The Power of Personal Mission Statements
[Editor’s note: Reggie Bradford lost his courageous battle with cancer shortly after writing this piece.]
Reggie Bradford was a serial entrepreneur, marketing and communications veteran, and global technology executive. More importantly, a husband to Holly and a father to six amazing children. He served as the SVP of the Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem, Oracle’s startup program supporting entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe. Reggie filmed a video based on the importance of personal mission statements and values. You can watch that here.
Most people have mission statements for their business — but not for themselves. However, this is extremely necessary. Creating a personal mission statement has been one of the most powerful forces in my career, and has helped me balance the different elements across all areas of my life.
My statement was inspired by a course that I attended, conducted by the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. At the time, I was in college, about to get an MBA, and was considering changing careers. I needed some direction.
That process of creating my personal mission statement was so valuable that I promised myself to revisit the statement every ten years. And since then I have tried to live out those values every day. The mission statement below is what currently sits on my bathroom mirror:
I will live each day with purpose and positive attitude. I will start and finish with praise, and place God in the middle of all activities and to Him be the glory. I will guard closely my family — I will cherish our time together and instill love and forgiveness and compassion to my children. To my beloved Holly: I will be patient, kind and loving — cherishing each moment, I will try to not worry about tomorrow.
I will be more deliberate in my actions and thoughtful. I will give back first fruits, not just financially, but with my time, and have a much larger impact to be light and salt to the world. At work, I will follow and pursue my passion, I will not settle for comfort sake. I will push myself and the boundaries to “think outside the box” and to think very big. I will do the best with my God-given abilities and never get complacent nor lazy.
I will listen first, and help others and act from a servant leader perspective and act with a sense of purpose and a moral compass. I will put humility first, ego second. I will exhibit Godly character in all that I do. I will surround myself with people of moral character and diverse backgrounds, unlike mine, and embrace the differences. I will use the workplace to change lives and hearts, be a positive role model and a force for good over evil.
To be clear, this is not who I am. This is who I aspire to be. I want people to hold me accountable to this.
Defining Your Values
Because I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer 15 months ago, my personal mission statement has become even more important. It has been a blessing that helps me face adversity with strength, tenacity, and hope. And it has reminded me to be bold, and never let fear get the best of me — in business, or in life.
Since that diagnosis, I have viewed life through a different lens — one that notices and appreciates things that I might have overlooked before. It made me understand and pursue the values in my personal mission statement more fully, more completely. After going public with this diagnosis, it has been amazing to receive all of the support and the prayers. I’ve gotten a much clearer picture of what I mean to people, and how I’ve impacted their lives. I largely think that this is because my personal mission statement has been a guiding force.
Since that diagnosis, I have viewed life through a different lens — one that notices and appreciates things that I might have overlooked before. It made me understand and pursue the values in my personal mission statement more fully, more completely.
— Reggie Bradford
To anyone reading this, I challenge you to write your personal mission statement. Once you write it down, you can make it a reality. Imagine where you’ll be sitting a year from now, who do you want to be? Challenge yourself to new heights. If you let people know who you want to be, and let them hold you accountable, I really think that you’ll undergo a major transformation. Good luck — and Be Bold!