If you don’t have a personal mission statement, you’re probably wasting a lot of time. See why and how to write a personal mission statement that’ll make all your choices easy.
A personal mission statement isn’t just a good idea.
It’s your most powerful tool for reaching your goals.
Put it this way—
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
That’s a precious clue.
A personal mission statement shows you what to say no to. It aims you at the target and saves time and energy for what matters most.
It aligns your every moment in service of your goals.
It’s not hard to write your own statement. It comes down to asking yourself a few questions.
This guide will show you:
- How to write a personal mission statement in five steps.
- 30+ great personal mission statement examples from visionaries and CEOs.
- Career goals statement examples for professionals and students.
- How to use your mission statement to reach goals faster.
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Personal Mission Statement Examples
“To simplify the complicated”
“To inspire success through teaching”
“To create the best version of tomorrow”
“To be kind to others and myself”
“To improve lives through better healthcare”
“To help as many people as possible as much as possible for as long as possible”
Those are great examples of personal mission statements.
What makes them tick?
They cut to the core. They create a shining star that slashes thousands of yearly decisions.
What is a Personal Mission Statement?
A personal mission statement is a 1-2 sentence motto that shows how you define yourself as a person or a team member. It identifies your personal or professional purpose and presents why it is important to you.
It’s a “reason to be.” Many experts think it can turn someone from a “rudderless ship” into a goal-focused success. Mission statements save time by cutting out unneeded tasks.
Think of it like this:
Successful people have the same number of hours in a day. Their #1 strength? They don’t let their time get sucked away by non-goal pursuits.
A personal or career mission statement is like a sword. It slices away the “good ideas” keeping your dreams from reality.
Here are 15 personal mission statement examples from CEOs, founders, and artists:
15 Examples of Personal Mission Statements from Visionaries
1. “To make people happy” –Walt Disney
2. “To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.” –Denise Morrison, Former CEO of Campbell Soup Company
3. “To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes.” –Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
4. “Not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” –Maya Angelou
5. “My life purpose, to love and honor God, is foundational. My professional purpose is to be a ‘Builder’ of a future that transcends ways of working for the wellbeing of people and businesses throughout the world.” –Miles Everson, Former Vice Chairman, PwC US
6. “If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure” –Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
7. “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” –Oprah Winfrey
8. “Treat people how you want to be treated.” –Lou Gerencer, CEO one of the top ten Harley dealerships in the US
9. “To do well by doing good while supporting and elevating those around me.” –Scott Shuda, Chairman of Infusystem, Inc.
10. “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.” –Mahatma Gandhi
11. “Love God and others.” –Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment
12. “I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated” –Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize laureate and activist
13. “To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world.” –Amanda Steinberg, Dailyworth.com
14.“Embrace something bigger than yourself. Continually improve your skills. Inspire others to achieve great things and make the world a better place. This is how the quiet humble person leaves their mark.” –Jeffrey Madden, Senior VP and Portfolio Manager at RMB Capital
15. “To help people find hope after loss” –Gloria Horsley, Founder of Open to Hope
Those are inspiring personal mission statements.
They’re easy to remember and they keep their visionaries pointed “true north.”
Now let’s write yours.
Pro Tip: The personal and career mission statement examples above can inspire you. Refer to them as you make your own statement with the tips below.
Do you need a mission statement for yourself because you’re in a dead-end job? See our guide: I Hate My Job. I Hate My Boss. Here’s What to Do *Now*
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
How do you write a personal mission statement?
It’s not hard.
It’s actually fun.
This is where you dream big. Paint a picture powerful enough to get you out of bed each morning with energy and joy.
1. Identify the value you want to create.
What value do you want to bring into the world? What’s important to you? Pick a dream big enough to power your inner fusion reactor for life.
2. Choose who you want to create it for.
Who will you help? Everyone? Children? Women? People who’ve lost hope? Pick recipients of your talents to sharpen your focus.
3. Point out core skills you’ll use to create it.
What’s your superpower? Mine is explaining complex things clearly. Yours might be teaching, compassion, creating, or design.
4. Add what you want for yourself.
Don’t skimp on your needs. Some of the best personal mission statements are self-focused. Richard Branson just wants to learn and have fun.
5. Cut the specifics. Save details for your goals list.
Want to run a restaurant? Go to the moon? Make $10 million? Save specifics like that for your personal career goals.
But how do I do it?
Still not sure how to write a personal or career mission statement? Use the personal mission statement template below.
Personal Mission Statement Template
To use [XYZ SKILLS] to [HAVE XYZ POSITIVE OUTCOME] for [XYZ GROUP OF PEOPLE] with [XYZ DETAILS].
That’s a comprehensive template for a personal or career mission statement. But—
You don’t need to use every part of it. Be creative.
You can drop the “skills” part and the “details” part. The “group of people” can just be you.
You could use all the parts like this example…
To use my coaching skills to help teens realize their dreams and grow into caring, confident adults.
…or strip it down to one “positive outcome” like this:
To spread happiness.
Pro Tip: Keep your mission statement for yourself short. Make it easy to remember during everyday crises. Make it catchy enough that people remember it.
After you write your personal or career mission statement, plot your goals. See our guide: What Career Is Right for Me? What Job Should I Have? How to Choose
Personal Mission Statement Examples for Students, Careers, and Resumes
Need more personal mission statement examples?
Mission statements are different for students, careers, and resumes.
“To make people happy” is a great life goal. But it won’t build the best academic career or look good in your professional resume summary.
Use the examples below to write your career goals statement, student mission, or resume personal statement.
Career Goals Statement Examples
“To save lives”
“To pursue lifelong learning and growth”
“To create visual stories that educate and entertain”
“To use my medical skills to do no harm and to extend quality of life”
“To give students every chance to grow into confident, effective adults”
Those career goals statements will inspire you, and inspire employers and clients to hire you.
Personal Mission Statement Examples for Students
“To learn and grow”
“To gain the skills to make the world a better place”
“To build a network that will carry me through life”
“To discover the magic and mystery of life”
“To grow into someone who can save the planet”
The student mission statements above will keep your eyes on the prize in your educational journey.
Resume Personal Statement Examples
“Use my project management skills to deliver efficiency and productivity”
“Create powerful software solutions that make users’ lives easier”
“Provide the best possible care to patients with maximum efficiency.”
“Defend client rights against those who would subvert them”
“Save time and money for my clients”
Did you notice?
Those five resume personal statement examples are a bit different.
They’re more detailed. Why?
Because they show off central skills to potential employers.
You can add them to your resume summary statement like this:
Accomplished accountant, skilled in financial statements and asset management. Seeking to save time and money for [XYZ COMPANY]. At ABC company, spotted recurring issue that created $2.3M annual cost savings…
Pro Tip: Share your personal mission statement with people who are important to you. That means employers, mentors, clients, and networking connections.
Do you need to answer the what are your career goals interview question? See our guide: What Are Your Career Goals: Set & Reach Them
How to Use Your Personal Mission Statement
You’ve got a personal mission statement. But—
How should you use it?
Use a personal or career mission statement to streamline your decision-making.
Let’s go back to Warren Buffett. He keeps a list of five goals. He puts everything else on an “Avoid at All Costs” list.
Because that keeps him aimed at what’s important.
Use your mission statement or career goals statement like that. Every time you face a choice between two options, let your mission statement decide.
Let’s say you’re a teacher. You’re given a choice to teach one of two classes, but you’re not sure which to pick.
If your mission is “to inspire success through teaching,” choosing will be easy. You’ll select the class that brings more success to more students.
Pro Tip: Make your mission statement first. Your goals come next (long term, then short term). Your schedule comes last. Use all three tools to get to your dreams.
Need to write a career objective for a job? See our guide: 50+ Resume Objective Examples: Career Objectives for All Jobs
Bonus: Corporate Mission Statement Examples
Personal mission statements are a great idea, but where do they come from?
Philosophers have sung the praises of mission statements for centuries. In our modern lives, the best mission statements come from big companies.
Businesses use them to steer by. They often spend years and thousands of dollars getting them right.
Get inspiration for your mission statement for yourself, career goals statement, or resume personal statement from the examples below.
State Farm: “To help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams.”
Kroger: “To be a leader in the distribution and merchandising of food, health, personal care, and related consumable products and services.”
Verizon: “To enable people and businesses to communicate with each other.”
Microsoft: “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Netflix: “We promise our customers stellar service, our suppliers a valuable partner, our investors the prospects of sustained profitable growth, and our employees the allure of huge impact.”
Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Apple: “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store.”
Do those corporate statements give you ideas for your personal mission statement?
Some are short and some are long. All are big dreams.
Pro Tip: Your personal or career mission statement is a living document. Update it as your situation and interests change.
Are you writing a mission statement for yourself to find a job at a great company? See our guide: Job Search Now: How to Find a Job You’ll Love Fast
Summary: How to write a personal mission statement:
- Review personal mission statement examples for inspiration.
- Identify the value you’ll create and who you’ll create it for.
- Center your mission around your core strengths.
- Keep your statement short and focused.
When you finish writing your personal mission statement, would you do me a favor? Please share it in the comments. Let’s inspire each other to do more!
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Please click here to see my schedule to book a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching.