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Mission Statements Are Not Just for Businesses

by Stephen J. Gehlert, Executive Director

Executive Director's Message
Mission Statements Are Not Just for Businesses

In his book, First Things First, Stephen Covey discusses the role Mission Statements play in setting priorities for our businesses and for our own lives. He states to be empowering, a mission statement "has to become a living document, part of our very nature so the criteria we've put into it are also in us, in the way we live our lives day by day."

In other words, we have to be completely dedicated to living our Mission Statements everyday; and not only are you responsible to meet these standards, but so is every person who works for your firm.

Let's review some Mission Statements of companies we all know and see if your experience with them equates with what they claim is their policy:

Southwest Airlines Dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and company spirit.

Sears To grow our business by providing quality products and services at great value when and where our customers want them and by building positive, lasting relationships with our customers.

Microsoft To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

OFDA To represent and support our membership by promoting professional standards and excellence in funeral service.

Mission Statements are not just for businesses. If the intent is to list those attributes that are most important, why not consider a Mission Statement for your life or for your family. By taking the time to prioritize what is important to us, we can then measure if we are living up to your own ideals and standards.
Personal Mission Statements need to be empowering and used to reflect not just our priorities, but who we are and what strengths and gifts we have to contribute to our community.

Viktor Frankl said we don't invent our mission, we detect it. It's within us waiting to be realized.

If you're interested in writing a personal mission statement, but are not sure how to start, I'd like to share two examples from Stephen Covey's book as illustrations. I hope they help you to develop a Mission for your own life.

To be humble.
To say thanks to God in some way, every day.
To never react to abuse by passing it on.
To find the self within that does and can look at all sides without loss.
I believe in treating all people with kindness and respect.
I believe by knowing what I value, I truly know what I want.
To be driven by my values and beliefs.
I want to experience life's passions with the newness of a child's love, the sweetness and joy of young love, and the respect and reverence of mature love.
My goals are to achieve a position of respect and knowledge, to utilize that position to help others, to play an active role in a public service organization.
Finally, to go through life with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye.

To be the person my children look to with pride when they say, "This is my dad."
To be the one my children come to for love, comfort, and understanding.
To be the friend known as caring and always willing to listen empathically to their concerns.
To be a person not willing to win at the cost of another's spirit
To be a person who can feel pain and not want to hurt another.
To be the person who speaks for the one that cannot, to listen for the one that cannot hear, see for the one without sight, and have the ability to say, "You did that, not I."
To have my deeds always match my words through the grace of God.

These are real Personal Mission Statements of individuals not identified in Stephen Covey's book. I believe they are great examples and hopefully will provide inspiration for you to develop your own Mission Statement.

Good Luck

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