Directing a business, a project, or even your own career can be an uphill battle if you lack a central point of focus and purpose.
What do you hold onto when priorities seem muddled? How do you lead your team toward shared goals? How do you assure clients that you’re on the same page as them?
That’s what a well-crafted and clearly defined purpose statement is for.
Whether you’re drafting a purpose statement for personal development, a project, or a business, this guide is made for you. Dive in to get a sharper understanding of what a purpose statement is and how to write one — plus, inspiration from insightful examples.
What are purpose statements?
A purpose statement or vision statement explains your “why.” It helps others understand why you do what you do.
However, a purpose statement isn’t just about setting goals or making plans — it’s also about giving those goals and plans real meaning. It’s what adds soul to the process.
There are three main kinds of purpose statements: personal (for you), project (for a specific task), and business (for a company). Each of these is crafted to address the unique needs, challenges, and aspirations of its particular area, but they all share the same aim: to bring about clarity, direction, and motivation.
Personal purpose statement
A personal purpose statement highlights what drives you, your goals, and what you truly care about. It covers not only where you want to go but also why you want to go there and the principles you’ll honor along the way.
A personal purpose statement has transformative power, bringing clarity to the chaos, direction amid distractions, and an unwavering foundation when life’s storms hit.
A helpful tip to help you craft your purpose statement is to reflect on moments in the past when you felt most fulfilled or when you made a difference, no matter how small.
With a personal vision statement, every choice and step you take is anchored to something bigger. Crafting one can improve your quality of life, filling your days with purpose, depth, and contentment.
Project purpose statement
A project purpose statement includes a clear declaration of the intent and goals of a project. It provides detailed information about the project objectives, the method that will be used to achieve them, and the values the project aspires to uphold.
Clearly defined objectives lay out the expected outcome of the project. Whether it’s the development of a new software solution or the unveiling of a new product line, these objectives need to be communicated so everyone involved has a clear understanding of what to aim for.
The method, or the plan of action, is where the project scope is defined. The scope outlines the specific steps, the extent of the work to be done, and the limits of the project. Defining the project scope helps manage expectations and ensures that resources are used efficiently and the project remains on track.
Values serve as the ethical cornerstone of a project. They set the guiding principles for decision-making so that the project upholds its integrity in the face of challenges.
One of the main benefits of a project purpose statement is its ability to bring clarity and alignment, which increases team engagement. In fact, 78% of adults are more likely to want to work for a company that leads with purpose. A project purpose statement ensures all involved stakeholders are on the same page, which is essential for building trust and motivating team members.
Business purpose statement
A business purpose statement defines a company’s core values, goals, and mission. It goes beyond profit margins and product lines to capture the overarching ethos and culture that the business champions.
A business purpose statement is instrumental in integrating strategies for team collaboration. Having a clear vision and values ensures that everyone in the company, regardless of their position, shares the same objectives. This unified approach fosters a more cohesive, efficient, and motivated work environment in which everyone feels they are contributing to a shared goal.
Moreover, when a company is clear about its purpose, this resonates with customers. Notably, 71% of consumers prefer to buy from a company with a strong purpose.
Purpose statement vs. value statement vs. mission statement
“Purpose statement,” “value statement,” and “mission statement” are common buzzwords in the workplace. But how do they differ? Let’s take a quick look at each of them, using the golden arches of McDonald’s as our guide.
A purpose statement addresses the reason a company exists. It is the driving force for what a company hopes to ultimately achieve. McDonald’s purpose is “to feed and foster communities,” which emphasizes its commitment to not just serving food but also positively impacting communities.
A mission statement is about the present moment and how the company operates day-to-day to fulfill its purpose. It’s more specific and action-oriented than the purpose statement. McDonald’s mission, “Making delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone,” shows that its daily objective is to provide enjoyable and convenient meals.
A value statement articulates the principles and beliefs that guide a company’s actions and decisions. It represents the company’s core ethics.
Here is McDonald’s value statement:
Serve: We put our guests and people first.
Inclusion: We open our doors to everyone.
Integrity: We do the right thing.
Community: We are good neighbors.
Family: We get better together.
These values outline the principles that dictate how Mcdonald’s conducts business and interacts with stakeholders.
Purpose statement examples
Ever stumbled upon a phrase or slogan from a brand that made you nod in agreement or even see the company in a new light?
That’s the power of an inspirational purpose statement. Looking at purpose statement examples is like window shopping for ideas and inspirations. It can guide you in finding your own words and direction.
Moreover, reading the purpose statements of businesses you admire can help you consider your own priorities and goals.
Personal purpose statements
A personal purpose statement offers a clear view of what fuels your passion and shapes your choices. Merging this clarity into your work can lead to more meaningful experiences and connections.
Here are some examples:
- “I am committed to maximizing my daily output and making the most of my day doing productive tasks.”
- “Building bridges, not walls, in teamwork is my mantra; I believe in harnessing collective strength through collaboration.”
- “Every challenge is a stepping stone, and I aim to achieve success by facing every obstacle head-on.”
- “Clear, open, and effective communication is the foundation of all my interactions, as I value clarity and mutual respect.”
- “I prioritize meaningful relationships, nurturing trust, understanding, and growth in every personal and professional connection.”
Why are personal purpose statements effective?
These statements provide clear direction and intent. They’re concise yet powerful because they convey the individual’s core values and principles in each respective domain.
Project purpose statements
A project purpose statement explains the core objectives and values of your initiative. It paves the way for more structured, impactful, and meaningful outcomes.
Here are some guidelines for writing your statement:
- Productivity: “Our goal is to work smarter and boost our daily output by 20% by optimizing existing workflows.”
- Delivery: “We aim to deliver our products on time, making sure 95% of our orders get to our clients when promised.”
- Time management: “With meticulous planning and execution, we will reduce turnaround time by 15%.”
- Teamwork/collaboration: “Our project should include the contributions of every team member, leading to a collective achievement of our goals.”
- Innovation: “To drive forward-thinking solutions in the 21st century, we will push the boundaries of what’s possible and encourage continuous improvement.”
Why are project purpose statements effective?
When employees understand a project’s value, they feel a heightened sense of purpose and are more committed.
Business purpose statements
A well-written business purpose statement inspires trust, loyalty, and motivation within not just the team but also customers. Sixty-three percent of employees say that they feel motivated in companies that clearly define and communicate value to customers.
Take a look at these real-world examples:
- Satisfying customers: Amazon’s vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Business values: Patagonia believes in “building the best product, causing no unnecessary harm, and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
- Taking care of employees: Starbucks promises “to nurture and inspire the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Commercial success: Apple aims “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.”
- Innovation: Tesla, the pioneer of electric vehicles, is on a mission “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Why are purpose statements effective?
Purpose statements like these resonate deeply with both employees and consumers. With 66% of consumers factoring in a business’s purpose during purchase decisions, clear objectives and values hold great sway.
How to utilize purpose statements
While crafting a powerful purpose statement is important, you need to weave it into the very fabric of your organization to maximize its impact. It’s not enough to simply have a purpose statement — the real magic happens when it’s applied and practiced daily.
As we dive deeper into this section, we’ll explore practical ways to breathe life into your purpose statement and make it a tangible force that drives your business.
Using personal purpose statements
Personal purpose statements can give you daily motivation and guidance in the workplace. Here are some strategies you can implement to integrate your personal purpose statement into your professional life:
1. Mindful morning rituals
Win the morning, win the day.
Start your day off by reflecting on your purpose statement. Use Motion to set a recurring reminder each morning, prompting you to read and meditate on your statement. This practice will help set the tone for the day and align you with your core purpose.
2. Task prioritization
Every task carries its own weight and significance. So move the ones that align most closely with your purpose statement to the top of your to-do list.
Motion can help you automatically prioritize your daily tasks based on your goals so you’re consistently focused on what matters most to you.
3. Reflective reviews
At the end of the week, use Motion to track and review the progress you’ve made. This is an easy way to reflect on your accomplishments and assess how they fit into your personal purpose statement. It not only gives you a sense of achievement but also provides insights into areas that need improvement.
Using project purpose statements
Having a well-defined project purpose statement and integrating it into the way you manage your teams, tasks, and workflows can help you stay aligned with your core purpose.
Seventy percent of employees say that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. This makes an effective project purpose statement essential for getting your team on board and improving their sense of purpose.
Here are some strategies you can use to integrate a purpose statement into your projects:
1. Frequent reiteration
At the beginning of each meeting or brainstorming session, revisit the project’s purpose statement. A brief reminder can keep everyone focused and on track.
2. Visual displays
Incorporate your purpose statement into project documentation, dashboards, or even as a pinned note in a collaboration tool.
For example, Motion lets you attach documents, spreadsheets, pictures, and more to a project or task. Having your project purpose statement visible can serve as a constant touchstone on which to base your decision-making.
3. Communication alignment
Leverage communication tools, like Motion, to announce your purpose statement and gather feedback.
Open and public communication ensures that everyone understands and buys into the purpose, fostering a collective commitment.
Using business purpose statements
Implementing an effective business purpose statement means aligning all employees, directing the company, and sharing the vision with clients and potential customers.
Consider the following strategies to integrate your business’ purpose statement:
1. Employee onboarding and training
From day one, introduce new hires to the company’s purpose statement. Make it a central part of their onboarding orientation.
Use Motion’s meeting assistant to schedule regular training sessions with the team. Doing this can help emphasize your business purpose statement’s significance and help everyone uphold it.
2. Marketing and branding
Your external communications, whether advertising, PR, or social media, should reflect your purpose statement. This not only attracts customers that agree with it but also reinforces your commitment to it. Once it’s out in the open, there’s an added responsibility to consistently deliver on it.
3. Regular feedback
Set aside times during quarterly or annual reviews to revisit the purpose statement. Encourage feedback on how well it’s being integrated, and identify where improvements can be made. This process helps refine its application over time.
Motion helps you realize your purpose
A strong, clear, and tailored purpose is essential to have at every level.
With tools like Motion, you can ensure that your purpose statement comes to life in your everyday life and professional life, projects, and every aspect of your business.
If you can remember your priorities, integrate them into your actions, and communicate them clearly, your purpose statement can be your true North Star.
At Motion, our purpose is to empower individuals like you to navigate the complexities of life with confidence and clarity. We believe that everyone has the potential to achieve greatness, and it starts with harnessing the power of productivity.
Put your purpose statement into action by signing up for our 7-day free trial.