12 Personal Mission Statement Examples by Famous People

Your personal mission statement is a way for you to state your mission or assignment in your life. To inspire you to write your personal mission statement, here are 12 personal mission statement examples from famous people – including one controversial example. Borrow from them and adapt them to define your mission.

If you want to play a game – watch the video and see if you can guess who said what.

1 Oprah Winfrey

“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”

In the People interview in the video, Winfrey states, “I have always felt like there was a calling in my life. And I responded to the call. I obeyed the call. I listened.” If you want to write your personal mission statement then listening to what’s calling you into action is great advice.

2 Maya Angelou

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya Angelou’s personal mission statement doesn’t declare a particular outcome, but it does share some values of how to take action in life – passion, compassion, humour, style.

3 Lennox Lewis

“The mission I set out in the beginning – to become heavyweight champion of the world, undisputed, lineal champion – you could say that mission is complete.”

In my view, a mission has a specific outcome. And Lewis confirms that he completed this mission in 1999 when he defeated Evander Holyfield. But many others on this list might be seen as vision statements not mission statements. Read this post if you’re wondering – what’s the difference between a vision and a mission.

4 Mayala Yousafzai

I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated.

This is a clear statement. It sets up a focus – to serve people. And it defines an outcome, ‘every child to be educated’. To craft your personal mission statement start with that opening phrase. Declare that you want to serve people. Then all you need to do is to define who you want to serve (girls, children) and in what way (to be educated).

5 Steve Jobs

We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here?”

I love this. It’s a great quote and a great mission statement. And I’ve heard many people sharing this quote. The implication here is not as a purpose statement. Jobs was not saying, this was our goal. Instead, we can make change happen.

6 Jerry Seinfeld

Being a stand-up is my mission in life; it’s my passion. My ongoing goal is to simply be funny, on my own, in front of a roomful of strangers.

Seinfeld is fortunate that his mission to be a stand-up aligns with his passion. And I like that he was able to translate that into everyday life. He has a professional persona as a stand-up and he can simply be funny whenever and wherever he chooses.

7 Kimball Musk

Community through food is my mission; it’s what I do.

Kimball Musk is Elon’s brother. He is an entrepreneur in his own right with restaurants in South Africa and America. He also is a co-founder of the not-for-profit, Learning Gardens. Plus he currently sits on the Tesla Board.

I love the strength of this personal mission statement. It’s clear and concise. Plus it simply says, ‘It’s what I do’. This hints at being part of his identity and how he sees himself. That’s the ideal aspiration for your mission. You want to become it.

8 Sarah Gavron

It’s my mission in life to put people on the screen who don’t get normally represented.

Sarah Gavron is the film director of the 2015 British historical drama, Suffragette. It’s the story of the women’s suffrage movement in Britain.

9 John Cho

Part of my mission as an actor has been to define what an American is.

John Cho is one of the first Korean American actors to cut through the cultural and business barriers into the mainstream in film and television.

It’s worth comparing the personal mission statements of Sarah Gavron and John Cho. Both take action to fulfil their missions in the film industry but from opposite perspectives. John is in front of the camera whereas Sarah is behind it. John acts to represent his community whereas Sarah puts other people in her films to represent their communities.

It highlights there are two parts to every mission. There is the goal (to represent your community). And the expression, or the way, you will deliver on that (in front of or behind the camera).

10 Twyla Tharp

I had to make an impact on history. I had to become the greatest choreographer of my time. That was my mission. Posterity deals with us however it sees fit. But I gave it 20 year of my best shot.

I love this. It’s a bold mission – to become the greatest of her time. Best of all, she doesn’t judge herself on whether she achieved it or not. As Twyla suggests, someone else can work that out. What she is proud of is the effort she gave – ‘I gave it my best shot.’ This is how you aim high and avoid self-imposed pressure to perform. Instead, aim high and give it your best shot.

11 Ivanka Trump

For me, one of my life’s mission is to disrupt these dated concepts of what it really looks like and means to be a working woman. The expression ‘working man’ is never heard in conjunction. But people still talk about this sort of ‘working woman’, and there’s a bit of negativity to that connotation.

This is the controversial personal mission statement example. If you search for it online you’ll see some love for it and a lot of hate for it.

Where do you sit? Do you love it or hate it? And is your response because of the mission or the person?

I’ve included it here not to validate it. It’s neither a good nor bad example. Instead, it highlights a key point that we all face when we declare our personal mission statement – or any other goal. And that is the gap.

When you declare you want something, it’s because you don’t have it right now. This means there is always a gap between what you have and what you want. In some cases, when you’re declaring this in public – including your friends and family – they will judge you and your ability to achieve it.

My Mission: One Million Views

For instance, when I restarted my YouTube journey three years ago I declared my mission to attract one million views. At the time I had published 11 videos that had attracted less than 150 views in total. A million seemed a mile away. And based on my track record you had every right to laugh at me and question my sanity. Even now, after three years, I have only attracted 25,000 views. That’s good. But it’s still a long way short of one million.

This is the gap. But it’s also the mission. In comparison to a goal which is often short-term, a mission is something you devote your life to. It takes time, effort and attention. And in many cases, there is no guarantee that you will succeed. I know other people have attracted one million views on YouTube. But I don’t know if I can. I think I can. But I haven’t proven I can – yet.

And this is the point of having a personal mission statement. It’s personal. It’s for you. You need to be inspired by it. But other people don’t.

When you craft your personal mission statement, be aware of the gap between where you are starting from and where you want to be. But use that gap to drive your actions to create the life you want and to become the person you want to be.

12 Kathleen Turner

I think my mission is to become the greatest human I can. I know that sounds pompous, but what else do we have?

If you’re unsure where to start in writing your personal mission statement then adopt this one – become the greatest human being you can. And as you take steps on that journey you will refine your focus. Let it emerge through your actions.

More Personal Mission Statement Examples

Which of these 12 personal mission statement examples appealed most to you? Use this as inspiration to write your own.

For me, a mission statement is a type of manifesto – a public declaration of your intention. If you want more manifesto or mission statement examples check out these posts:


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