Values, Purpose, Goals : Living Your Personal Mission Statement

United States Capitol Rotunda
Bonnie Morét Photography
As the popular 1996 film Jerry Maguire opens, the title character is wrestling with a number of issues that make him question who he has become. These issues offend his set of values.

In the opening scenes, sports agent Maguire goes so far as to say he hates himself--and then corrects himself to say he hates his place in the world.

So, he writes what he calls a mission statement, "a suggestion for the future of our company." Among the values he talks about in the mission statement are the "simple pleasures," "protecting clients in health and injury," "caring," and, “being the me I always wanted to be." He harkens back to his mentor, Dickie Fox, who said, “Sports agentry is all about personal relationships.”

As the film progresses, and the mission statement turns out not to be well received by his company, we realize that what Maguire has written is a personal mission statement for his own life, rather than for his company - a suggestion for the future of his own life.

Jerry Maguire said that people in his business, including himself, had forgotten about what was important. Writing a personal mission statement offers the opportunity to establish what's important and it enables us to chart a new course when we're at a career crossroads.

Your personal mission statement should answer three questions: 

What is my life about (purpose)?
What do I stand for (values)?
What actions do I take to manifest my purpose and my values?

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People explains that an empowering mission statement represents the deepest and best within you. It comes out of a solid connection with your deep inner life. It’s the expression of your unique capacity to contribute. It addresses and integrates the four fundamental human needs and capacities in the physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions. It represents a lifetime balance of personal, family, work, community - whatever roles you feel are yours to fill. It is written to inspire YOU – NOT to impress anyone else! Let me repeat that, it is written to inspire YOU – NOT to impress anyone else!

Covey writes, "Creating a Personal Mission Statement will be, without question, one of the most powerful and significant things you will ever do to take leadership of your life. In it, you will identify the most important roles, relationships, and things in your life - who you want to be, what you want to do, to whom and what you want or give your life, the principles you want to anchor your life to, the legacy you want to leave. All the goals and decisions you will make in the future will be based upon it. It’s like deciding first which wall you want to lean your ladder of life against, and then beginning to climb. It will be a compass - a strong source of guidance amid the stormy seas and pressing, pulling currents of your life."

Covey refers to crafting a mission statement as "connecting with your own unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes in fulfilling it."

Sounds pretty close to what Jerry Maguire did, doesn't it?

Wishing you fulfillment of your dreams, goals and your heart's desires …


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