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March 9, 2021

Laying the Foundation for Success: Start with a Personal Mission Statement!

by Jeannet Kiessling, Ph.D.

We all dream big sometimes. Turning a dream into reality is where it gets tricky. Your ideas might vanish into oblivion if you don’t know how to approach the next steps. What differentiates successful people from dreamers? It is their clear focus and precise planning. They usually start with a personal mission statement. Defining where you want to be in 5, 10 or even 20 years, sets a great framework for everything that has to happen in between. 

Think of it as planning a vacation. Let’s say you want to go to Rome. The ancient city is your final destination. You have now excluded all other potential cities to visit. And you can start planning your route to get there. 
Personal mission statements are providing you with the same framework. You define where you want to end up, exclude the numerous other ideas, options, and dreams and start planning your journey to reach your final destination. 

When you write your mission statement, aim high, focus on the big picture. What’s important to you? How do you want to be remembered one day? How do you want others to describe you? What do you want to be known for? Let’s look at some great examples: 

"To make people happy" –Walt Disney
Wow, right? Walt certainly did make people happy. And his legacy is very much alive.
"If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure" –Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla 
Wow, again! Elon set out to be bold in the face of probable failure. But he decided to not let that get in the way. 
Or take the great political leader and social activist Mahatma Gandhi: “I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”
If you ever thought: How could Mahatma Gandhi be so strong in the face of all the odds, here is the answer: he saw it as his personal mission to succeed. 

Are you awestruck in the face of all this greatness and think, can I come up with anything as inspiring as Disney, Musk or Gandhi? The bar is certainly high. But it is always great to learn from the best. Your road to make your dreams come true starts with a clear mission. So, embark on your personal journey today and think about what is really important to you. Be realistic, but also be bold. 
Need one last piece of inspiration? Here comes Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Find out how you can make your personal mission come true and join us at Tomorrow’s Education.

About Jeannet

Jeannet-Susann Kiessling is Head of Business Development U.S. at Tomorrow’s Education. She has worked at the German Defense Ministry as Political Advisor to Minister Volker Rühe, and as Head of the Foreign and Security Policy Department at the CDU. Jeannet has been a speech writer for several high-profile CEOs and VP Corporate Communications at Bertelsmann. She studied at Johns Hopkins and Oxford Universities and received her Ph.D. from the Technical University of Dresden. Together with her husband and 3 kids she lives in Silicon Valley.