I have always been surrounded by teachers, mentors, and family who encourage me to think about who I am, where I am, and where I want to be. I am thankful for these people because without them I would not be who I am today; a person of integrity who is goal oriented, a fearless musician, and a self-motivated entrepreneur in the music industry. However, as I am slipping further into adulthood I am feeling pulled in a million different directions, and it has become increasingly difficult to remain focused on what is truly important to me in my career. The assertion of my goals and the creation of a personal mission statement has helped me find clarity in an otherwise confusing and increasingly complicated world.
What is a personal mission statement?
A personal mission statement is a couple of sentences (at most) that defines who you are to yourself and to others. A couple of famous mission statements are:
Google: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”*
Chipotle: “Food with integrity.”*
You can easily figure out what each of these companies aim for from their mission statements. Also, the creation of a mission statement will help businesses stay on track - they can ask themselves if what they are currently doing is reflective of their mission statement. If not, the project needs to be altered (or scrapped), or the mission statement needs to be altered.
Why create a personal mission statement?
To develop into the kind of musician you dream of being, you need to think of yourself as a small business. Who do you want to be? How are you going to get there? Are you working towards that goal today? These are questions that you need to be asking yourself, and if you do not have an answer for any one of these, a serious brainstorming session is needed! Reach out to people who are doing what you want to do and ask them how they got there. Seriously! Do it! More often than not, they will be flattered and happy to offer advice.
Also, just like the example above about the businesses checking their projects against their mission statement, creating a mission statement will help you pull through when the going gets tough. Maybe a dry spell on gigs, or a period of writer's block has reared its ugly head? Take a moment to examine your personal mission statement and figure out what you can do to proactively alter your situation.
How to create a personal mission statement:
1) Begin by identifying your past successes, and what has made you the most happy in your career so far. Jot these ideas down.
2) What are your core values? Personally? Musically?
3) Outline your goals. Shoot for the moon, the only limitations that exist are the ones you create for yourself. Think of the old adage "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right!"
4) Jot down what you know about reaching your goals. How/what are you practicing each day to get there? What have others who have come before you done to get there? This is an opportunity for you to find and fill holes in your current methodology.
5) Begin drafting your personal mission statement. You may start out with an entire page of material, but remember this should be one or two sentences that you can draw inspiration from each day. Edit your draft down until you have something personal, meaningful, and memorable.
Your personal mission statement is, well, personal. We all experience direction changes throughout our lives, and your mission statement will have to be reviewed and updated from time to time. Always seek advice from others, but you are the only person who is capable of being you, so you have the final say. What is my personal mission statement? You've already read it - in the first paragraph. "Matthew Anklan is a person of integrity who is goal oriented, a fearless musician, and a self-motivated entrepreneur in the music industry."
Thank you, and good luck!
*From Forbes.com, accessed on 12/11/14. http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2013/05/17/whats-your-personal-mission-statement/