Is your personal mission statement consistent with the mission statement of the place you are serving? Authentic leaders know who they are and why they are where they are.
In his classic book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes about the tragedy of spending 70–80 years here on this earth without really living. The key to a meaningful life, according to Covey, is to identify your mission and go for it! The tragedy is drifting through life reacting to circumstances rather than proactively living according to an identified purpose. What is your identified and articulated purpose for life? Remember, it doesn’t count unless it is written down.
Don’t have a personal mission statement?
I suggest you go through the exercise of developing one. Although it may be difficult, it will force you to think deeply about who you are and why you are here. It just may help you more clearly discern God’s will and purpose for your life and help make you a more effective servant where you are.
If you have helped your school or organization develop its mission statement, the process for developing a personal statement is not all that different. Although you are using self-reflection instead of gathering input from a number of sources, the questions are similar: “I exist to….,” or “I believe I best proclaim the kingdom of God by….” are good starters. For your professional mission, you may find it easier to start with limiting your effort to your vocational mission. Also, keep in mind that it is not unusual for people to adjust their personal mission statements as they go through life. Different experiences, training, and life circumstances obviously have an effect on our calling.
In the past few years my personal vocational mission statement has evolved to “Advancing the kingdom of God by encouraging excellence in Christian education.” It has helped me make (sometimes difficult) decisions based on my mission rather than my personal preference.
Is my personal mission statement consistent with where I serve?
You decide: this is the purpose statement for Traverse City Christian School, “Glorifying God, partnering with parents, and equipping students to transform the world for Jesus Christ.” If your personal mission statement is not compatible with where you are serving, you may have some serious soul-searching in store for you. Sooner or later the incompatibility will surface.
In addition, I have found it fulfilling to articulate my core values, those guiding and foundational principles around which I center my life. When I am at my best, I would not be “me” without these core values:
- I make decisions based on a biblical worldview.
- I am generous, which has little to do with the amount of money I may have.
- I am physically fit so that I can serve faithfully.
- I am family-oriented and honoring.
- I love traveling to expand my understanding and perspectives of other cultures.
Again, these represent who I am only when I am at my best.
Personal mission and core values are important means to reflect on how your worldview is influencing how you are actually living your life. Authentic leaders know who they are and why they are where they are.
– Bart Den Boer, worldview specialist