At City Year, we have two goals. One is to decrease the high school drop out rate. The other is to produce idealistic leaders who have the skills necessary to create positive change. In order to accomplish both, our corps members go on what is known in City Year as the Idealist’s Journey.
The first step we take in beginning our journey as idealistic leaders is to ask our corps members to craft their own Personal Leadership Mission Statement.
According to the Idealist Journey handbook,
“This brief, clear mission statement will articulate your highest aspirations regarding who you want to be as a leader… Once you clearly articulate your highest aspirations for yourself as a leader, you will be able to hold yourself accountable on a daily basis and push yourself to develop toward your own vision of what you can be. Also, once you have crafted this statement you become a powerful role model for others.”
Essentially, we are asking our corps members to figure out who they want to be as leaders and role models and boil it down into a clear, concise statement. Sounds like a hefty task for only a few sentences, doesn’t it?
To help the corps along, we give them a few guidelines. They include:
- It should begin with the phrase, “As a leader, I…”
- In its final form, it should be no more than 1-3 sentences long.
- It should represent a vision that you could not possibly complete or achieve; this is a mission you will always be working toward, but never arriving at.
- Similarly, it should not include specific tasks or quantifiable goals.
- Finally, your mission statement should be larger than your involvement with City Year.
To give you an idea of an example of a mission statement, mine is:
As a leader, I will inspire others to act through my actions and words, both oral and written. Not only will I constantly seek to challenge myself and develop as a leader, I will support and mobilize others to do the same.
Tomorrow our corps will begin their Idealist’s Journey and we will ask them to craft their personal mission statement. It won’t be easy (mine took me a year to figure out) but it will give clarity and purpose to their leadership as they serve with City Year.
So, what’s your personal leadership mission statement?
Megan Baker, Recruitment Project Leader CYSJ