I was studying this morning preparing for our Couples Conference Call Sunday of this weekend. I took out Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People which he wrote in 1989. I’m designing and working on the idea of stage 5, the Co-Creation stage for a couple. This whole notion comes out of the perspective that we all have a purpose in life and when we are coupled at some point our purposes combine, compliment or spawn a brand new creation that becomes the mission statement of the couple. Steven put a spin on this idea, suggesting that individuals create their own mission statement as part of his second habit: begin with the end in mind. I’m taking it a step further and suggesting couples that are committed do the same.
Companies have developed mission statements for years. It helps guide them by defining who they are and why they do what they do. Coca-Cola’s mission statement, for example, is “To refresh the world. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness. To create value and make a difference.” For Google it’s “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Writing one, however, takes introspection. If I’ve not taken the time to design my own then it will be much more difficult to design for the couple. Start by asking yourself, what am I passionate about? What are my values? What makes me great?
We all have super powers–things we do better than anyone else, it helps to ask someone else what your talents are. These things often feel natural to us, but it’s important to see them as being special.
When you’re ready to write, here’s a template that links together three elements: The value you create + who you’re creating it for + the expected outcome. For example: I use my passion and expertise in technology to inspire researchers to create drugs to cure rare diseases.
Each piece is helpful to create the complete puzzle, but the most important is the first, your value. “This is your core DNA–your operating principles,” he says. “These are the things that inspire and energize you.”
IF YOUR MISSION STATEMENT DOESN’T CHANGE, YOU RISK NOT BEING RELEVANT ANY MORE.
A personal mission statement is a powerful tool because it provides you with a path for success, and it gives you permission to say no to the things that are distractions. It also changes over time. as we get older, we have more life experiences and acquire new skills, if your mission statement doesn’t change, you risk not being relevant any more.
While you write a personal mission statement for yourself, there is power in sharing it. The more you share, the more you are called to BE your mission. Friends and mentors can support you or call you out if you’re doing something counterproductive, but more importantly, as a person of integrity, your sharing re-creates what you’ve SAID and before you know it makes it so.
Here are five examples of real-life personal mission statements:
1. DENISE MORRISON, CEO OF CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY
“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”
In an Morrison said, “The personal mission statement was important for me because I believe that you can’t lead others unless you have a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for. For me, living a balanced life means nurturing the academic, physical, and spiritual aspects of my life so I can maintain a sense of well-being and self-esteem.”
2. JOEL MANBY, CEO OF HERSCHEND FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
“I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement: to love God and love others.”
Manby’s company, Herschend Family Entertainment, owns and operates 26 family-oriented theme parks and attractions across the United States, including Dollywood and the Harlem Globetrotters. He told Skip Prichard that he achieves his personal mission statement in his own endeavors, but feels blessed to be able to achieve it in a growing, profitable business.
3. OPRAH WINFREY, FOUNDER OF OWN, THE OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
In an issue of O magazine, Winfrey recalls watching her grandmother churn butter and wash clothes in a cast-iron pot in the yard. A small voice inside of her told her that her life would be more than hanging clothes on a line. She eventually realized she wanted to be a teacher, but “I never imagined it would be on TV,” she writes.
4. SIR RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER OF THE VIRGIN GROUP
“To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.”
Branson shared his personal mission statement in an interview with Motivated magazine. He added that “In business, know how to be a good leader and always try to bring out the best in people. It’s very simple: listen to them, trust in them, believe in them, respect them, and let them have a go!”
5. AMANDA STEINBERG, FOUNDER OF DAILYWORTH.COM
“To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world.”
Steinberg launched DailyWorth in 2009 to help women build wealth. Since then, she’s grown her site to more than 1 million subscribers. “I believe financially empowered women are the key to world peace,” she says.
And lastly, here is my own.
To create the possibility of LOVE, true LOVE being present, experienced, expressed and expanded wherever I am. That people are gotten and have the experience of being profoundly “known”.