A Personal Mission Statement

FranklinCovey, part of the Stephen Covey empire, has some good free resources on its website, including a tool for creating a mission statement. James Cathcart, a FranklinCovey employee, has written why a mission statement is so important on the company blog

There’s also a lot of material on mission statements and inspiration, including examples from Ben Franklin to Gandhi.

Here’s a list from Franklin’s various writings, mostly from his autobiography:

Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”

Using “a short list of active statements” beginning with “I shall” or “I will” is one way to go.

Here’s Mahatma Gandhi’s mission. It’s very Yoda-like.

Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
I shall fear only God.
I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
I shall conquer untruth by truth.
And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

Writer Erma Bombeck also has a page on the site. 

If I had my life to live over,” written . . . near the end of her life, details the values Bombeck wished had guided her daily decisions . . . 

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.” There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” … But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.”

There’s also an anonymous section. Here’s some selections from various people: 

No empty chairs. 

Care
About the world
About life
About people
About myself

Love
Myself
My family
My world
Knowledge
Learning
LIFE

Fight
For my beliefs
For my passions
To accomplish
To do good
To be true to myself
Against apathy

Rock
The boat, don’t
let the boat rock me
Be a rock

Be Remembered 

Nothing less.”

AJH

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