Most people, whether they have a business background or not, are familiar with a mission statement. Just about every big business has a mission statement that in one sentence or a few sentences boils down how they do business and often what a consumer can expect from them. This statement is meant to hold the company to their highest standards and values. As a physician, you may be wondering why you need a personal mission statement. You may think that your practice or clinic already has a mission statement or that you are not a business of your own.

What Is a Personal Mission Statement?

A personal mission statement is very similar to a mission statement that a business would have in that it creates a directional focus. Think of it as your signpost that tells you which direction you need to turn towards in your career. In a personal mission statement, you are putting your purpose into words that can be shared with others. You probably already have a general idea of what your purpose is for your career, but do you think that others understand your purpose without having a written statement?

Why Does a Physician Need a Personal Mission Statement?

A physician needs a personal mission statement because the process of creating one will cause you to be introspective. It makes you think about what you are looking for in life for you professionally and personally. Creating a good mission statement will make you think about your career now and into the future, and this can help to move you forward in your career.

Does It Impact the Way You Interact With Staff, Colleagues, and Patients?

A personal mission statement can have an impact in the way that you interact with staff, colleagues, and patients in that you have a defined purpose. Your own statement will give you parameters that you should follow in your interactions with others to further your purpose. You can also be more aware of your actions with others after crafting your statement because you can be more aware that others have their own purpose in life with what they want to accomplish.

How Do You Craft a Mission Statement?

A mission statement can seem like a very lofty goal. After all, some of you may be thinking that you are a physician, not a writer. Some companies hire big name consultants at hefty prices to sculpt the perfect mission statement for them. How could you possibly compete with that? Well, the good news is that you really don’t need to be a writer to create the perfect personal mission statement and you don’t have to hire someone to come up with your mission statement for you.

Actually, when it comes to your personal mission statement hiring someone else to create it means that you will miss out on the introspection and thought that goes into crafting this statement. You may have a coach who guides you through the process, but they should not be writing your personal mission statement. There is a lot to be learned about yourself, and where you want to go in your profession that would be missed out on if you allow someone else to do this for you.

One of the first things that you can do when creating your own personal mission statement is to do some research online on what other mission statements look like. Your mission statement doesn’t need to copy or mimic any of these statements that you find online, but it can give you some guidelines as to what you should think about having in your own mission statement.

After you have taken some time to research these, start thinking about your purpose in you career and in your life. What direction do you see your career taking? What do you take pride in doing? Free write in a journal or a word document just to get some general ideas as to what you want to include in your mission statement. This doesn’t mean you need to write your final statement in a one and done fashion, but just jot your ideas down. Then, you can create a few statements to find the one that you like the best.

To determine which one works the best for you, there are some criteria you can ask yourself if it covers. You should decide if it is practical and achievable. You don’t want something that is over-the-top ambitious or too general. You have to determine if your statement is shareable in that others will understand what you are saying with it. Finally, although this isn’t technically a goal, you need to decide if it is measurable. Have you created a mission statement where you can see yourself hitting the marks in the future?

As a physician, you are always searching for the best ways to deliver the best care to your patients and to improve your career. Think of a personal mission statement as your personal guidepost for what you need to achieve your goals of always improving. Crafting a mission statement will give you a plan of action that you can continue to uphold and grow toward as you move forward.