- Creating Your Personal Development Plan
- Your Specific Purpose Statement: Its Role In Your Personal Development Plan
- Brian Tracy’s Perspective On Writing A Personal Mission Statement
- Steps To Developing Your Specific Purpose Statement
- Writing Your Specific Purpose Statement Using The Funeral Exercise
- Now You’re Ready To Construct Your Specific Purpose Statement
Creating Your Personal Development Plan
What exactly is a specific purpose statement? Also known as a mission or vision statement, it is a sentence capturing what you’re driven to be in this lifetime, it is an image of the future that you want to bring into existence.
Just like a company cannot operate without a company vision, your mission statement is a critical success factor – you won’t ever be able to be your best unless you know what your purpose is and work to achieve it.
Your Specific Purpose Statement: Its Role In Your Personal Development Plan
Your personal mission statement is different to your goals. Your goals are your short-term desires that drive you to take specific daily actions. Whereas the purpose of a mission statement is to act as a compass and guide you in life.
It’s much bigger than a short-term goal. In fact, it’s what enables you to stay focused on your goals and helps you avoid deviation. It answers the question: what is my life purpose and helps to translate your life aspirations into smaller, tangible actions. It is a broader, larger, more far-reaching mission that stretches 5-10 years or more into the future. Far beyond just today or tomorrow.
Brian Tracy’s Perspective On Writing A Personal Mission Statement
In his book, Focal Point, Brian Tracy highlights the value and importance of having a personal vision:
“In 3,300 studies of leadership, seeking the common qualities possessed by great leaders through the ages, researchers found that the one quality all the studies had in common was vision. Leaders have vision. Non-leaders do not. Leaders have a vision of a better future for themselves, their families, and their organizations. They can see an ideal future in advance. They then work to make it a reality in the present.”
What Brian Tracy is pointing out is that success happens by design, not by chance. Without a personal vision statement, it’s hard to achieve meaningful goals. Instead, you will drift aimlessly. You will find you become preoccupied with day-to-day mundane tasks like paying the bills and keeping your house clean.
Steps To Developing Your Specific Purpose Statement
Give yourself enough time to create a statement that will really mean something. Developing your purpose can take days, weeks or sometimes even months.
Remember, you’re developing this to inspire you, so make sure it is positive, upbeat and energizes you. Ideally, you want this to become an internal mantra that guides your behavior and response to every action and circumstance you face, so keep it short and sharp, up to a maximum of four sentences. The longer it gets, the harder it is to make it actionable on a day-to-day basis.
The next step is to start writing. To help get the right words on the page, I recommend you undertake “The Funeral Exercise”.
Writing Your Specific Purpose Statement Using The Funeral Exercise
Yes, it’s a bit morbid, but this assignment will help you uncover what really matters to you in life.
- Project into the future to your funeral. Imagine you’re at the ceremony, there are a number of people speaking about you.
- Each person has a unique relationship with you. Perhaps your spouse, a sibling, your parent and a friend. What do they say? More specifically, what do you want them to say? Write down the key words and sentences that capture what you hope to hear your close acquaintances share about you. For example, your spouse might say: he was the most honest and truthful person I have ever known. He was the wisest soul I’ve ever known
Next you need to extract the key ideas that you captured. These are the values and ethics that will drive your life goals and explain what you are about. For example, your values might include: honesty, attentiveness, compassion, wisdom.
Now You’re Ready To Construct Your Specific Purpose Statement
This needs to consist of:
- Your personal values (the ones you came up with in the funeral exercise)
- Your biggest goals and dreams
Keep this pithy and concise and avoid being vague. Write it in the first person and make it future focused. Make sure there’s a time frame attached to achieving this vision. For example:
“In 10 years from now, I want to be running my successful personal development center. I want to be working in service of others, helping them to discover all they have to offer.”
Once you have written your statement, you will ideally memorize it and use it to guide the formation of the rest of your personal development plan, including your annual and monthly goals.
Write your specific purpose statement on an index card and carry it in your wallet. Stick one to your bathroom mirror. Become familiar with this thought as the principle that guides your life. This will allow you to get the most benefit from your it.