Why should you write a personal mission statement?
Have you ever asked yourself what your personal values are? Asked yourself what drives your decision-making beyond right and wrong or even faith and God or the universe?
Lots of people have asked me why I dove into fair fashion.
The short story? It ladders up to my values.
While I was learning more about fair fashion, I was also crafting my first personal mission statement based on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You might remember my mentioning this ever so subtly (cryptically?) in my post about taking a shopping break. As I worked through my mission statement and wrote the words “defend the least,” which you’ll see in the photo above, I knew that was why fair fashion hit me with so much force. When it comes to making our clothes, the risk is carried by the most vulnerable.
My vision for Fox & Bloom has always been to build women up. And now that I know that there are approximately 40 million garment workers with about 85% of those being women, I know that not only do I care about the women in the clothes, I care about the women making them. Period.
I very much believe that if you spend some time working on your own personal mission statement, your passions and the vision for your life will become that much clearer to you. (If you need more incentive, I have a super fantastic special gift for one of you—keep reading!)
As you read, it might be helpful to have your worksheet handy. Pop in your email below to download yours.
Now’s your chance to use your imagination to mentally create the end you desire. If you were already there, wherever there is, what would it look like? If you followed your values completely, how would you see yourself? Who would you be? As you do this, jot down short-term and long-term visions like being a great parent, volunteering, prioritizing family or starting a business.
What kind of person would you need to be for those visions to come to fruition? Would you need to be self-integral, reliable and humble? Would you need gratitude, heart and grit? Would it take patience, kindness and accountability?
Because this exercise can get a little overwhelming, I like to think in categories (I’ve inserted pieces of my own mission statement in parentheses): family (be famous at home), work (seek respect, not attention), passions (defend the least), self (fear no failure), faith (remember your anchor).
Okay, it’s time to put pen to paper. I do recommend doing this with an actual pen and paper (say what??). As a writer, I can say there’s something about forming letters with your hand that sparks something special and visceral more than a computer screen can.
At this stage, it will probably look a lot more like what Brené Brown calls a s****y first draft. Just get it out. Spill your guts. Don’t edit. Look up some of your favorite quotes or scripture for inspiration.
Ask yourself questions like: Who do I wish I were? What are my non-negotiables? When I have to make really hard decisions, what values do I base them on? This is where your mission comes from.
There’s also no right or wrong format. My mission statement came to life in 10 quick imperative sentences (notice how each one starts with an action verb?) so that the full statement feels very active. Yours might be a full paragraph or just a few words. This needs to be something that resonates with you, so let it take whatever form feels right.
Trust me, you won’t write this overnight. And you shouldn’t. Something you pour your heart into rarely comes to life in one sitting. I recommend getting your first draft out until you feel like you have no ideas left. Then come back to it every day or every few days—cut, refine, rewrite. Let it simmer until it feels uniquely you.
Covey writes, “I find the process is as important as the product. Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behavior with your beliefs.”
Now that you’re in love with your mission statement, find a way to make sure it’s always in front of you. You might get it hand-lettered, use an app to make it your phone’s lock screen or frame it on your desk. Do something so it’s always at hand reminding you of your North Star.
Super fun bonus: You have until November 27 to enter to win my help writing your statement AND you’ll also get a custom hand-lettered version crafted by Elisabeth Creative! Just check out this Instagram post to enter. Heck yes.
Every few months, pull it out and make tweaks. This should be a living breathing document that grows as you do. Of course, the core principles will likely stay intact over time. But let’s leave space for growth. This could even be a tradition where you take one day out of the year to spend a few hours reflecting on the past year, your visions and new goals that might help you rework your mission statement.
For inspiration, I’m including my own mission statement featured on the lock screen above:
Love biggerLet joy winRemember your anchorDefend the leastSeek respect, not attentionStay grateful alwaysBe famous at homePut first things firstKeep a servant’s heartFear no failure