren’t clear to you before.
As with many of the exercises in this chapter, the mission statement will help you most if you go back to it regularly to refine and revise. Your priorities will change over the course of your life – probably more frequently than you’re conscious of – and the mission statement exercise is a great way to stay connected to your path. Try revisiting the statement every month to check it still works for you, and to incorporate any changes you feel are relevant. You can also keep your mission statement somewhere visible (perhaps make it your phone lock-screen or your desktop background, or keep it pinned to your wall somewhere) so you can continue to check in with it.
A final note: you should never feel defined or restricted by your mission statement. This exercise should serve you, not the other way around. If you look at your mission statement and think that it just doesn’t reflect you anymore, or you feel like you’ve moved on from that place, review and rewrite. It might even be an insightful exercise to track your own evolution over the years by gathering your past mission statements in one place and seeing how they change over time.
Eloise is an author, teacher and entrepreneur, based in London. Her second book, The Purpose Handbook, was published in October 2021. Much more about Eloise’s work, including her businesses and other books, is available on her website: www.eloiseskinner.com. You can find Eloise on Instagram at @eloiseallexia.
If you would like to read more you can purchase the book here on Amazon.