You will often find it hanging in prime spots of visibility and sometimes in shiny frames along the hallway, on websites and perhaps in the CEO's office. Organizations have vision and mission statements which serve as the driving force of what they do, who they are, and what they represent. It helps in defining culture, shaping the way things are done, as well as serves as a blueprint or the "engine" on which the organizations runs and thrives.
During moments of conflict, the vision and mission statement takes the position of the "rudder" of a ship and through which it is steered back to safety. In most cases, it serves as a constant reminder, as well as to reinforce the ethos, beliefs and values that they hold dear.
Having established the reason why organizations have what we know as vision and mission statements, the question that often comes to mind is that is it possible that as individuals, we are able to have something similar which serves the same purpose as a vision and mission statement? Are we able to fully articulate that higher sense of purpose to which we aim and aspire for at all times? This journey of self-discovery is what led me to the concept of having a "Purpose Statement" as an individual and as a person.
Simply put, your purpose statement serves as a reminder to self, and a promise to the world. It is the sum total of who you are, what you do, how you do it and why you do it. It helps in offering clarity about your value proposition, your brand promise, the problems you're wired to solve, as well as your purpose and reason of being.
Your purpose statement isn't your bio and neither is it a bunch of fancy words that talk a big game, but does little to communicate its essence to others. I believe that your purpose statement comes after a period of deep reflection and self introspection. There really isn't any defined or prescribed time-frame for when you will arrive at that "aha" moment.
Vision and mission statements serve as the "heart and soul" of organizations, and often plays the role of a "rudder" of a ship, through which it navigates its course in a continuously tumultuous and ever changing world -- Oyindamola Johnson.
Steps to Crafting your Purpose Statement
I am sure you’re now ready to write your purpose statement, however, I have written down some questions to serve as steps as well as a guide before you embark on that process and you can find them below:
- Who am I if I were to be stripped of all professional titles and nomenclature?
- What do I do best and what values do I hold dear to me?
- Why do I do what I do?
- Where do I shine best and where can my core competencies and expertise be found?
- When do I do what I do?
- How do I do what I do?
Simply put, your purpose statement serves as a reminder to self, and a promise to the world. It is the sum total of who you are, what you do, how you do it and why you do it -- Oyindamola Johnson.
Here is mine:
"I am passionate about raising ethical leaders to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and development in rural and urban communities, as well as empowering emerging leaders and young professionals to function effectively at the intersection of passion, purpose, impact and profit."
So, have you written yours yet? It won’t look good or perfect immediately, however, the more you walk along your path and journey, the more clarity will come, and the more clarity comes, the more defined your personal statement will be. So, don’t be in a rush – it’s a journey and not a destination. Ultimately, I, however, believe that everyone should have a purpose statement - that's the sum totality of your personality”.
As I wrap up my thoughts, I am sure that a question on the minds of a lot of people is "am I expected to have just one purpose statement and will there ever come a point in time when it'll change?" Well, the truth is that clarity is a journey and not a destination and I truly believe that life is in stages and phases, and as such, illumination and clarity might rise to the fore at some certain periods and phases in our lives.
So, my answer is that as you gain clarity into who you are, your unique talents and gifting, as well as the problems you've been wired to solve, you might refine your purpose statement as it fits into that particular stage or phase that you're at. For some, their purpose statements will go through a lot of iterations, and for some, it may last much longer. The most important point, however, is to understand that we're on a journey, and your purpose statement fits into having clarity on that bigger purpose that you serve here on earth.
Cover image credit: Unsplash.