Career Advice

3 Steps to Define Your Career Mission Statement

Do you have a personal mission statement, and have you melded it with your career?

In other words, (borrowing from Dictionary.com), do you have “an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation?”

Vision statements often are described similarly.

According to About.com, “Your personal vision statement guides your life and provides the direction necessary to chart the course of your days and the choices you make about your career. Your personal vision statement is the light shining in the darkness toward which you turn to find your way. It illuminates your way.”

Whether you dub it as your mission or your vision, the bottom line is that having a calling, something that is a beacon of light guiding you when you get off course, is the primary purpose of creating such a statement. It is something by which you measure your day-to-day actions and decisions.

1. Your Mission Statement Should Focus on Others (and Not Just Your Personal Goals)

More broadly defined, a mission focuses beyond a single specific outcome such as to “become president of a company” or to “own your own business.” Instead, it often weaves in elements of how what you do will fulfill customer needs, solve problems for your company, improve the community, or even improve the lives of your colleagues or staff.

Now, with that done, you should consider how what you do makes you feel. In solving others’ problems, do you feel satisfaction? In providing job satisfaction to your employees, do you in turn receive a sense of pleasure? In other words, if you are providing a service or a solution that is mission-oriented, but you are lackluster or even miserable in the process, then it may be time to tweak how you are achieving your mission.

2. Your Mission Statement Should Be Flexible

Which brings us to the idea that your mission statement is fluid, evolving over time. And for many, if you don’t know where to start, you may be too overwhelmed to ever create one. There are many books, and hundreds of articles on the Internet to guide you.

3. Getting Started On Your Mission Statement

Probably the single best tip to just “get started” is to think about your special skills and abilities for a moment, and in particular, the ones that light your fire. What is your special sauce? Are you a compassionate listener with an ability to warm up even the most disgruntled client? Do you have a unique ability to crunch numbers? Are you a top-performer when it comes to selling widgets? Do you have event planning skills that leave even the most skeptical attendee wowed?

Now, take that one trait you know people value you for and extend it into your mission. Simply, in one or two sentences, answer, “How will you use that talent to provide value to your company, your employees, your colleagues, your customers, your vendors and ALL whom you touch during a given business day?”