Date: January 10, 2023

The following is adapted from Becoming a Leader of Impact.

We know Starbucks for its variety of drink options, but the chain has been a leader in more than just coffee. They pioneered programs in the 1980s and 90s that were revolutionary, like offering employee benefits and stock options to minimum-wage staff.

To understand why Starbucks would do this, look at their mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” 

From the beginning, the leadership at Starbucks has brought their personal mission to work: to make a positive impact on everyone: consumers, employees, investors, and communities.

A good company mission often springs from the mission of its leaders. So, the question is: do you have a personal mission? If not, this article will help you define one.

Do You Have a Personal Mission?

Many of today’s leaders have a personal mission, but not all. In an assessment done by LeaderImpact, 44% of leaders reported having a deep sense of purpose in all aspects of their lives. Another 43% felt purpose in certain areas, but surprisingly, 21% felt only occasional or no purpose in their lives. 

As a leader, your personal mission will help keep you focused on impact. But if you don’t currently have one, how can you find it?

Many leaders find it easier to create a mission or purpose statement for their companies than for themselves. There’s a lot of pressure to create the “right” one, but don’t worry. Chances are you already have a purpose, you simply need to draw it out of yourself. 

Defining Your Personal Mission

Your personal mission is the goal that keeps you focused and reminds you why you’re alive. It encompasses the things that are most important to you. My mission is to help leaders find true success. Yours might be something entirely different. 

Here are a few pieces of advice as you develop your mission statement: 

  • Don’t try to find the silver bullet or wordsmith it to death. It can change over time.

  • Make sure it reflects you and your heart. This is not about propping yourself up and having a mission that others will admire. Your mission needs to guide and inspire you to be a leader of impact.

  • Own it. If you ask people for feedback on your mission, listen to them for improvements that make sense, but don’t worry if it doesn’t resonate with them. Your mission is not for them. It’s for you. They can have their own, but you need to own yours. 

Keep in mind that this isn’t a homework assignment due on Monday. You should take the time to workshop your mission and make sure it aligns with your ideals and morals. It will act as a compass for you and your company, so get it right. 

Bring Your Mission to Work

Once you define your mission, find ways to carry it into everything you do, including work. This could mean finding ways for your business to support charitable organizations, or leveraging strategies like “buy one, donate one” as a way to give back to your community. 

Allowing employees to be engaged in the cause with you is also a great idea. For example, the organization Food for the Hungry has an impact business program that helps companies bring employees to developing countries, partner with a village, and then engage their network and customers at home to support change. 

Whatever your mission, whether it’s to inspire people, like Starbucks, feed the hungry, or save the environment, embrace it as the source of your motivation. Own it and share your passion. 

When you integrate your mission into your company to bring a deeper meaning to your work, you’ll leave a lasting impact on your employees, your customers, and your communities. 

For more advice on making a significant impact on the world, you can find Becoming a Leader of Impact on Amazon.

Braden Douglas is the founder of CREW Marketing Partners, one of the fastest growing marketing and creative agencies in Canada. Founded in 2007, CREW has won numerous awards for their service and brand leadership. Braden started his career in brand management at Frito Lay and Procter & Gamble, but throughout his life, his passion has been helping leaders make a significant impact in the world. He currently volunteers with LeaderImpact as a member of the Global Advisory Board, where he plays a key role mentoring leaders, speaking, and developing content. Canadian born Braden now lives in Texas, USA with his wife and two kids.


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