A friend recently challenged me to write a personal mission statement – to decide what kind of person I want to be, in a concise enough way that I can revisit it and check my life is heading in a direction I like. Of course having a business degree means I’ve seen the value in having a company mission statement, so to me a personal one makes perfect sense too. However, actually writing it might be a lot harder! So, here is my attempt laid bare for you all. I decided to divide the thought process into both things I ‘want’ to be and things I ‘don’t want’ to be. I often find deciding what you don’t like, or who you aren’t can really help define who you are. Some of these I’m already achieving, and others are a goal to work towards. Of course yours might be TOTALLY different so feel free to use this is a spring board to get thinking about your own. Here goes!
p.s. I’d love to hear in the comments what would be in yours and whether you think it’d have value or just be another hippy ideal with no practical applications.
I want to be
1) Free – this is by far my number one criteria. I don’t worry too much about being rich or poor, just want to be financially free to work/not, choose jobs I like, travel, make choices for my kids, change my diet, change home, change anything! Similarly, I want to be mentally free from guilt, regret, anxiety, stress – big dream I know! Then finally I want to be independent – confident to take on the world alone if I have to, and make autonomous decisions without needing constant validation.
2) Motivational – I really hope to inspire people to believe in their own capabilities. However, more than that I want to motivate them to actually do something about it. My strengths lie in the practical – cutting to the chase, being honest, giving actionable advice, creating frameworks – and that’s where I hope to make a difference to people. Plus, of course I want to be motivational to myself. To push myself, achieve, and work out what direction I want to even go in.
3) Creative – I discovered this relatively late in life (cue eye roll from over 40s) as I never would’ve thought of myself as very creative. However, working with Lewis Manning doing interior design on their charity shops really made me realise how much of a creative vision I can have. Since then it’s become a priority of mine to not let that die!
4) Connected – I am a natural connector and networker of ideas, so it’s important to me to try and maintain contact with as many people as possible. I tend to spread a very wide net of acquaintances who I keep up to date with and I want to continue this! Ditto for trends and global changes – I always want to be up to date and on the pulse.
5) Compassionate – charitable and ethical work is something that’s always been on my periphery, and I’ve dabbled in more seriously too, but I still get regular pangs of pain or sadness at some of the things we see in the world. I’d like to give more of my time, money and energy to helping others.
6) Dependable – my number one pet peeve if people not being reliable – changing plans, changing heart, or changing commitments! I hope I’m always someone who is there for you, and delivers on time and as promised – whether it’s business, family or friendship.
7) Efficient – I feel my best when I’m absolutely slaying tasks. I’m addicted to crossing off a to do list and getting things done as fast as possible. Sometimes I let the rest of life get the better of me though, and if I’m procrastinating or working slowly I feel terrible. I never want that to be the norm!
8) Fearless – finally, I want to say yes more and be braver. This is probably the biggest challenge for me as I can be a massive wimp, and I’m quite a realist when it comes to taking on challenges. I want to be more confident in my own ability and never let a fear of failure/embarrassment/weakness get in the way.
Now, on to the things I don’t want to be. These are deliberately chosen as admirable qualities that simply don’t fit my natural personality type (of course I don’t want to be “racist” or “cruel” so it seems pointless to write those down). Often types from this “don’t” list are the kind of people I’ll surround myself with – I like people who balance me out and when we compliment each others’ weaknesses. Indeed, some of these I used to strive towards and have since been more honest with myself about what I genuinely want from myself and what’s simply not worth fighting from my inner core!
I don’t want to be
1) Meticulous – as I mentioned earlier I love to be efficient and get things done fast… but my attention to detail is frankly terrible. Long term (or first time!) readers of this blog will mostly likely notice multiple spelling mistakes because I simply am not thorough enough to proof read. This is something I used to really beat myself up about but I’m not accepting that I just need to surround myself with people who can fill that gap, and systems/tools that save me from myself!
2) Minimalist – see My Non-Minimalist Declutter video
3) A listener – this was actually on last year’s New Years Resolutions but I think it’s simply not me. I’m a motivator, an extrovert, a leader – and while all those things require listening to understand people and how to help them, it’s never going to be one of my primary skills. My friends will tell you this from personal experience 😉
4) Learned – I love knowing a bit about everything, but I’m not interested in being deeply informed about any area. I don’t enjoy reading detailed websites or books (although I love reading!) and I’ll probably never be an “expert” in one specific field. I’m always looking for headline shortcut to skip to the meat/point of a topic!
5) Extravagant – I’m thrifty through and through and I hope that even if/when I have a lot more money I’ll still maintain that stance. Extravagance and generosity brings other people a lot of joy but it’s just not me. It makes me feel guilty, wasteful and insecure. I want to be careful with my money, and in fact even my time. Friends – I’ll always be there for you (see ‘Dependable’) and I’ll help you achieve your dreams (see ‘Motivational’) but I’ll never buy you beautiful gifts or probably even pay for your dinner! I hope you’ll love me anyway.
6) Relaxed – I’ve chilled out a lot in recent years, and I’m happy about that, but I don’t strive to be any more ‘zen’. I’m a busy, energetic, enthusiastic person and I bloody love a plan or some forced fun! Let’s stop all trying to be the kind of person who enjoys a day lounging by the pool…. if it doesn’t come naturally then don’t beat yourself up!
7) Humble – I want to own my achievements and suppress my inner (female?) desire to downplay myself. It doesn’t gel well with Fearless, Creative or Motivational so it’s got to go.
8) Mature – because it’s a con!! I want to maintain a playful and joyful attitude to my love life, friends, and even attitude. Nothing needs to be toooo serious – let’s laugh, run, and be a bit impulsive.
Well, if you made it this far then you’re a bloody superhero! I really hope you got some value from this and it encouraged you to think about your own life goals. I’m going to write these BIG and stick them on my wall. Guess I just made a Personal Mission Statement* here right in front of you… #winning.
p.s. if you need inspiration for what to include in your list then (I’m not gonna lie) I found this website very helpful!
* I guess it’s more of a list of words than a “Statement” but yolo. It’ll do for me!