During your college career, your journey will take you through a world of self-exploration as you pursue your educational goals. At the end of your college career, you obviously hope to be well-prepared and well-rounded enough to find gainful employment and achieve success as you pursue your passions and interests.
To that end, a critical first step in your journey of career exploration is to be able to define what values and beliefs you hold most dear. The development of a personal mission statement is an absolute necessity for you to adequately prepare for a career in the highly volatile twenty-first century global workplace.
The personal mission statement is an elegantly powerful resource. It is simply a two to three sentence declarative statement about the ideals, values and beliefs you hold true. It defines your goals in your personal and professional career. Best of all, you can leverage it in order to match your ideals and what you are seeking in a career with the appropriate culture of an organization that matches your beliefs and values. It is succinctly, your elevator pitch, a summarized sales pitch of the product called YOU.
Thomas Moore said: “It isn’t enough that we have meaningful work. What is also required is work that satisfies the soul.” You can begin the process of writing a personal mission statement with a technique called “visualization”, a technique that world-class athletes use. Ask yourself what your ideal dream job would like. Where is the office located, what type of people would you be working with? What are you doing every day, what does your workplace look like. Will you be working alone or with a diverse group of people? Are you travelling? Working abroad?
After you have given this considerable time write it ALL down. A plan not written down is a dream. Once you write it down it takes on a life, a permanence that you can match your progress against. Next, identify all your likes and dislikes, things you are most passionate about. Have you been involved with any social causes? Think back on volunteer work you’ve done. Again, write this all down.
Your goal is to develop a mission statement that enables you to define your DREAM job. A dream job constitutes good work that will enable you to combine the following attributes: the ability to achieve excellent performance, the ability for you to express your ethics, and a pleasing sense of engagement (as defined by Howard Gardner, noted psychologist at Harvard University).
Next, you will need to evaluate your goals. Start with your classes, and academic focus. Then slowly expand that by thinking about all the jobs you’ve had, and times when you were working and you felt the most energized, fulfilled, and rewarded for the work you did. You will need to identify your strengths and areas for improvement, New Career Opportunities, identify Ideal Industries and Companies, and identify Your Working “Style”
Ask yourself what values and beliefs do you hold most dear. What principles do you choose as the foundation for the rest of your life, and your career by extension? What would I like to accomplish and contribute? What would I like to be? How do I fit into my family and community? What are my strengths?
Steven Covey defined the process of crafting one’s mission statement as: “connecting with your own unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes in fulfilling it.” After you have done all of the above, you are ready to apply this to the following four-step process:
1. Identify Past Successes
2. Identify Core Values
3. Identify Contributions
4. Identify Goals
Complete this process and you will have your very own personal mission statement.
“My personal mission is to live completely, honestly, and compassionately, with a healthy dose of realism mixed with the imagination and dreams that all things are possible if one sets their mind to finding an answer.”
Your personal mission statement gives you a concise, effective elevator pitch summarizing what you define as your key life’s goals, values, and beliefs. This is a powerful summary of what you hold dear, that forms the foundation (along with your core competencies and success stories) of how you will sell yourself during interviews, in a confident and assertive manner.
Some excellent resources to help you on your way:
• Franklin Covey Mission Builder; www.franklincovey.com/missionbuilder/index.html
• Laurie Beth Jones, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement For Work & For Life
• Richard J. Leider, The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life and Work