I heard a personal mission statement by James Dobson at Focus on the Family, back in 1984 that expresses everything needed to develop a personal mission statement that brings purpose in life. I actually used the framework to create my own legacy mission statement in 1984 at the age of 33. I’ve grown into it over the last 37 years to see the realty of it play out. Let me give you some guidance in creating your own. My legacy mission statement goes like this:
“ I have concluded that all the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it is an insufficient reason for living. When I reach the end of my days I must be able to look back on more than just Gold Gloves, All-Star games, World Championships and records. Nor is fame of any lasting benefit. I will consider my earthy existence to have been waste unless I recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me, and nothing else makes sense”!
Let’s break the statement down. 1st, the mission statement shouldn’t be too long as to not memorize and speak out to an individual or group. Nor too short not to capture where your passion lay. One should use no more than 100 words. I’ve spoke it out to large groups my memory for years only to have people come up to me and want to know more.
The personal legacy mission statement can be broken down into just two sections that give purpose to life. The first section is about personal discovery you’ve made in life, your experiences and lessons learned. The second part are values that matter most, principals you are willing to put on your headstone, then finishing with a concluding powerful statement.
You can start your own with “ I have concluded or discovered or realized that” and then name a few things important that you have discovered about life. These are experiences with hard edge conclusions, where there is an element of passion. An overarching statement that has identity and power for you.
For me I was raised believing that if I got fame and fortune, that’s what life was all about. I pursued it hard. And when I got fame and fortune I was empty inside realizing I believed a lie. Along the way I got to receive many prestigious accolades which is communicated in the next part.
Next “ when all your days are done” what is it that you’ve accomplished that doesn’t seem to have as much importance as it once did? They were once very important and still hold a place in your heart but have lost some luster.
Now to the second section of the legacy mission statement. Add, “I will consider my earthy existence to have been wasted unless I recall a” then write out several things that are most important to you. This is something that stretches you and challenges you. You may currently find yourself falling short in the areas but deem it valuable to your life’s journey.
My three important and passionate elements are loving family, consistent investment in people and earnest attempt to serve God. They serve as a guide to embrace and consistently move toward, not necessary something that has already been reached.
End it with a power statement like “ And nothing else makes sense”.
Legacy mission statements have a way of keeping you on track to your goals and finishing strong in life. They help you in times of wavering and keeping one on course. This process or way of creating a personal statement has ownership and power to keep one steadfast to their direction and purpose. Because Purpose Matters.