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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Developing A Personal Mission Statement

As an executive, have you ever retreated to a quiet place specifically to write your PERSONAL mission statement? Few people in top positions do this. Yet such an exercise culminating in only one to five sentences is an invaluable investment of time. Benefits include:

* Digging deep inside yourself to get in touch with the real YOU
* Assessing your gifts, skills, and talents
* Exploring your dreams for the future
* Focusing on where you've been and where you're headed
* Considering the legacy you will leave behind someday

What exactly is a personal mission statement? In essence, it's a revelation of who you are intrinsically and a declaration of what you want to accomplish most in life. We live in a world that constantly pulls us in myriad directions, but your mission statement scrapes away all the fluff and, very simply, describes your aspirations and deepest desires. It cuts through all the "stuff" that clutters your life and speaks to the true YOU.

An authentic person's mission can be observed easily by others. An authentic person's mission is not hidden or ambiguous. A client of mine who is currently crafting her mission statement has told me that she strives to be the best parent and grandparent she can possibly be. This is vitally important to her. Even more important than her job. She doesn't need to convince folks that this is the core of her; people see it. When you write your statement, you must connect with the heart of you. There is no place for pretense.

When you begin to write, think about the following:

* what brings you immense joy
* the big picture
* your talents and gifts and how you want to use them
* what fulfills you
* what excites you
* what brings you satisfaction
* what gives you peace

After you finish writing, put your statement in a drawer for a few days. Then get it out and review it to see how it resonates with you. Does it represent you accurately? Does it make you smile? When your work meets your approval, decide where you will store it or display it and whether or nor you will share it with anyone.

Personal mission statements can be hung on bulletin boards at home or in the workplace. They can be tucked between the pages of a favorite book. They can be calligraphied and framed. Whatever you choose to do with yours is up to you. Whoever you choose to share it with is up to you too. Perhaps you'll decide not to share it with others at all.

If you haven't engaged in this work, I urge you to do so. Once completed, you feel rewarded. Keep in mind that missions must be revisited periodically. People grow and evolve. Look at your statement a year from now and determine if it still captures YOU. Make little revisions or big changes. Just be sure you are being real.


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