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Why Have a Personal Mission Statement and How to Write Yours

George Grombacher September 6, 2022

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Why Have a Personal Mission Statement and How to Write Yours

There’s a lot of value in having a personal mission statement. One major benefit is that it helps you prioritize your life. 


Why is this important? Well, either you live by priority, or you live by pressure. 


Have you ever known someone who’s constantly running around like their hair is on fire, or someone who’s always five minutes late? I certainly have, and I’ve also been that person. We’ve all fallen victim to this phenomenon in our lives. The trick is not getting trapped in that frenetic lifestyle. 


In my late 20s, I spent several years working with someone like that. This person seemed to always be playing from behind and trying to catch up. He never did. Ultimately, it cost him his health, career, and freedom. 

While that’s an extreme example, it’s also a cautionary tale. We need to live by priority. Having a personal mission statement will help you do that. 


Today, I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running. I’ve been an advisor for over 20 years, and I’ve got a busy life just like everybody else does. My personal mission statement and values help keep me centered and focused on what’s most important to me. 


Here’s what we’ll cover:


  • What is a personal mission statement?

  • Why have a personal mission statement?

  • How to write your personal mission statement

  • How to live your personal mission statement


Let’s get started.


What is a personal mission statement?


A personal mission statement is a brief written statement. It articulates who you are, what you do, why and how you do it, and what impact you’re working to have. It serves as the lens through which you view the world, and how you decide what to give your time, attention, and money to (and what to not). This simple written statement can help you navigate your life. It helps you prioritize. 


Why have a personal mission statement?


We have finite resources. The most valuable are time, attention, and money. Because they’re finite, we need to be mindful of how we allocate them. If we’re not making those decisions, someone or something else will. 


As I mentioned at the beginning, either we live by priority or we live by pressure. When living by priority, we can respond to situations as they come up, instead of reacting. What’s the difference? It’s time and headspace to think and process. 


When we have time and headspace, we can take in information, consider our response, and take the action. You’ve heard the term, “Sleep on it.” When we can sleep on a decision, we make better decisions. The opposite is driving on a winter road, hitting a patch of ice, and having to immediately react. 


When we don’t have time and we’re living by pressure, we’re hitting ice patch after ice patch. Eventually, we’re going to make the wrong choice and end up in the ditch. 


I’m constantly working to better prepare myself for everything that life throws at me. My personal mission statement is another tool that helps me do it. 


How to write your personal mission statement


As you’re creating your mission statement, I really want you to get a pen and paper. The simple act of thinking and writing is a powerful combination that will help you successfully complete yours. 


Start by thinking and writing about what’s most important to you. Again, this is all about prioritization, so start big and narrow it down. 


Next, think and write about who you are, and who you want to be. I want your mission statement to be based on the ideal version of you, not who you are today. That doesn’t mean you need to be that version of yourself every day, just that you’re working to do it. 


Finally, think and write about how you like to do things. 


Here’s my personal mission statement: I help people get better at money so they can live how they want. I do that by encouraging, empowering and entertaining them. 


To help you think more deeply about yours, it’s valuable to think about your goals and values. When you get clear on how you want your life to be, and what you believe to be true, it gets a lot easier to create your mission statement. 


In service of helping you do that, you can access our Goals and Values Courses at no cost. 


How to live your personal mission statement


Organizations have mission statements for many reasons. They want to give evidence to the world of why they exist, and what others can expect from them. A mission statement communicates to their stakeholders, their customers, and to the general public what they stand for and how they do business. The same is true for you and your personal mission statement. 


When an organization strays from its mission, people can hold it accountable. Hopefully, this becomes an opportunity to course correct and make any necessary changes. 


Put yourself on the hook. Share your mission statement with others. When you do this, you up the ante. You welcome others to hold you accountable to who you say you are. 


Your personal mission statement is not something you do once and file away. When done correctly, it becomes a user’s manual for your life. You can use it to decide on how you allocate your most valuable resources, and how you respond to life’s circumstances. It can be an invaluable tool. 


I also encourage you to consistently (quarterly) review it. When your life and perspective changes, you can update your mission statement accordingly. 


Stop living by pressure. Start living by priority. 


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