Focus on You in 2016: Write Your Personal Mission Statement

by Paul Miller on January 5, 2016

Mission-Statement-For-Your-Jewelry-Store-430x350As attorneys, we give so much of our time and energy to others. So much so that we leave little, if any at all, time for ourselves. Many of us have different reasons for starting our own law firms, but we all have at least two things in common. We all in some way or another want to help others; and we also face a great risk of becoming burned out from our profession.

As time goes on people and institutions demand a continuous multitude of things from us. Our families, the courts, and our clients, all require some of our time, and we often respond by working longer and longer hours, which results in giving up a lot of things. We do this because of our nature to help others. We slowly begin to put other people’s needs ahead of our own, which leads to loss of self-worth and eventual burn out.

A personal mission statement will help you stay focused, and give guidance, about what is important to you in your life. It’s a way to focus your energy, actions, decisions, and behaviors towards the things that are most important to you.

A personal mission statement need only be one sentence long. I recommend keeping it short so that you will be able to recite it to yourself as you go throughout your day. It’s a powerful tool for you to use to help you maintain you mental and emotional well being.

To create your personal mission statement, find a place that is free of distractions, and begin to think only of yourself. Think of the three things that you desire most out of life. Don’t be materialistic. Remember, it has to be about you, so being a good husband, or a good mother doesn’t cut it, because in those instances you are doing those things for others. Think of you, and only you. I know this can be a challenge for many of us, since so much of our life is spent in the service of others. It can be difficult, and refreshing to put you on the top of the list for once.

Next, think about two positive behaviors, character traits, and values that you hope to achieve by doing the three things you just wrote down. In other words, where will you be, emotionally, spiritually, and/or will you feel secure.

It may help if you think about two people that you personally know, who you believe are exemplars of behaviors, character traits, and values that you hope to achieve and create a list of their traits and behaviors. This will assist you in focusing in on those qualities.

Finally, you need to decide upon a group of people, organization, or institution that is your cause. Think of a principle, aim, or movement that, because of your deep commitment, you are prepared to defend or advocate for.

This cannot be about your family, your business, your anything or whatever; this has to be something you truly believe in because of the principal of the thing, not because you’re going to make bank.

You are done. Now string them all together in a sentence.

Even though there are many ways to write a personal mission statement, I prefer the simple; 3 desires, 2 traits, and 1 cause. It’s easy to write.

Your personal mission statement should read something like this:

My personal mission in life is first desire, second desire, third desire, so that I will be first trait, second trait, for/while/to one cause.

Having a personal mission statement that is simple to recite and remember will keep you focused on the most important person in your law firm. It will serve as a reminder throughout your day to take care of yourself and what’s important to you.

I created my personal mission statement a few years ago and it has been a guiding light for me in many small and big decisions. It provides me with a gut check, especially when it comes to clients.

I challenge you to write a personal mission statement in the next week. You, your family, your friends and your business will be glad you did.

Paul Miller is a sole practitioner located in Denver whose primary focus is estate and business planning. He can be contacted at paul@pmillerlawoffice.com


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