Sunday, May 29, 2011

The value of having a personal mission statement

The best way to predict your future is to create it. It has been proven over and over again that we move in the direction of our most dominate thoughts. If those thoughts are of pessimism and failure, we will behave in pessimistic ways and drift in the direction of failure. Our mental voice compels our actions.

Conversely, if our thoughts are of optimism and success, we will behave in optimistic ways and be compelled in the direction of success.

Think about the inner voice that is driving your thoughts… and actions. Like it or not, you have become exactly what you tell yourself you are. I doubt many successful people see themselves as failures. Likewise, there probably aren’t very many failures who see themselves as successful. If you don’t like where you are in life you can change it. Start with your mental programming.

An excellent first step is to develop a personal mission statement – a testimonial of who you are. Or perhaps better stated, the ideal self you want to be. State it in the presence tense and focus entirely on the positive aspects of who you are. Here’s an example:

I am a highly respected and successful ___________ (fill in the blank). I am well-respected by my peers and professional associates. I am a loving partner and parent who respects the individuality of my family members and support them wholeheartedly.

You get the idea. There’s no limit to the size of the statement. The number of elements should relate to the most important aspects of your life: Spirituality, family, vocation, health, interests, etc. It’s not necessary to put the items in priority order so long as you capture all of them. Some aspects of your personal mission statement may not represent who you are today. It’s more likely going to represent who you want to become. Some parts of it may represent who you are today, so long as that is who you want to be.

As you do this, write it down, print it out and post it in prominent places – on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of your car, on your computer terminal. While you should memorize your personal mission statement, you should also write it and read it out loud over and over again. This stimulates multiple senses. Writing it is tactile stimulation. Reading it is visual stimulation. Reading out loud is auditory stimulation. The more senses you stimulate the deeper the message will be seated into your subconscious memory.

Your positive self-talk will lead you in the direction of doing things that achieve your personal mission statement and, best of all, toward becoming the person you really want to become. The best way to predict your future is to create it and that starts with a personal mission statement that drives your actions.

Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO, MICP
Executive Director
Center for the Advancement of Situational Awareness & Decision Making

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