Creating a Personal/Family Mission Statement

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Yesterday, I talked about how to create a lasting, worthwhile legacy as a man and family. Many people took the next step of “creating a personal/family mission statement.” This can be a daunting, overwhelming task.

Katie and I went through this practice last year. To help us, we each reach through Patrick Lencioni’s book Three Questions for a Frantic FamilyYou can read my review of the book here.

You need to know this up front:

  • This process is incredibly freeing.
  • There is no right or wrong mission statement. It is your life, your family, you get to define it. So don’t compare to others.
  • Lastly, future generations are affected by this statement. This will define how you spend your time, your money, who you are friends with, where you will worship Jesus, etc. Your grandkids will feel the affect of this statement and if you don’t have one.

Why do this?

If you don’t do this, your family and you personally wander around aimlessly. How do you make a decision when both options seem good? Without a mission statement you guess and hope you are right. With a mission statement, decisions become easier. You are also able to evaluate things more clearly.

Let’s get started.

Start by listing all the things that describe your family. Not what you hope your family or life is, but what you really are. What is important to you? What matters most? What things will you fight til the death on? This list should be exhaustive. You are listing everything you can think of.

Now, start paring it down. Are there words that mean the same thing or can be combined? You are looking for about 5 words to describe your family or you personally. You want it to be short enough to fit on a T-shirt so you remember it.

Now that you have your statement comes a great addition that Lencioni calls “The rallying cry.” This is what you is the most important thing for your family to accomplish in the next 2-6 months. Maybe it is debt, a health issue, a learning issue for a child, your marriage. It is, outside of the normal things your family does, the one thing you have to do in the next 2-6 months for your family to go to the next level. Accomplishing this, would mean a whole new ballgame for your family.

One you have your “Rallying cry” what do you need to do to accomplish this? List all the things it will take.

Got it.

Okay, now share it with a close friend or two. This can be incredibly scary. Ask them to listen as you read it and give feedback. Are the words you used to describe your family, what your family is? Do they see a different value system than you do? You want to pick close friends for this.

Once you feel confident, put the mission statement and the rallying cry in a place where you will see it on a regular basis to remind you and keep you on track.

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