A lifelong goal of mine has been to develop a one-page personal and professional planning tool for individuals. In my latest book, “Tech Leadership 4.0”, written with my friend and colleague, Michael Anleitner, we present the latest rendition of the tool. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KWnB5xEjJkjw8AOof9x7uUm5VhC7lTE1/view?usp=sharing
I’d like to give a special thanks to Mike who has helped me develop the planning tool for the past decade. Also thanks to Ivy Lewis who created the video which explains how to use the tool.
Although we’d love to have you buy the book, it is not necessary to be able to start using the tool yourself. If, by chance, you have used the planning tool before, we would welcome your feedback. Furthermore, if you need help with the tool please feel free to contact me through my email.
Below please find directions for one important part of the plan: Writing a Personal Mission Statement.
Remember our principles of leadership?
- Great leaders share a passion: They want to make a difference in the world.
- Great leaders constantly strive to strike a balance between work and the other realms of their lives.
What is your passion? What is the difference you want to make? Define where you are going in a personal mission statement.
When engineers think of action, they think about doing something that affects the world around them. This often involves manipulating the natural environment in a way that makes life easier, more pleasant, more entertaining, or all of these at once.
How broad can this be? Henry Ford saw his mission as bringing personal mobility and a better life to the rural farm boys he grew up with. Bill Gates sought to apply computers to improve business and personal lives in fundamentally new ways. Elon Musk wants to push technology and business to the limits of physics.
A real mission is usually so big that it’s rarely finished. It’s also an ongoing effort. It isn’t just a goal to be achieved. It is more like an expedition – a lifelong trek with an end result that is off in the distant future. Some—probably most—missions can never be completed. Like the Starship Enterprise, with its “continuing mission to explore strange new worlds” the excitement is in seeking and confronting challenges, not in reaching a finish line.
A mission isn’t something you make up. To answer the big question, think about what you have been doing all along. Whether you know it or not, you probably have been on a mission already. It may be tied to your work or to some other arena of life.
Rob and Mike have each defined their mission.
For Rob, his daily professional activities are dominated by a simple theme:
“My mission is to make the world a better place by helping individuals and organizations reach their full potential. I know those are vague terms and the goal is large and immeasurable. Yet, for my whole life, this is what I have been about. It was my mission even before I could conceptualize the notion of a mission.”
Mike’s mission is somewhat different, but related, and has been evident in his role as a globe-trotting engineer trying to help people and organizations become more efficient and effective:
“I want to improve companies and build prosperity for people throughout the world. When individuals feel successful and have better material lives, humanity is less likely to engage in threats, violence, and warfare. I understand that this is ultimately unattainable, but over my lifetime I’ve slowly realized that this idea is central to whatever I have done in my career. We’re all better off when we’re all a bit richer.”
Here are some questions to help you figure out your personal mission statement:
- What am I here on Earth to do?
- What have I been passionate about since I was a young adult?
- What decisions have I made that were affected by my passions?
- What have I accomplished to advance my mission?
- What have I chosen not to do because it conflicted with my passions?
Take some time to consider these questions and then, again, write down your personal mission statement.