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How about personal mission and vision statements?

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By Francis Ewherido

At the beginning of the year, many people make New Year resolutions. These resolutions are basically dos and don’ts they pencil down to implement during the year to make them better human beings or achieve specific goals.

New Year resolutions have helped some people in turning their lives around for the better; some others go back on their resolutions even before they get started. I guess it comes down to focus, determination, discipline and will power. But beyond New Year resolutions, how about coming up with a personal or family mission and vision statements?

A personal or family mission statement is an embodiment of core values that guide the person or family in both internal and external interactions. It sets short, medium and long term goals and it is far more detailed and more involving than New Year resolutions. “A mission statement is not something you write overnight. It takes deep introspection, careful analysis, thoughtful expression and often times many rewrites (over a long period) to produce its final form.” (Stephen Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People).

Many of us have one form of personal or family mission statement or the other, but it is mainly in unwritten form or not formally documented in a single document. The one I am referring to here is one which has been deliberately and consciously written by you or your family. It is like a written constitution, as against an unwritten constitution, and guides family members in their conduct and affairs. New Year resolutions will be far more effective and easier to implement if they are microcosms of our mission and vision statements.

A vision statement, by the way, states where you want to be at a stated time in the future. Both mission and vision statements are interdependent. The mission statement guides daily conduct while the vision statement projects into the future. I came across the mission statement of a woman, which I subscribe to, seeking to balance family and work in Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Check it out:

I will seek to balance career and family as best as I can since both are important to me. My home will be a place where I and my family, friends and guests find joy, comfort, peace, and happiness…. I will exercise wisdom in what we choose to eat, read, see, and do at home. I especially want to teach my children to love, to learn, and to laugh—and to work and develop their unique talents.

I value the rights, freedom, and responsibilities of our democratic societies. I will be a concerned and informed citizen, informed in the political process to ensure my voice is heard and my vote is counted…

I will always keep myself free from addictive and destructive habits. I will develop habits that free me from old labels and limits and expand my capabilities and choices.

My money will be my servant, not my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and my means. Except for long-term home and car loans, I will seek to keep myself free from consumer debts. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save and invest part of my income. Moreover, I will use what money and talents I have to make life more enjoyable for others through service and charitable giving.

If you ask me, I will say this is a well-thought-out and comprehensive personal mission statement. Our elections are starting in six weeks, and I find the second paragraph apt. Nigerian voters and families, should ensure their voices are heard and their votes are counted. Everywhere you see Nigerians gathered, if they are not discussing sports, they are probably lamenting the prevailing socioeconomic situation.

Let us stop complaining and use our votes to deny incompetent governments and elected officials at all levels continuity; let us vote for change where necessary. Let us not be afraid of change. That is partly what life is about. If the new government is also incompetent, we vote again in four years to effect a change.

Let us also stop those who think governance is for personal aggrandizement and status from getting into elective positions. The Nigerian family has been terribly brutalized; this is no time for complacency, get involved in any way you can in the process that can make the macro impact positively on your micro. No tree is impossible to uproot.

The voter, like the customer, is king. For too long we have been denied our kingship; it is time to claim it, I know it can be claimed, I have seen it claimed before and collectively we can claim it. Real development will only come when our leaders realize we are kings and treat us like kings.

There are many people in government with stolen mandates. We must not allow that to happen this year. It is time to get kicking; it is time to kick some asses. Individual and collective efforts will give the Nigerian people victory.

In deciding who gets your treasured vote, pay more attention to issues than religion and ethnicity. Unnecessary sentiments and tension are being thrown up. Poverty and hardship are blind to ethnicity and religion. Nigeria is a developing country, so we are not even talking about foreign policy or environmental degradation, widespread as it is.

The issues are security of lives and property, unemployment, unstable power supply, poor living standards, lack of potable water, poor and inadequate infrastructure and so on. Are we satisfied with the performance of the various governments at all levels? Could they have done better with the available resource? Have they judiciously utilized available resources? Do those angling to take over have better track records or manifestoes? These are some of the major issues that should determine who gets our votes. Happy New Year.


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