The Power of a Personal Mission Statement

And an introduction to The Champion Habits

 

In his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey introduced the concept of the personal mission statement:

As proactive people, we can begin to give expression to what we want to be and do in our lives.  We can write a personal mission statement, a personal constitution….

But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values.  It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life. (From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

 

And in his later book, The 8th Habit, Covey wrote that a key to meaningful success is writing a personal mission statement.  He then added that a personal mission statement “describes what matters to you most” and “enables you to prioritize your life”.

There you go. Awesome advice from one of the world’s most respected management consultants and personal development authors.

Write a personal mission statement.

Sadly, few people have followed Covey’s counsel. Perhaps one in one hundred.  Yes, many business owners and leaders have a business mission statement. But few have a personal mission statement.

Let me share with you a process for developing a personal mission statement.  Then I’ll introduce you to my personal mission statement.

How to craft a powerful personal mission statement

A mission statement is not something you write overnight.  It takes deep introspection, careful analysis, thoughtful expression and often many rewrites to produce it in final form… (From the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

As Covey highlights above, crafting a powerful personal mission statement takes lots of hard work.  Perhaps this is why most people do not have one. There is too much work involved.

The foundation of a powerful mission statement? This is best explained with Covey’s Productivity Pyramid.

As Covey’s visual illustrates, identifying mission and values is the #1 priority.

If you don’t get clarity and certainty by identifying mission and values, then you’ll have a mis-alignment between your values, mission and goals.

Identifying mission and values is part of the formula outlined by Covey, which is:

  1. Lots of deep introspection.
  2. Lots of careful analysis.
  3. Lots of thoughtful expression.
  4. Many rewrites.

Follow these four steps and you will have the core of your mission statement.  More importantly, you will have developed the underlying philosophy that drives it.

Philosophy?  As defined by the Oxford dictionary, a philosophy is “a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.”

A philosophy is what we are.   It comprises the values and principles that drive our behaviour.

Jim Rohn, one of the pioneers of personal development, highlighted the importance of philosophy when he stated that a philosophy is, “the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.”

Which is why Covey’s formula is so important.

Ultimately, following the formula above helps you to draw out your philosophy.  This is then used to help you develop and present your mission statement.

How to present a vision and mission statement?

A mission statement can be presented in a number of ways such as a story, speech, axioms, or a constitution.

Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech at the Washington Monument was his mission statement.  The Ten Commandments is a mission statement.  The Hippocratic Oath is a mission statement.  Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues is a mission statement.

You don’t have to craft a full-on I Have A Dream style mission statement right from the get-go. Fact is, your personal mission statement is likely to evolve and grow as you grow.

So your mission statement could start as a poem or a motivational quote.  Then it could progress to something like a diary entry.  And then, when you’re fully in the zone, you can create a full-on personal mission statement.

Follow Covey’s formula though. Deep introspection. Careful analysis.  Thoughtful expression. Lots of rewrites.

My Personal Mission Statement

Outlined below is my personal mission statement, which codifies my values, philosophy and approach to life.  I call it The Champion Habits. 

 

As you can see, The Champion Habits is presented as 12 habits for life success..

The Champion Habits is not only a personal mission statement and ethos, but is also used as a guide for my youth coaching work. 

To add to The Champions Habits, my philosophy includes the following:

The importance of mind-body wellness. I advocate drug-free, smoke-free and alcohol-free living, and practicing healthy nutrition habits that minimise junk food and drinks. And I discourage the consumption of products that impair one’s physical and mental well-being.

Sport – especially team-based physical contact sports – is a great tool for developing personal leadership.  This is one reason why it is heavily used in my youth coaching work. When properly coached and managed, sport helps to produce superstar academic students. Sport helps to develop great doctors, teachers, plumbers, builders, lawyers, business owners, electricians – indeed all vocations, professions, trades and careers.

In summary, my mission statement serves a threefold purpose:

  • It spells out my philosophy in clear, concise terms
  • It resonates with those people who share similar philosophies and values
  • It repels those who do not have or share these philosophies and values

In essence, The Champion Habits attracts like-minded people with whom I would like to work, while repelling those with differing values and beliefs.

If you would like to learn more about my vision, mission and philosophy, and are perhaps even interested in developing your personal or business mission statement, please email ben (at) bmbartlett.com