Personal Mission Statements – Putting Your Vision To Work!

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by Brenton Russell on

After recently writing a post about how personal vision statements can propel you  towards your desired lifestyle design, it seemed natural to write about another useful lifestyle design goal setting and motivation tool: the Mission Statement.

Vision and Mission: What’s The Difference?

If the personal vision statement is a detailed description of what your future life looks like and how you’re going to get there, the mission statement is a short and easily remembered summary to support your vision. Your mission statement ‘operationalises’ your vision.

What I mean by this is that your mission statement provides a concise platform to align your thoughts and actions to your personal vision statement.

How To Write It

In military operations, every mission has a mission statement.  Having been an officer in the Australian Army for 13 years I have written and delivered thousands of tactical mission statements.  The Army formula for writing a mission statement is simple: who, what, when, where and why.

This formula is directly transferrable to any context including your own lifestyle design.  I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining each component but instead some examples have been provided below.

You may choose to encompass your vision into one mission statement or alternatively you may find it useful to have different mission statements for the various aspects of your life.  Each of these mission statements should tie into your personal vision statement.

For example, you may have a mission statement that relates to your professional work:

  • I am going to train and practice to become a professional coach within the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane areas no later than May 2011 in order to help people achieve their full potential and to create a sustainable income to support my family.

You may have a mission statement that relates to your online projects:

  • I am going to provide exceptionally high quality and actionable information on lifestyle design through the Uncork Your Mind website and newsletter throughout 2011 in order to help each and every reader to progress towards their desired lifestyle design.

You may have a family mission statement:

  • The Russell Family will create a positive, supportive and fun environment at our home on the Sunshine Coast during 2011 in order to achieve happiness and fulfillment both individually and collectively.

How To Use Your Mission Statement

So you’ve now written your mission statement(s).  How do you prevent them from becoming just words on paper in a world full of unactioned information?

  • Remember It. If you’ve followed my method, your mission is a one sentence statement.  Remember it so you can recall it at will.
  • Display It. Put it on your vision board, use it in your business documentation, write it on your website, stick it next to your bed, keep it in your wallet, stick it on your fridge, set it as your computer’s wallpaper. The options are endless.
  • Internalise It. Visualise and believe it.  Use it to guide your decision making. Question the usefulness of your feelings and actions against it. Live and breathe your mission statement and be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves to help you achieve it.
  • Share It. For collaborative projects develop joint mission statements. For family mission statements, create them with everyone’s input. For personal mission statements, tell your loved ones.

The Next Step!

Remember the wise words of the 11th president of India in the post about personal vision statements: “Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant”.  If you haven’t written your personal vision statement yet, read the post on personal vision statements and take the time to write it. If you have already written your personal vision statement, create your mission statement(s) and start using them to achieve the lifestyle of your own choosing!

If you’d like my help or feedback, email me your vision statement and/or mission statement(s) via my contact page. I’d love to help!

Start living life by your design!

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Murlu February 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I actually just worked through something like this recently, Brenton.

I’ve been developing my main business, Okkopus, which is to help businesses and entrepreneurs get started online and make a remarkable impact by creating great content and providing real value to their customers.

I learned, while going through it, that my mission was basically the same in both personal and external: I wanted to use my abilities to help others create something amazing.

It’s been influencing my projects ever since working through it; I step back and ask myself if I’m going in the right direction with my work; if not, than I change it or drop it completely.
Murlu recently posted..Screw Paycheck-to-Paycheck- A Real World Escape Plan


Brenton Russell February 9, 2011 at 7:00 am

Hi Murlu,

Its great to see mission statements working for you. Putting some structure around our goals and thinking can have a powerful focusing and motivation effect. When my motivation may be waning or I reach a point of indecision I find that by doing things like looking at my vision board, reading my personal vision statement and recalling by mission statement will almost always put me back on track.

Its also great to see that you have developed the discipline to recognise and eliminate actions which don’t align to your defined direction. This is often a lot easier said than done!


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