The month of October marks 25 years since Dr. Stephen R. Covey launched The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, introducing new paradigms and revisiting principles that have impacted the way people and organizations worldwide pursue personal and organizational effectiveness. For 10 of the 20+ years I’ve been with FranklinCovey, I worked directly with Dr. Covey at Covey Leadership Center and what an honor it was. Dr. Covey was a human being, a fun and funny man, and I can attest that this man walked the talk; every action and every word was grounded in the principles of the 7 Habits.
One of the most profound aspects of The 7 Habits was the charge to create a personal mission statement, a central teaching of Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. For many of the 25 million people who have read The 7 Habits – myself included – their personal mission statements have helped to define their lives. Uncovering one’s personal mission—more a process than an event—allows each of us to align our priorities with our purpose in life.
I personally feel so strongly about mission statements and their positive influence in one’s life that as an adjunct faculty member at a local university where I teach the 7 Habits, the mission statement is the central focus of the course. Most of my students have not paid the price of discovering their life’s purpose but they soon learn that a personal mission statement, a life purpose, is inherently within each of us.
Most students come to college with goals but those goals have no meaning and purpose behind them other than “to get a job do I can pay the bills.” I believe that this lack of vision contributes greatly to why we see a high percentage of students who don’t graduate. I’ve never seen a study on it but I think it would be very interesting to know of those students who graduate from college, how many had written mission statements. And of those drop-outs, the same question. I would wager that most who graduate do have some kind of written mission statement. I know that for my students, defining their life mission is an incredibly rewarding experience and a blinding epiphany. They are ecstatic about what they can and will do. And it’s hugely rewarding for me as a teacher to be part of that journey.
So, in honor of Dr. Covey’s legacy we commemorate his birthday, October 24, as the Dr. Stephen R. Covey Mission Statement Renewal Day. I encourage you to take the time within the next few weeks to reflect on your personal mission statements or to create one, if you have not yet done so.
To help you in revisiting your own mission statement, FranklinCovey has created a complimentary online mission statement builder -- the most visited feature of our website.
I'd love to hear from you about the significance of the personal mission statement in your life.