You Need a New Mission Statement


A mission statement is not exclusively a motivational motto for a company. I suggest that you apply the same kind of thinking to your personal mission in work and in life as well.

A mission statement is an inspirational way of describing the meaning, purpose, goals, and values of an organization. Based on the exercises you have done to reframe various aspects of your life and career so far, how would a mission statement describe the way you want to see yourself going forward from this point on?

Check out Strategy #5: Reframe Your Mission

In formulating your mission statement, start by thinking about why you want to reinvent your career. While most people would probably talk about achieving meaning, purpose, and income beyond traditional retirement, you may be motivated by a specific desire to serve others in a particular way or to express a particular talent or skill that has been previously underutilized in your life.

Your mission statement should distinguish the new you from the way you have lived up until now. So reflect on the difference and embody it in the mission statement. Be specific about the career focus that you are looking for, and include the kind of work-life balance you are trying to achieve. If any of these elements changes down the road, you can always revise the mission statement.

Your mission statement should inspire you to keep pursuing your reinvention journey despite obstacles and setbacks. You will have some challenging days ahead as you continue to clear material from the past and work at planning out your future career. You’re going to want to be able to read your mission statement on those days and reconnect to your values and to the validity of your mission. If the mission statement starts to lose its motivational effect, then you need to go back and revise and update it to reflect what is now energizing you.

Don’t feel as if you have to capture your mission in one sitting. Keep the draft handy and work on it whenever you feel motivated or an “Aha!” moment strikes.

Share your mission statement with trusted family and friends to see how it resonates with them. Seek feedback on making it more specific, more reflective of your mission, and more inclusive. You want to make sure that it covers and encapsulates all of your top priorities.

Here are a couple of examples of possible mission statements:

“I am continuing to earn income and achieve true balance in my life by launching my home-based business as a virtual assistant in the financial services sector, putting my decades of organizational and managerial experience as a broker to work in a new way for clients all over the world.”


“My franchise retail business leverages my decades of corporate marketing expertise, creating a successful stream of revenue and an inviting experience for my customers, and enabling me to build a small team of loyal employees who reflect my values and share my goals for the business.”

Having worked through the Reframing step doesn’t mean that you have to know the solution to your problem or what your reinvented career is going to look like. There’s plenty of room ahead to figure that out. Just acknowledging that some of your old ways of thinking about things no longer work puts you ahead of the curve. Just seeing that the old way is only one of many possible options rather than a universal and eternal truth gives you a major head start in reimagining who you are . . . and making the new you a reality.


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John Tarnoff is a career transition coach, speaker and best-selling author who helps late-career professionals transition to meaningful second-act careers beyond traditional retirement.

Following a successful career as a Hollywood film executive and tech entrepreneur, he reinvented his own career at 50, earning a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology to focus on professional development and training.

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