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What Is Your Personal Mission Statement? A Moment With Bill Series
A mission statement is a statement of purpose or a reason for being. This concept has gained popularity in the business world as a way of maintaining focus for the company. The statement is used as a guiding light when decisions are made. Does the new decision or action correspond with the purpose of the company? If not, should it be done?
I will borrow the mission statement from a movement I began a couple months ago, namely H.O.W., or Humanity One World. Our mission statement for that movement is as follows:
“If anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of H.O.W. to always be there, and for that I am responsible.”
In other words, the goal of H.O.W. quite simply is to help others and to make this world a better place.
Why Is It Important to Have a Mission Statement?
We live in a complicated world. We are bombarded daily by thousands of stimuli, and it is very, very easy to get distracted or sidetracked as we travel this journey. In business, staying on course can mean the difference between success and failure. Decisions made that are not in keeping with the mission of the company can have disastrous results that will cost the company millions of dollars.
The same can be said in our private lives. Each of us has a central purpose, but oftentimes we have either forgotten that purpose or we never really knew what our purpose was. We wander around aimlessly, tossed about by the winds of fate, and mourn the fact that our lives did not turn out the way we wanted them to. Sad but predictable, for we all need to understand what our purpose is so that we do not get tossed around by fate and lose our personal compass.
So I ask you: what is your personal mission statement?
I Will Gladly Go First
I have thought often of this. I can safely state that when I was a young lad I probably did not have a mission statement. Life was about living and experiencing, and going hell-bent-for-leather at one hundred miles per hour. I did not have time for deep-thinking and reflection, and as I think back on those years I can see that my life reflected that lack of purpose. I was, for lack of a better word, frantic to live life quickly and to embrace as many thrills and risks as I possibly could. It was a rush for sure but I’m not certain I can say now that it was meaningful or for that matter noble in its headlong sprint down the highway of life.
I had to suffer in order to finally step back and take a look at life and formulate a purpose. You see, it is my personal belief that suffering is the great motivator in life. Pain is a wonderful learning tool if used properly.
I have often heard the tale of the cat who burns its paw on the stove and learns never to do that again. Unlike the cat, I have had to burn my paws several times but I do, eventually, learn.
Pain has a way of helping me to focus, and I am of the belief that the richest lessons that we learn in life are a result of pain experienced earlier in life. How can I be empathetic of others without first experiencing the pain they are going through? How can I be compassionate, or a good listener, or dedicated to a cause, without first experiencing life to the fullest, the good and the bad?
So I have paid my dues. Been there, done that and bought the damn book, and because of those hard-earned lessons I can now state my own personal mission statement, and guide my life using this as my true north.
“From this day forward I will live a life of love. I will be a living, breathing example of love. I will be a support to others, a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to listen. I will treat others as I want to be treated, and where there is no love I will be the glimmer of hope and strength needed.”
Today I try to live my life in accordance with that mission statement. Before I make any large decision in my life, I first ask myself if it is in harmony with my mission statement. When I go to bed at night I ask myself if I strayed from my purpose and if so, what do I have to do to make it right and return to that purpose?
Once I actually wrote out my mission statement and began to live by it, a funny thing happened to me. I found a new appreciation for life. I found a tranquility that had been missing before, and I found that I had depth and an inexhaustible supply of love inside of me. I found that as I lived by that mission statement I was happier, and when I strayed from it I was unhappier. Like the cat on the stove, I learn each and every time I do not live by my mission statement. I get burned, I do not return to that sort of action and I am happier because of it.
A Moment With Bill
So Now It Is Your Turn
I have walked you through the definition, and I have given you a personal example. We now come to the time when you give thought to your own mission statement.
What is your purpose in life? Only you can answer this, and it needs to be extremely personal. Why are you here and what do you wish to accomplish? If you do not have one then I strongly suggest you give it some thought. Rudderless ships rarely end up at their planned destination. Are you rudderless or are you steering to the port that you planned to visit all along?
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)