Writing a Personal Mission Statement

I always preach to my students that research should be a discovery mission. If you only set out to prove one particular fact or support one particular viewpoint, not only are you missing out on the deeper complexities of an issue but you may be missing far more interesting or applicable information for your life. I could go on about the Filter Bubble created through niche marketing, algorithms, and seeking information through social media spheres, but I have already written exhaustively about this topic in my dissertation. Today is about mission statements.

My Google search began with how to better define my blog and what I hope to do here, aside from fulfill a 30-day challenge. In my new media writing class, my students fill out rhetorical situation questionnaries about their imagined audience, their topic stance, etc. However, I was interested in finding something more like a mission statement. What I found was a New York Times blog about creating a personal mission statement. Tara Parker-Pope quotes Stephen Covey, who refers to a personal mission statement in 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, as “defining the personal, moral and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself.”

Parker-Pope then lists the common questions asked within the Corporate Athlete Program. I think the questions will be a great warm up to my challenge/habit driven semester. So to prepare, I will answer the questions given myself.

■ How do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered for making a difference and changing lives, whether it be through my teaching, writing, altruistic acts, or parenting.

■ How do you want people to describe you?

Big-hearted, humorous, inspiring, and creative.

■ Who do you want to be?

I want to be someone who lives up to my full potential and fulfills the expectations of both myself and of the people in my life.

■ Who or what matters most to you?

My family matters the most.

■ What are your deepest values?

My deepest values mirror my previous answers. I value purpose-driven work, kindness, personal expression, and laughter.

■ How would you define success in your life?

Success is making the world a better place through your decisions and actions.

■ What makes your life really worth living?

Making others feel good, empowered, inspired, and loved.

I think if I use this for my opening class I would have students choose three that they can write a full paragraph (five or more sentences) about. The questions overlap a bit, so I do not think it is necessary to answer them all, but it is still a good exercise. These questions would also work well for brainstorming This I Believe essays.

I thought I would escape the classroom with this blog. Instead, I took down the walls.


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