Creating Your Mission Statement: Personal? Professional?

Have you ever tried to write an “About Us” page for your website?  Really worked on your “elevator speech” or “30-second commercial”?  How about a mission statement for your business, your church group, a volunteer group or even yourself?

If you have, you know that crafting a “personal mission statement” is much harder than it seems because you have to do soul searching and then you have to boil it all down.

Years ago when I was an undergraduate at Kent State, I took what I thought was going to be a “cake walk class” called Values for Survival.  Filled with students from diverse backgrounds, it actually helped me to reflect at an early age about what’s important to me and what I wanted to do with my life.  Although it was pass / fail as I recall, the class was anything but easy.  Introspective. Thought provoking.  Authentic.  It sparked more than one interesting conversation. 

For those who struggle with defining and categorizing their marketing efforts — you know who you are! — you are probably familiar with the difficulty of focus. Focus means eliminating things. Focus on a market. Focus on a service.  Focus on communicating the key benefit your product provides. Boiling it all down to the essence.

Somehow a personal mission statement is even more challenging because it’s about you, not the external professional, more tangible things. Not the products you sell, not the service you provide and not the business you work for.

Recently at SOBCon, Lorelle Fossen challenged the group to describe their purpose of their website in 10 words or less.  Easier said than done! Many came up with tag lines, not the mission statement.

This is a follow up to the challenge issued by Iain Hemp at Outstanding Club to create a personal mission statement.  Recently I entered his group writing project contest and expected that there would be thousands of entries (the two winning prizes:  $25 Amazon giftcard) but instead, there were only three.  Mine and two others!  Why?  I think because crafting a personal mission statement is harder than it seems.

My votes for the winners go to the two other personal mission statements: Jake Dahn’s Personal Mission Statement published at jakedahn.com by Jake Dahn is one of inspirationI would like to encourage creative thinking and push peers to be creative, to further inspire us all. 

Rob Jenson’s Personal Mission Statement published at jensenrf.wordpress.com by Rob Jensen is one of mentoring: Working with people to create trusting relationship to understand their needs and help discover and apply the right tools to help them be successful on their own goals.

I think because of that Values for Survival class many years ago, I got a headstart on this project, so it’s not fair for me to count my statement. It is hard to judge someone’s personal mission statement, isn’t it?

Funny thing.  My personal mission statement in the class was boiled down to two statements: 1) Find a better way and 2) Make a difference.  So I guess my more current statement of “Learn. Evolve. Share.” still fits me all these years later.

So, I’ve decided to extend this “personal mission statement” challenge, but make it easier. I’m adding a marketing overlay. What is the mission of your product, your service or business? Can you boil it down to your “professional mission statement?

Try it. What was your experience?

Author: Chris Brown

Business owner operating a marketing consulting firm. Online Publisher. Keynote Speaker.

10 thoughts on “Creating Your Mission Statement: Personal? Professional?”

  1. Hi Chris. Thanks for your entry and your thoughts on the project – I agree with much of your assessment of the project and why there were few entries. Some felt uncomfortable with the “personal” aspect of it being out on the web. Some had already done the exercise previously, but wanted to send notes of encouragement for the concept. But the message I got the most consistently was that they loved the idea of the contest, but didn’t think they had enough time to come up with an entry they were happy with in the two weeks the entry portion of the project was active.

  2. Your presentation here is great. I just found you on blogspot: I am looking to make the move onto a personal domain and hosting myself soon – can you advise me what you have used here? What host etc? Email me privately if you’ve a moment, thanks, I really appreciate.

    I like your ethic Learn Evolve Share. For me that sums up blogging. Interactive, informative, inspirational! :)

  3. I like this blog. A lot! Especially the business pitch part. It was a pleasure meeting you this past weekend. I look forward to talking more with you soon. By the way I am switching my blog to a wordpress setup, do you have any tips?

  4. It’s taken me years to craft my mission statement and it has gone through many iterations. Now, it’s “I help my clients shorten the sales cycle by making it easy for their clients to buy from them.” My website then walks prospective clients through the steps I use to fulfill this promise including how we: pinpoint their most promising prospects, determine exactly what features are most important to them, find out who they involve in the buying decision, what information each of these individuals needs to approve a purchase, and where they go to get dependable information. Then, it describes how we apply all that we learn to make the most of my clients’ resources and ensure that all marketing activities yield a high ROI.

  5. I was searching for ‘Discover Ohio’ at google and found your post named ‘Creating Your Mission Statement: Personal? Professional?’ in search results. Not very relevant result, but still interesting to read.

  6. Thank you for posting this informative blog.
    Now I need to do some serious soul searching as I formulate my own personal mission statement.

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