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A personal mission statement requires you to analyze your goals, your motivations and your approach. It's a concise statement telling what you do, or plan to do, why you do it and how you'll accomplish it. Drafting it will make you more self-aware and provide guidance to keep you on track. Think of yourself as a personal brand, says author William Arruda in a Fast Company article, adding that "a personal mission statement is a critical piece of your brand because it helps you stay focused."
Writing a personal mission statement is as much about discovery as it is about creation, says an article on the Ohio Literacy Resource Center website. You start by figuring out who you are personally and professionally. Imagine someone searched your name on Google, advises Forbes contributor Steve Cooper. Make a list of words you think would be associated with your name. Include nouns that define what you do, such as teacher, entrepreneur and public speaker, and add adjectives describing your character and professional habits, such as tireless, innovative and creative.
Outline reasons why you've chosen your professional path and why you have certain traits. Ask questions such as, "What do I believe in? What do I value? What do I want to accomplish in the next 10 years?" Your list can include causes you support, such as universal health care, financial education for women or breaking barriers for minorities. Citing your motivation is a reminder of your drive. If you ever found yourself asking "why am I doing this?," this part of your statement would answer that question. For example, Fast Company notes that Oprah Winfrey, founder of the OWN Network, aims to be a teacher to inspire people to be greater than they thought possible.
Skills for Success
Note skills and traits that help you achieve your mission. These items should help you answer the question, "What will I use to get the job done?" Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth.com, uses her “intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women,” says Fast Company. Perhaps your compassion, writing skills or specialized knowledge is key to your success.
Tying it Together
Combine your aim, your qualities and your motivations to create a comprehensive statement about what you're doing and why. For example, a career coach might write, "Dedicated to employing my strong teaching skills to developing future leaders to strengthen our communities." Make your statement personal, and be sure it sounds authentic, advises Pamela Weinberg, a guest blogger for the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Keep it short. One sentence is often enough, but limit it to a maximum of five. And remember, a personal mission statement is meant to evolve, so continue revamping it as your career progresses.
Felicia Dye graduated from Anne Arundel Community College with an associate's degree in paralegal studies. She began her writing career specializing in legal writing, providing content to companies including Internet Brands and private law firms. She contributes articles to Trace 775.com.