The purpose of a Mission Statement is to empower. According to Covey, Merrill, and Merrill (1994, p. 113), “An empowering mission statement: 1. Represents the deepest and best within you. It comes out of a solid connection with your deep inner life. 2. Is the fulfilment of your own unique gifts. It’s the expression of your unique capacity to contribute. 3. Is transcendent. It is based on principles of contribution and purpose higher than self. 4. Addresses and integrates all four fundamental human needs and capacities. It includes fulfilment in physical, social, mental, and spiritual dimensions. [“To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy”] 5. Is based on principles that produce quality-of-life results… 6. Deals with both vision and principle-based values…An empowering mission statement deals with both character and competence; what you want to be and what you want to do in your life. 7. Deals with all the significant roles in your life. It represents a lifetime balance of personal, family, work, community – whatever roles you feel are yours to fill. 8. Is written to inspire you – not to impress anyone else. It communicates to you and inspires you on the most essential level.” The following information provides context to creating a Mission Statement.
There are essentially three styles: (1) single sentence; (2) paragraph or two; and (3) a list of objectives.
1. Single Sentence Style:
Jones (1996) advocates the single sentence style, noting that there are three key elements to a good Mission Statement, including (a) not being longer than one sentence; (b) easy to understand; and (c) memorable. Considering the significance of a mission statement for leadership, Jones reports: “all great leaders in history have had missions that were no longer than one sentence long. Abraham Lincoln’s mission was to preserve the Union. … Nelson Mandela’s mission was to end apartheid. Mother Teresa’s mission [was] to show mercy and compassion to the dying. Joan of Arc’s mission was to free France. Nehemiah’s mission was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem” (pp. 3-4). Jones cites her own mission statement as: “To recognize, promote and inspire the divine connection in myself and others” (p. 222). She outlines four (4) key guidelines for an effective Mission Statement: 1. Use verbs to convey action;
2. Communicate what you stand for (e.g., principle, cause, value, or purpose that you would be willing to devote yourself to); 3. Identify that which is of central importance to you (e.g., joy, service, justice, family, creativity, freedom, equality, faith, excellence, etc.); and 4. Identify whom you are here to serve (e.g., help, lead, support, assist, etc.) such as (a) a person/group (e.g., volunteers, elderly, children, people with cancer or other chronic disease, family, etc.); (b) issue (e.g., environment, literacy, labour relations, etc.); or (c) thing (music, auto industry, hockey, money, books, etc.). When putting your Leadership Mission Statement together, it could read as: “My mission is to (insert your verbs), (insert your core value[s]), to, for or with (insert the person, group, issue, or thing).” An example includes: “I will live each day with respect for myself and others, facing challenges as they come and learning from my mistakes in order to become a stronger person.” Note: This technique does not work for everyone but you may wish to try it and see if it is helpful. If not, try journaling to explore different ideas, or go for a walk and let your mind wander!
2. One Paragraph Style:
Mission statements are often a paragraph in length and descriptive in nature. They often describe a process rather than a specific. They are designed to communicate a feeling, thought, and belief, rather than predominantly fact. The following is an example of a One Paragraph Mission Statement as cited by Covey et al. (pp. 318-321): “Climb the mountain: I will live each day with courage and a belief in myself and others. I will live by the values of integrity, freedom of choice, and a love of all God’s people. I will strive to keep commitments not only to others but to myself as well. I will remember that to truly live, I must climb the mountain today for tomorrow may be too late. I know that my mountain may seem no more than a hill to others and I accept that. I will be renewed by my own personal victories and triumphs no matter how small. I will continue to make my own choices and to live with them as I have always done. I will not make excuses or blame others. I will, for as long as possible, keep my mind and body healthy and strong so that I am able to make the choice to climb the mountain. I will help others as best I can and I will thank those who help me along the way.” The one paragraph style communicates a picture of a vision and mandate.
3. List of Objectives:
The List of Objectives style does as it describes and provides a list of objectives that identifies one’s intention (e.g., “I will…; I will…,”). This style is far less descriptive than the One Paragraph style; it attempts to be more objective than subjective, framing goals in that which is specific, manageable, attainable, realistic, and timely (e.g. S-M-A-R-T).
While a Mission Statement may follow one of the three noted styles, there is no right or wrong way and your own Mission Statement may embrace a style of its own. Most importantly, your Mission Statement should authentically communicate your true intention, serving to remind you and others of what this is. I am at my best when I’m surrounded by the people I love.
I will try to prevent times when I haven’t had enough sleep. I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can make a difference in someone’s day. I will find enjoyment in my personal life through spend time with friends and family, travel and explore new worlds. I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as being a good friend. I can do anything I set my mind to. I will travel the world. My life’s journey is Together, my boyfriend and I are travelling the world, discovering its secrets. Exploring every inch of the planet.. I will be a person who My family and close friends will be with me. I’d like them to say that I lived an exciting life, full of travel and adventure, and that I was a good mother.. My most important future contribution to others will be Enduring love and friendship.
I will stop procrastinating and start working on:
* being nicer to people I care about when I wasn’t in the mood to be nice to others
I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:
* Never gave up
* Hard Worker
* Sense of Humour
I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:
* Go to the gym
* Make time for yourself
* continuous learning
* Spend time with friends