Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Personal Mission Statement

As the president of the Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling, I have to write a "president's letter" to lead off each issue of the organization's newsletter. Since we have been considering a new mission statement, in the latest edition I wrote a little about that process.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I said that a mission statement focuses an organization’s energy and clarifies its purpose, according to It helps us set priorities. When faced with a decision, we can ask, “Does this fit with our mission?” We often are presented with various opportunities that appear attractive and if we aren’t careful, we can flail about, trying all kinds of new things that are not central to our reason for being. Our decision-making will be more strategic and sensible if we have and follow a mission.

Almost as an aside, I also asked if readers had ever considered writing their own personal mission statements. Borrowing from an article by Janel Radtke, I suggested that they take some time to consider these questions:

  • What are the opportunities or needs that you exist to address? What is your purpose?
  • What are you doing to address these needs or opportunities? What is your business?
  • What principles or beliefs guide your work? What are your values?

Answering these questions in a sentence or brief paragraph or even a short list of bullet points can help you know where your time should be devoted, avoid burn-out and perhaps even lay out your career goals.

True confessions: I haven't done this yet myself, but I probably should. I've thought, too, about the idea of writing a mission statement for our family, either just with Jeannette or involving the boys as well. Then again, that's probably a little too touchy-feely for me . . .

1 comment:

Hannatu said...

Good challenge, especially for New Year's. Probably a better idea than writing New Years resolutions.