9 February, 2019

Defining My Personal Mission

Before I started blogging last year, I gave some thought to what I want to achieve in my life. Until then I’d only had notions. In my teens, I thought about attempting to become a world-renowned filmmaker. In my 20s I tried and failed to create a globally successful software business out of Northern Ireland.

Now that I’m in my 30s I’m thinking about things a little differently. I still have personal aspirations, but my perspective has changed. I feel I now know who I am, and have strong conviction in my beliefs. 32 years in, I’ve realised I want to do something more than just make money and achieve success.

I first defined a personal mission statement last July. Not long after I shared it with the group who held me accountable to start my blog.

My first mission

My mission 1.0 — To help people become more self-aware and open-minded, so together we can make the world better, faster, and enjoy it in harmony.

At the time this felt right. It helped me shape what I would write about in my articles, and start to conceive of ways it could be achieved.

However seven months later it’s not sitting as well with my as it once was. I still completely agree with the statement, and hope that my efforts can achieve just that. But I’m not entirely sure if that specifically, or that alone is where I want to place my focus. Ideally, I’d also like to have a clearer end goal in mind which I can use to orient myself on my journey. So I’ve iterated on my mission statement:

My mission 2.0 — To have a positive impact on the world before I die. I’m still working out how.

My new mission statement is a placeholder. I’m acknowledging that I want to have a positive impact on the world, but I’m not entirely sure how quite yet. I am sure that I’m going to do everything I can to work it out. To start I’ve defined what I believe to be positive value for the world.

I believe a positive impact would be:

  • Helping people to be more open-minded so they are more accepting of others
  • Helping the world to trust more in information backed up by evidence
  • Helping people to question and not just accept the way things are
  • Preventing climate catastrophe so our world remains habitable
  • Helping restore and preserve the natural world
  • Removing corporate influence and corruption from governments
  • Stopping things that don’t need to happen (murder, rape, violence, war, poverty)
  • Helping people to become more aware of the effects modern society has on their minds and bodies, and take action
  • Free healthcare and education for all

These are some (not all) of the things that I believe would make the world a better place.

Your mission

Have you given any thought to your own mission? You might have completely different ideas to me — and that’s ok. You don’t have to think globally either, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a more localised goal, the effects of your efforts could spread organically. The most important thing is to do what you believe in.

My only advice is that you try looking outwards rather than inwards. Consider what you want to leave behind when you’re gone before deciding on your life’s work.

Progressing my mission

Since my mission is still in flux, I’ve decided to create a mission changelog. When I gain some more clarity I’ll update it. For now, I know I’m trying to have a positive impact on the world before I die. I’m still working out how.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has worked out their own mission or are in the process of figuring it out. If you fancy a chat about missions send me an email.

Who is Steven Hylands?

Steven is a designer by trade but has spent most of the last decade wearing many hats while working in tech startups like Yomo, PiggyPot, Rumble Labs, Nuu and Onotate. Currently, he’s starting up something new in the fintech space. Working with startups has led him to gain a breadth of knowledge in design, product strategy, growth hacking, front-end development, filmmaking and more. More recently, he's been actively expanding his horizons, taking up blogging in the process.