Most of the time when I mention a Mission Statement to the warriors that I work with, I get reactions that range from a single raised eyebrow to out loud laughter. I won’t lie, I had the same reaction when it was first mentioned to me. The first thing I pictured was a small group of people sitting around a conference table in suits and ties. Of course, images of the TV show “The Office” kept creeping in. I think the reason that these images take over any discussion of Mission Statements is that we generally associate them with a business model. So how in the world can this possibly apply to us warriors?
During a particularly low point in my life I was introduced to the Personal Mission Statement by someone who has become very dear to me. Of course my reaction was just like yours. I pictured a touchy feely, hand holding session where I would be expected to bare my soul and maybe even cry a little.
Everything about me and my personality fought this image, but at the time I decided to take a closer look at the idea. As I began to research Mission Statements I realized that I had built possibly hundreds of them over the years and never realized it.
In every Military Operations Order and in every Emergency Response Operation Order, I had written a Mission Statement. This realization helped me to “toughen up” the idea and relate it to something I already knew.
While this may seem like a daunting task, break it down into four simple questions.
Who Am I?
What is it that I want to do?
How am I going to do it?
What is the purpose of it?
“Any County Emergency Response Team (ACERT) conducts a dynamic entry (no knock) warrant service at 123 AnyStreet, using standard approved procedures, at 0130 on the 12th of Mar 2009, in order to clear and secure the residence for follow on investigation by the Anytown Police Department.”
Many of you have seen something very similar to this and never pictured lying down on the couch of a doctor or sitting in a circle holding hands while reading the “mission statement.” So what is the difference between this and a “personal mission statement?”
A Personal Mission Statement is a statement of who we are, what we want to accomplish, how we are going to accomplish it and the purpose of it. That sounds a lot more realistic for us. So where do we begin?
First and most importantly, define who you are. Examples:
“I am a Police Officer, the Sheepdog, the defender and protector of my community…..”
“I am Lt. Whomever, a committed leader, an Alpha Dog, the example to my peers, my subordinates and my seniors…..”
Second, define what it is that you are going to do. Be specific. This is your goal. For example:
“I will do everything in my power to protect the lives and safety of my fellow citizens against any harm…..”
“I will live my life in dedication to my officers; I will never cease giving my subordinates the guidance, protection, consistency…..”
Third, explain how you are going to achieve these goals. Again, be as specific as you can. These are the steps that you are going to take to accomplish your goals. For example,
“…by being the best I can be, by identifying my weaknesses and improving, by never giving up…”
“…by dedicating myself to self improvement as a leader, by living the traits of true leadership and by continually…”
And finally, ask yourself “why” and write it down. It’s really as simple as that. I found that an easy way to find the “why” was to preface it with “in order to…” What is the reason or reasons for your mission?
“…in order to provide a safe environment for my children to grow and prosper and a community that is free from the evils that would destroy…”
“…in order to develop my officers into a highly motivated, professional team that is able to face…..”
Creating this personal mission statement will do two things for us as warriors. While working to create the statement, we are forced to really stop and think about who we really are and what we want to do. Putting it into words gives us the opportunity to evaluate the facts and assumptions that we have made about our calling.
Second, when we have written this down and kept it in a safe place with easy access, we have given ourselves the ability to go back and refocus when we need it most.
This does not have to be posted in your office or displayed for the public. Feel free to keep it to yourself if you choose. I suggest using it as your desktop background, or keeping it where you can see it and it will act as a constant reminder of your calling.
Based on your particular situation, there is nothing wrong with placing it where others can see it. Knowing that others have seen and understand your goals is a great method of accountability for you to meet those goals.
Your mission statement can be a paragraph or a page, but be clear and concise. Don’t try to use jargon or fancy “buzzwords”, just focus on the meaning behind the words and make it achievable.
Live your mission statement out every day. This principle can be applied to your professional career, your relationships, your marriage, and your family life; and can provide a purpose and direction.
In order to truly know ourselves, we must look past what others see, and take a hard, honest look at who we are when no one sees. Your Personal Mission Statement is just that, the statement of your purpose and a very personal look at yourself.
Written and Submitted by Corey D Roberts
Officer Corey D Roberts is full time Police Officer and twice deployed combat veteran. Corey is an NRA Law Enforcement Select-fire Instructor and held the positions of Training Officer and Tactical Commander for a Multi-Jurisdictional Emergency Response Team. Corey is also qualified in Police Precision Rifle.