According to the NY Times personal mission statements are the new New Year’s Resolutions.
Yes, I’ve read the responses around the internet making fun of the article.
It reminds me of the old journalism joke:
“What do you call a trend?”
“Three examples and a deadline.”
In its defense, Creating a New Mission Statement was not published in the Style section, which excels at these sort of empty observations, but rather in the Health section and was written by Tara Parker Pope, a thoughtful writer who normally eschews fads and trends.
While I don’t think we need to replace resolutions with mission statements, I have found having a mission statement helpful in my own career which has had its up and downs, and has veered in several different directions.
In the piece, Pope quotes Jack Groppel, co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, an Orlando-based coaching firm.
“A mission statement becomes the North Star for people,” says Dr. Groppel. “It becomes how you make decisions, how you lead, and how you create boundaries.”
I have been a freelance writer and brand strategist for the past fifteen years (except for a few full-time stints at ad agencies). Running my own business hasn’t always been easy (or frankly as lucrative full-time agency work), but it has allowed me the flexibility of being a more hands-on parent with the ability to pick and choose projects and clients.
Having a mission statement (whether written down or not) and developing my own sense of priorities has been key to my “success.” When a project doesn’t go well or I find myself with less work than I would like, I can look back to my mission statement and know I am on the right path.
If you are like me, and need reminders to keep you moving ahead, a mission statement is a great place to start.
There are lots of resources out there on how to write them. Here are a few to get you started: