Creating a Personal Mission and Vision Statement

Over three decades ago, I’m not sure who suggested I add a personal statement to my curriculum vitae, but I’m sure it was somebody very smart, whose opinion I really respected and was probably doing what I wanted to do with my career. As time went on, and my career changed, my personal statement changed. In my early years, I was committed to providing the best care I could for the patients who trusted me with their well-being. As time went on and I evolved, and as an owner of a medical practice, my mission expanded, not only in commitment to my patients but to our employees, as they depended upon the success of the practice for their livelihood. When I started teaching in addition to serving as medical director for rural health clinics, my personal statement changed yet again, to focus on community, public health, and preserving our rich osteopathic heritage.

In all these cases, my personal statement summarized, in one or two sentences, commitments to osteopathic medicine, my family, my community, and myself. After retiring, I did create a new personal statement for my “retirement CV”. My personal statement included a commitment to leadership within our Osteopathic profession as well as volunteerism. As my tenure in POMA leadership winds down, and now, nearly three years after retiring from full-time practice and teaching, it was time to reevaluate my personal statement.

Over the past several months, the POMA board has been working on revising our mission statement and crafting a vision statement by which the POMA conducts all of its activities. Using tools I learned in that process, I thought it would be appropriate to write my own personal mission statement and vision statement. The following definitions are extrapolated for personal focus (replacing organization with individual) from the Society of Human Resource Management. The original descriptions can be found on their website.(1)

 A mission statement is a concise explanation of an individual’s reason for existence. It describes the individual’s purpose and its overall intention. The mission statement supports the vision and serves to communicate purpose and direction to the individual.
A vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the individual wishes to achieve. It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge the individual.

It took me a while, especially since everything I focused on up to this point in time was primarily concerning my profession, certainly my family, and an occasional other individual. After participating in the Mentor Committee’s retirement webinars, I was enlightened. Several of the panelists had planned retirements, where they scaled back on their clinical practices. Some just weren’t quite ready for their “planned” retirement and extended their working years a bit longer. Still, a few others found themselves in a situation where they were forced to retire from their medical practice – abruptly. One theme repeatedly resonated: with as busy as we were and as important and all-consuming as our professions are, for our own personal well-being, (and the sanity of those around us), we should consider retiring to something else. Many of my retired colleagues have a side hustle, some are pursuing creative pathways, and still, some are doing quite a bit of volunteer work. As for me? I’ve got my work cut out for me. I have a very succinct vision and a cool mission. Give me a call sometime, we can share a cup of tea, a mug of coffee, a glass of wine, or a cold, good craft beer, and I’ll share my personal mission and vision with you!

To check out POMA’s mission and vision statements, go to!


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