How to Use Personal Purpose, Mission & Vision Statements to Design Your Best Life

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I remember being in college and having a professor who asked us to write our mission and vision statement.  At the time, I was young and ignorant of how doing something like this would benefit me in any way, shape, or form. 

Then I sat down to write it and realized I had no clue who I was, what I stood for, and certainly not the faintest idea where I was heading. I muddled through the task, but it planted a seed in me that my identity, values, and why purpose was infinitely crucial to thriving in life. 

Fast forward a couple of decades, I was once again faced with this same activity, but this time, I assigned it to myself. I was at a significant crossroads in my life, completely burned out, not happy, and asking myself, “Is this all life has to offer?”

I knew that at the heart of the issue was questioning my identity as a human and did my life match what I thought was my purpose, mission, and the visions I saw for myself. 

This time doing the activity was more brutal. It required that I take some time to reflect first because, honestly, I hadn’t taken any time in ages just to sit and be still with myself. 

There’s no way I could write such profound statements without spending a little time in introspection to think about what was happening in my life, how I got here, and, more importantly, what I could and couldn’t control. 

In my reflective conversations with myself (yes, I actually found myself mumbling out loud more than once), journaling, reading, walking in nature, meditating, and journaling some more, I started to have more clarity that I had purpose and passion.

Still, along the way, I had begun to sacrifice that to pour into everyone else.  As a mom, friend, loved one, a founder & CEO, at the time a school board member, and wearing many hats in the community, I was very passionate about helping others, doing well at everything I touched, and giving skills to places that needed them. 

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What I didn’t realize was that all of my giving to others was really rooted in my journey for approval, to be loved, and affirmation. Most people are wired to seek approval, but as an adult with high levels of previous trauma, I was more vigilant, needing this approval and affirmation to function. 

It became a vicious cycle that meant I had to work exceptionally hard to feel like I was good enough, but I would also burn out harder than most, which then meant I needed more validation because my burnout made me feel like I was failing.

I had taught myself over the years that being superhuman was the only way that was good enough to be, and as a perfectionist, there was no room for failure. 

After my very powerful reflection, I realized that I could write my purpose, mission, and vision.

Still, I had to do some larger transformations to be able to live a life that allowed me to live them authentically.

With my new realization, I was ready to write my purpose, vision, and mission.

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What Are Purpose, Vision & Mission Statements?

First, I don’t care what anyone tells you. There is no right or wrong to this. You can find a zillion different processes, frameworks, and examples for doing this online.

I will share mine with you, but you have to write and build something meaningful, authentic, and genuine for you. So often, we worry if we are doing it right, putting the right words in the right order, and if sounds good enough.  If you write it, and it is authentic to you, it’s perfect.

Purpose Statement

A purpose statement is extremely powerful.  It requires you to reflect on why the universe put you here and what fuels your passion. It should be short and easily memorizable, not a monologue justifying your existence. I call this the “Why am I here?”

Here are some great examples from this beautiful blog with more information on purpose statements: 

  1. “To motivate and inspire others to live a life where they are mentally and physically healthy, and have peace and contentment.”
  2. “I am dedicated to working on behalf of children to bring them the resources they need for a healthy and prosperous present and future life.”
  3. “To bring more convenient and functional technology to the world that will improve the quality of life.”
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Vision Statement

A vision statement is your long-term hopes and dreams for your future.  It is broader than your mission statement and represents your long-term outlook of where you are heading. What fuels your life, what are your values, and how does that transcend in the long run for you? I call this one the “What is my dream life and what fuels my fire?”

Here are some examples of vision statements from this blog with more stellar insight:

  • “My personal vision is to be a lifelong adventurer, traveling the world and exploring new cultures and experiences. I will work towards building a life that allows me to embrace my curiosity and take risks.”
  • “I envision a future where I am a successful entrepreneur, using my creativity and innovation to make a positive impact on society. I will strive to build a business that aligns with my values and creates opportunities for others.”

 

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Mission Statement

A mission statement is more grounded in your present goals and objectives and how you plan to do your part. This is also your inspiration and motivation to keep you moving forth.  I call this one “What do I stand for and need to do to live my vision and purpose?” 

Here’s an example of mission and vision from this helpful blog:

“My vision is to be an honest, empathetic and impactful project leader and to be recognized internationally within my industry. I am committed to growing as a leader and delivering value-added projects to the end users. My mission is to create and lead a dream team where everyone is playing to their strengths.”

Remember, at the end of the day, don’t get lost in the parts that don’t matter.  It doesn’t matter how many words or if it sounds good. 

Writing your purpose, mission, and vision is powerful in grounding and recentering yourself, reminding yourself who you are and what you stand for, and increasing clarity to where you need to go.  Once you have these written, you need to put them in spaces consistently visible to you, like your screen saver hanging on your mirror or your refrigerator. 

This becomes your roadmap to living your authentic life and a catalyst for making the changes to get there. 

Interested in learning how to streamline crushing your goals personally or professionally?

We believe that true success is more than just performance and productivity. It’s about thriving in all areas of life and work. That’s why we focus on transformational leadership development, holistic evidence-based practices, and the latest in brain science designed to help leaders and organizations thrive.

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Jennifer Ulie, Ph.D.

2x Founder, CEO, Motivational Speaker, Author, Teacher, PhD, and Geek about holistic health and evidence-based practices to help people unlock the best parts of themselves again. Follow @mymensana.

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