In this article, I talk about why creating Personal Mission Statement can help parents and everyone, based on my personal experiences. Writing my Mission Statement enabled me to 1) manage my time more efficiently, 2) enhance my self-respect, 3) find balance in my life, and 4) boost my confidence.
Mission Statement is a brief statement about what matters most to you, reflecting your value and vision. It also works like a compass for you especially when you have to make an important decision of your life. Many companies, as well as individuals, have their own Mission Statement. Here are some examples of Mission Statement:
Ted Talk: Spread Ideas
Coca Cola: To refresh the world
By the way, Your Parentology’s Mission Statement is “To help parents to empower themselves.”
Why I needed my own Mission Statement
I first learned about Mission Statement more than ten years ago from a book titled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Person” by Stephen R. Covey. I was excited about the idea of having Mission Statement, and wrote my own. However, in hindsight, I created an unrealistic, lengthy, and too ambitious statement, which I even don’t remember because it was not useful. I had totally forgotten about Mission Statement until my life with my young children was getting so hectic to the point that I needed a powerful solution.
Finding the purpose and meaning of my life as a parent was one of my first parental challenges. After pursuing high education and intensive professional career as an economist for many years, I had my first child and left my job behind. Without prior experiences with young children and without family support, my parenting experiences started with trial and error, and I had to learn about early child development and build necessary skills from scratch. I was totally worn out by taking care of my incredibly demanding newborn, but had to keep on doing that. Although the time with my baby was precious, I could hardly find the meaning and purpose of my own life other than being a parent. I felt I was isolated from the rest of the world. Everybody looked enjoying their lives and advancing their career.
My Mission Statement that worked
After spending a few years juggling with my young children, I finally recalled the concept of Mission Statement. I had a hope that Mission Statement could increase the effectiveness and meaningfulness of my life. With my life coach’s help, I created my own Mission Statement. This time, it’s short, easy enough to remember, and more realistic. Besides, I clarified my roles under my Mission Statement.
My Mission: I strive to fulfill our potential.
As a parent, I try to promote my children’s healthy growth, imagination, and creativity through encouraging playing; enhance their scientific minds and curiosity; and give unconditional love and support to them.
As a spouse, I support my husband personally and professionally, and always believe in him.
As an individual, I treat myself well and continue to pursue my own dream.
As an economist, I continue to invest my time and energy to brush up my skills as an economist.
Creating my own Mission Statement helped me in the following ways:
1. Managing my time more efficiently
Mission Statement helped me to prioritize my tasks and to make use of my time efficiently. On the top of my priority list as apparent were those tasks and activities that could build up my child’s potential. I valued quality time with my children, talking to them, playing with them, and providing intellectual stimulus. At the time, I no longer hesitated to seek for support to do my less prioritized tasks, such as chores. Indeed, there are a countless number of daily tasks with a young child, such as helping the baby sleep, washing, diaper changes, cooking solid food, feeding, making formula milk, in addition to general chores. Without Mission Statement, I would have totally overwhelmed with the workload as a parent.
2. Enhancing my self-respect
My Mission Statement reminded me of the importance of respecting myself and my own well-being. Indeed, my statement does say “our potential”, instead of “my children’s and spouse’s potential.” So I started to invest for myself and treat me well whenever I could. Parenting is tough. Some of the toughest parts are loneliness, no appreciation from others, and being a 24/7 job, especially when you have young children. In addition, mothers are often expected to totally commit themselves to raising children, which often makes it difficult for mothers to keep their own self-esteem.
3. Finding balance in my life by clarifying my roles.
I used to overemphasize my role as a parent, like many new parents do. As a result, I put pressure on myself, because I felt like being a good parent was the only reason that I exist. If I had continue doing so, that could have caused irreversible and unintended consequences to my entire family.
With my Mission Statement, I was able to better find balance in my life by clarifying my roles as a parent, spouse, and individual. By adding the role as an individual, I made it clear that I am a person who pursue my own dream and profession. By adding a role as a spouse, I also made it clear that I want to further nurture our relationship, rather than focusing too much on my role as a parent.
4. Boosting my confidence
Defining the role as a parent gave me confidence and a clear idea on what kind of parent I wanted to be. Nowadays, there is an overwhelming amount of information about parenting on TV, internet, and magazines, such as “Five ways to calm your fussy baby”, “How to increase your child’s IQ”, and “Three mistakes new parents typically make”. At the early stage as a parent, such information made me feel unsecure about my parenting approach without mature ability to judge each piece of information I obtained. With my Mission Statement, I started to take ownership of my parenting, and was getting more confident about my parenting skills.
In sum, Mission Statement helped me a lot and significantly increased my effectiveness. I believe that writing Mission Statement helps everyone, as well as parents, to enhance their effectiveness and happiness.
An example of Personal Mission Statement that I would suggest…
Are you ready to create your own Mission Statement? Here is my suggestion if you are a mother of two children, entrepreneur, and PTA Chair, while taking care of your own mother who is currently sick:
Mission Statement (example): I bring happiness, health, and prosperity to myself, my family, and others.
As an individual, I treat myself well, try to be honest to my emotion and my own needs, and listen to my inner voice;
As a parent, I provide unconditional support to my grade-schooler and toddler, respect their own wills, and help them to develop;
As a spouse, I wholeheartedly support my husband and further nourish our relationship;
As an anthropologist, I make use of my talents and passion to continue my research in order to shed light on human rights of the socially disadvantaged group;
As a daughter, I support my mother and help her recover from her disease; and
As a PTA chairperson, I strive to manage the organization as efficiently as possible and maximize the results.
Stephen R. Covey (1989), “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Person”
Stephen R. Covey (1994), “First Things First”