Writing a purpose statement is a solid first step to take on the road to happiness and personal satisfaction. As you might remember, we laid out our six-step plan to move you toward a happier life. As a reminder, those steps include:
Develop A Purpose Statement.
Once you have identified your purpose and developed your purpose statement, the path you should take becomes clearer. The statement – which some call a mission statement – establishes what’s important to you, and helps you steer the right course as you take charge of your own life, career and happiness.
A personal mission statement guides you to identifying your strengths, core values and beliefs. With these clear in your mind, you can determine the type of life you want to have.
Maybe you were meant to be a stay-at-home parent, or your life’s purpose would be best suited working for a church or a non-profit organization. Perhaps you are suited for an entrepreneurial lifestyle, or maybe you are meant more for the corporate world.
As you think through your strengths, values and beliefs, you’ll determine your path. No matter the route you choose, understanding these factors also helps you determine the kinds of people you want to surround yourself with in your personal life and your business life.
Writing A Purpose Statement
The biggest problem most people seem to have is not in wanting to develop a purpose statement, it is in actually writing it. It requires some thought and careful, honest scrutiny of yourself to get to the core of who you are. You will learn a lot about yourself as you go through this exercise, and you’ll find that setting clear goals becomes easier when you complete your project. We’ll guide you through it.
Identify Past Wins – What personal successes have you had in the last couple of years. Your wins could be at work, at home, or in your community. Write down as many as you can.
Determine Core Values – Make a list of the attributes which make you who you are, and which reflect your life priorities. Try to capture as many as possible, initially. From this list, winnow it down to the top five to seven most important to you. Finally, see if there is just one value that resonates as most important. Need help? Steve Pavlina has a list of 400 human values for your reference.
Identify How You Can Make A Difference – There are any number of things you could do to make a difference in the world. Now, it’s time to identify those you realistically think you could accomplish. So, let’s list the ways you can contribute to your family, your friends, your employer, your community and, finally, the world. Check here, here and here for ideas.
Set Goals – Think about the your life’s priorities, and your personal goals. Goals are really the foundation of your mission. They are specific, have deadlines, and are instrumental in helping us bring our mission statement ot life. You’ll want some short-term goals, which typically can be completed in under three years, and some longer ones as well. Set goals both for your professional and personal life. Here’s a list of possible goals – a cheat sheet – to help you.
Write Your Purpose Statement – Here are a few things you may want to include:
- Your overall statement.
- Who is an inspiration to you and why.
- What personal qualities do you want to acquire.
- Specific goals you want to achieve.
- A list of your values
- Your legacy, or how you want to be remembered.
Remember, this is a living document and may change as you do. My statement is: I want to be a catalyst to help others find their purpose, discover happiness, and improve their lives so they can achieve their goals. Here are a few personal mission statements of famous CEO’s that might provide inspiration. Or, the mission statement of one of my favorites, Ben Franklin.
If you want a little more help, Franklin Covey has an online personal mission statement tool, as well as an ebook that walks you through the exercise. Please share your statement with us when you have completed it.
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My new book, Get Glad: Your Practical Guide To A Happier Life, puts this whole plan together and walks you through the steps to help get you to a happier place. Pick up your copy: