More Exercises that May Help You Develop Your Mission Statement

Please make sure you’ve first read the article, Using a Personal Mission Statement to Chart Your Career Course, as well as attempted some of these personal mission statement exercises.

Adapted from works by Laurie Beth Jones [LBJ] and Richard Leider [RL].

Gifts, Dreams, Sorrow, Unlived Lives (LBJ)

  • What were your parents’ unlived lives? Do you know what their dreams were? Write them down.
  • Have their unlived lives affected or influenced you? If so, how?
  • Picture yourself standing in a room. One by one, the following people come up to you, look into your eyes, and hand out a gift. What is it?
    • -Father (or father figure)
      -Mother (or mother figure)
      -Spiritual leaders(s)
  • The same people also hand you a cup filled with something that caused them sorrow, pain or concern. What is in the cup of pain or sorrow that each person hands you?
  • Which cups of sorrow are you unwilling to drink?
  • Which cup are you willing to drink, or have you been drinking from?
  • Which of the gifts that were given to you have you chosen to use?
  • Which of the gifts that were given to you have you chosen not to use?

Prophesies (LBJ)

  • Write down a positive prophecy someone gave you about yourself. It could be recent or from years ago.
  • Who was the messenger?
  • Has the prophecy come to pass?
  • Could it still?
  • Can you recall a negative prediction someone gave you that actually become fuel for you?

Discovering What Moves You (RL)

  • If you were asked to create a TV special about something that movies you, what would it be about?
  • What magazines intrigue you most at a newsstand? What sections or articles most catch your attention?
  • If you started a business or organization to solve a need, what would it be?
  • What issue would you like to see someone write a bestselling book about?
  • What subjects would you like to learn about? Go back to school for? Study for a master’s in?
  • In the past year, what were your favorite causes? What interests do they reflect?
  • Who are the people you find yourself voluntarily getting together with, again and again, for deeper discussions? What are your deepest discussions about?
  • How would you use a gift of a million dollars if it had to be given away or designated for a cause, issue, or problem that moves you?
  • Is there any need or problem you believe in so strongly you’d love to work at it full-time if you were paid well to do it?

Finding Your Gifts (LBJ)

  • People say, “Oh, you are so good at____________.”
  • Write down a list of no fewer than 20 talents you have been given. Pretend that you will be given a $1,000 bill for each talent you list.
  • Which of these talents have you buried?
  • Which talents have you multiplied?
  • Whom are you blaming for your talents being buried?

Identifying Your Passion (LBJ)

  • What excites you in or about the world?
  • What angers you in or about the world?
  • If you could teach three things to others about what excites you in the world, what three things would you teach?
  • If you could convey to others three things about what angers you in the world, what you convey?
  • How can you use what most excites you to affect what most angers you? List at least 10 ways.

Finding Your USP — Unique Selling Proposition (LBJ)

  • What did you do for fun when you were a child?
  • What were your favorite toys?
  • Your favorite games?
  • Do you remember anything that came particularly easily to you as a child?
  • What did you tell people you were going to do or be when you grew up?
  • Are you being or doing anything that resembles that dream now? If so, what? If not, why not?

Envisioning (LBJ)

  • Who is living the life you most envy?
  • Describe what you think that life is like?
  • Who is doing the kind of work you most wish you could be doing?
  • Describe what this work life is like.
  • If you had only six healthy months left to live, what would they look like?
  • What do you want more of -in your relationships?
    -in your work?
  • What do you want less of
  • -in your relationships?
    -in your work?

  • Describe in detail your ideal work setting.
  • Describe in detail your ideal work day.
  • Describe in detail your ideal co-workers.
  • If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life?
  • What would you do if you were 10 times bolder: -in your primary live relationship?
    -in school/on campus?
    -in your work setting?
    -in your community?
    -in your family?
    -in your place of worship?
  • Imagine it is Monday morning, 9 a.m., three years from now:
    -Where are you?
    -What are you doing?
    -Who are you seeing?
    -What are you wearing?
  • It is noon, the same day: -Who are you going to see?
    -Where are you going for lunch?
  • It is now Sunday, 6 p.m.: -Where are you?
    -What are you doing?
    -Who are you seeing?
    -What are you wearing?
  • You are now a very old person, walking with a school child, who asks you, “What are you most proud of in your life?”
  • You are about to die. What did you accomplish before you left?
  • As a result of your having lived, three things have changed or shifted in the world. What are they?

Laurie Beth Jones is the author of The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life.

Richard J. Leider is the author of The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life and Work.

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