Every person has a unique combination of passions and values, shaping and defining who they are, consciously or unconsciously. Once you find a compelling way to clearly articulate your core value and the passions that put this core value into motion, you will create a powerful tool that you can use as a decision criteria, a motivation or a standard to which to live your life. This tool is your Mission Statement.
A strong Mission Statement has the following characteristics:
1. It defines who you are.
Your Mission Statement reflects your own personality, and should be uniquely identifiable with you. Your mission is not what you do, it is who you are. If anyone of your peers can say the same statement in the same way as you, then you need to inject more of you in it. Stay away from the generic (“I help people lead better lives”). Your personality can be projected in how you phrase your statement, in the words you use, your tone of voice, etc.
2. It is independent of time, space, people, form or situation.
Your Mission Statement describes the gift you bring to the world. Your Mission Statement is not a job or role description. The real test of your mission is if you can fulfill it alone on a desert island, on a crowded bus, at a party, at work, with your spouse, i.e. fulfilling it is independent of location, time or situation. Think of Tom Hanks in the movie “Castaway”. If you were in his situation, how could you live your mission and feel success?
3. It is short and simple.
You can state your Mission Statement from memory, without looking it up, even when you are under stress. A mission statement should be no more than about ten words in length, and simple enough so that a child can understand and say it.
4. It anchors the central principles in your life.
The focus of the Mission Statement expresses the central theme of your life in a positive way, that which you would defend to be true at almost any cost. It also describes how people are touched or influenced by your presence.
5. It is action oriented.
Your Mission Statement is built around action verbs that describe your passions. A successful Mission Statement inspires you to act.
6. Hearing it makes people go “WOW”!
Your Mission Statement should cause people to be inspired and engaged when you say it. Your listener should also be able to connect what you say with who you are, clearly and immediately. The ultimate success of a Mission Statement is how well it creates “word of mouth”. The best response is when your listener says “Tell me more!”
7. It is simple to live, yet is a life-long journey that is never finished.
Your Mission Statement does not have to be grand or difficult. Living it every moment of every day, in all that you do, should be easy and simple, yet powerful and impactful. Your mission describes your journey, so it can never be “completed”. If it can be completed, then it is more of a “vision” or “task”.
8. It projects confidence and gives you energy.
Your Mission Statement should roll off your tongue easily, without tripping. You must be able to project it in such a way that when you say it, you feel empowered, clear and successful.