When it comes to personal development, many people use the term mission statement and vision statement interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between the two. While a mission statement describes the way in which you live your life, a vision statement describes how and where you picture yourself in the future.
A mission statement is an individual statement that declares who you want to be, what you want to achieve, as well as the values and principles upon which your life is based. It illuminates your purpose in life and it can be thought of as your personal philosophy. In the television show Star Trek, its five year mission was “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Notice their mission declared what their purpose was, and not where they expected to be in five years.
A vision statement is your depiction of your life in the future. It is a vivid and inspirational description that creates a mental picture of where you ultimately want to be in life. It may be 10 years, 20 years, or even further in the future.
The purpose of a vision statement is to give you direction and focus as you pursue your goals. It becomes the framework for the process of creating your life. It guides your life and helps you make decisions along the way to keep you on the road towards the things that are most important to you.
Since it is difficult to predict the events of your future, your vision statement should change as your life changes. As you grow and experience life, your vision for your future will typically change. Conversely, a mission statement is your purpose in life and is anchored in who you are and usually will not change over the years.
Your mission may be “To live every day with passion, and to appreciate the beauty in life and in others, and to positively change the lives of those around me, and in the end leave the world a better place.” This hopefully will not change as you experience life. However, you may first picture yourself becoming a doctor, but then later in life decide to become a teacher. Even though your vision may change your underlying mission does not.
A vision statement describes what you want to achieve in the future.
A mission statement is based on the present and how you want to go about living your life.
A vision statement answers the question; “How do you see yourself in the future?”
A mission statement answers the question; “How do you want to live your life?”
A vision statement inspires you to set specific goals and accomplish certain things.
A mission Statement guides your daily actions and behaviors.
A vision statement is a passive statement highlighting what you have achieved.
A mission statement is an active statement describing your actions and behaviors of how you live your daily life.
A vision statement is a comprehensive vivid description that creates a mental image.
A mission statement is succinct and easy to remember.
|Describes Present state||Describes Future state|
|Describes how you live your life||Describes where you want to be|
|Focused on your actions, behaviors, beliefs, and values||Focused on what you have accomplished in life|
|Fairly Fixed||Changes as you grow|
|Usually a sentence or two||Usually three to five sentences|
|Inspires how you live your daily life||Inspires you to set specific goals|