Personal Mission Statements
In todays’ world, almost all the companies have a Mission and a Vision. According to management philosophy, a company should atleast have a Mission, if not a Vision and a Mission. According to its proponents, having a Mission will help the company to galvanize its people around its purpose. Celebrity management guru Jack Welch has dedicated a complete chapter of his best selling book Winning on creating missions and the process to use in developing the mission.
So, if a mission helps a company to reach its goals, then why not use the same concept in our personal lives. This is the principle advocated by personal effectiveness guru’s like Stephen Covey. This is the basic idea that he presents in one of his habits in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
When we are considering creating a Personal Mission, then we have to ensure that this mission is congruent with our innermost values. More than the values, it is essential that the mission is aligned with the correct principles. Values are the map, principles are the territory. we may end up with an invalid map. But we have to traverse the correct territory. So, a mission should evolve out of a Principle Center. As I have expalined in my earlier post, it is essential that we base our life on the correct principles. Covey dwelves more deeply into this topic in his article Center on Principles.
According to Victor Frankl, as quoted by Covey, each of us detect our mission rather than invent it. This goes on to imply that we have to discover the mission out of our basic paradigms. We cannot totally become someone that we are not. It is man who is being questioned as to what the meaning of his life is; man cannot question life. Man can answer to life by being responsible for his own life! So we have to dwelve deep into our own lives and find out first, the innermost values. The next step is to align them with correct principles.
Creating a mission is dependant on the first habit of being proactive. As long as we do not accept the responsibility of our lives, we cannot write the script of life. Threfore, it is essential that we accet the responsibility for the life, before we proceed to write the script. Speaking of a computer metaphor, we will not write the program as long as we don’t accept the fact that we are the programmers.
Writing the Mission Statement:
As Covey writes, drafting a persons mission statement takes time and effort. It takes many revisions and treading unchartered territory. Because, essentially the personal mission becomes the criterion by which you evaluate all your actions. Also, the process may be as valuable as the product as well. Because, in the process, you discover yourself, maybe in a way that you never have before.
Discovering the personal mission requires one to use two skills that are associated with the right brain: imagination and conscience. It requires one to imagine the unchartered territory in the process of creating a personal mission. We have to imagine and visualize, what we want to achive out of our lives. What footprints do we want to leave in the hearts of those that we come to contact? While visualizing this future, we have to bring our conscience into play and evaluate it. We do not want to be become something that we dont believe in becoming, do we? By visualizing, we affirm or second the objective.
The effort put into visalization and affirmation will work as a form of programming our minds. When we visualize and affirm the destinity that we want to create, our mind gets accustomed to this detinity and it will influence our behaviour towards achieving that destinity. This is another reason why the proces is as important as the result. This is very similar to the priciples of intention-manifestation.
Another way of arriving at our mission is by identifying the roles that we play in life and then identify teh accomplishments that you want to achive in each role, while maintaining a healthy balance between the roles. In todays’ context we have seen people succeeding in one area of life while failing in others. Good exampls are those who succeed in career sometimes fail as a spouse / parent. Therefore, it is essential that we identify this balanced achivements in each of the roles.
After reading this chapter I have made an attempt at creating a personal mission statement for myself. It’s been a few weeks now, and I have still not arrived at a mission, that I am willing to adopt as my constitution. On a personal note, I have found the approach of identifying the roles more adaptable. Maybe this is because, my visualization and affirmation skills are not developed. When I tried visualizing the overall mission without getting into roles, I always visualized, parts. And I failed to visualize the complete whole. That made me think in terms of roles.
I will put up my personal mission statement once I am more comfortable with my creation. And in the mean time, if you are interested check out these great resources.
And if you have any comments, please leave them here. I would like to know your views.