One answer to this article’s title is of course you. But so does everyone you come in contact with. Your personal mission is why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s important to be clear about why you should try so hard to accomplish whatever you are working on. Steve Jobs said your personal mission statement lets you say, “I did what I was created to do. I contributed to this world in a significant manner.”
Your personal mission, therefore, can’t be short term thinking – it’s not about working hard to earn money. It’s not even about earning money to buy a car. There is nothing wrong with earning money and buying a car, that may be a great step but it’s bigger is than that. It’s the impact you want your life to have.
And when you figure out what you were created to do – as Jobs said, ask yourself, besides me, who benefits from my personal mission? You may still be doing great things, but to what end? Stop waiting for the impact to just happen and make it happen. Make your life a mission, not an intermission.
Why do we need a personal mission? Life is full of choices. How do you know which choice is the right one? One way that helps you decide is having a personal mission. What that as a focus, you can measure each choice to see which one gets, or keeps, you on track to reach it.
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” – Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock
What should be in a personal mission? The best part of being successful is helping others be successful. A Chinese proverb says, “By accident of fortune one may be a leader for a time, but by helping others succeed one will be a leader forever.” Fill your personal mission with the benefits you will bring to each person you can.
“Mission is about people, not projects.” – Todd Engstrom, Verge 2013
What does a personal mission look like? If it takes too long to explain, then you don’t understand it. If you don’t understand it, then you can’t use it. Abraham Lincoln said, “If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Invest the time up front so that your personal mission statement is as sharp as an axe and can fell a tree in one blow. Brevity is the key.
“Your mission should be a single sentence that states what you are here to do.” – Steve Jobs