Footprints in the sand. A puzzled dragon. More footprints in the sand. Mermaids gazing longingly at something. Footprints leading past a startled troll, club raised high, ready to strike. The footprints continue past an untouched cake. Ignoring the dragon, the mermaids, the troll and the cake, the prince reaches his goal, the princess, embracing and kissing her.

''Once upon a time, there was a man who had such a clear sense of his life goal that he was constantly aware whether what he was doing in the moment was moving him towards or away from his goal.''

The notion of personal leadership

Deep inside us lives something that feels true to each of us. The thing that drives us and lights our fire. That our life revolves around. That makes us endure hardships. That enables us to create the most amazing things – and helps us succeed on a ­personal and a professional level.

Are you aware what is the core emotional goal that your life revolves around? What makes you most happy and satisfied on a personal level? And what can make you most unhappy and dissatisfied if you fail to achieve it? Can you express that ­emotional goal in a single word? 

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Can you link that word to everything you do and everything you choose not to do? Imagine for a moment that there is such a word and what it would mean to know it – what I call your MISSION WORD®?

The mission word® constitutes the foundation of personal leadership. Perhaps you already know your mission word®? Maybe, at an unconscious level, you know what is the most important emotional premise for you to succeed in your career and to thrive and function optimally

Maybe you know that your mission word® is a really good foundation for your communication. That the mission word® actually gives you a perfect foundation for most things in life – like a virtual key unlocking your self-love.
Imagine what it would mean for you if you knew and consistently acted on your personal mission word®. And if you knew the your loved ones’, your colleagues’ or your supervisor’s mission word®.
When I first began to work with personal missions statements formulated around a core mission word®, I assumed that any value word could be a mission word®.

Through more than 1,500 conversations about personal leadership I learned that many value words are essentially synonyms, which can be crystallized into five mission words®. One of these words is particularly frequent, another fairly frequent and the other three fairly rare: Significance, Intimacy, Creativity, Freedom, Love.

We are probably all driven, to some extent, by all these words, but one of them will carry more weight. That is the one I call the mission word®.

To understand the relationship between value words and mission words®, it may be illustrative to visualize the mission word® as a planet. Around the planet you see the other words, orbiting at different distances, like moons of varying sizes, depending on their weight. Like moons orbiting a planet they make up a coherent system, where all the elements are interconnected and influence each other (and occasionally shade the light).

A mission word® works in three dimensions: inside you alone; inside you in ­interactions with others; inside you in relation to the topic or task you are ­dealing with.Ideally, you will be able to balance the three dimensions. However, most­ people have an imbalance in this system, so that the concern for others or for the ­topic or task outweighs their concern for themselves. They need to restore the ­balance through a focused personal development effort to allow their personal ­potential to be fully unfolded.

Personal leadership requires you to take responsibility for yourself. To act on your insight into yourself. That is why it is so important to be aware of your mission word®, your personal mission, your vision and your values.

That insight lets you know what you are and what you do, why you do it, where you want to go with what you do, and how you want to get there. That ­knowledge ­enables you to navigate consciously and deliberately in life and to be present in the moment, because your enhanced awareness enables you to go all in, in ­accordance with your mission, your vision and your values. When you take ­personal ­responsibility and embrace your personal leadership, you can determine whether what you are doing in the moment is moving you towards or away from your personal goal. Like the prince in the illustration.

Your personal mission defines how you create value for yourself and others based on your mission word®. The basis for your personal mission is to create value through [insert your mission word®].

In my experience, people’s personal visions generally have a great deal in common: essentially, we all aim to maximize quality of life four ourselves and our loved ones, family, friends, colleagues and so forth, in ever wider circles that ultimately include the entire world.

Having, being aware of and acting on a key theme for your life will help you ­succeed on a personal level and, thus, as a leader. And it will help you focus your energy in a way that matches your wishes and needs and thus makes it easier to realize your dreams. Hence, I strongly recommend that you make the effort to discover your personal mission word® and thus enhance your personal leadership.


Few of us have learned to navigate in life and lead ourselves based on our own particular qualities, needs, wishes and personal goals. When we lead ourselves with personal responsibility, contact and awareness, we are in a great position to achieve personal fulfilment. Are you aware of how you respond to the ­influences, ­distractions and obstacles you encounter as you move through your day – and through life? What determines your responses? When do you turn away from a ­challenge? When and why do you choose to take it on? Are you aware what ­determines your ­responses? Are you in charge, or are you allowing yourself to be led by arbitrary factors or external demands that you have not consciously decided to satisfy?

The prince in the illustration knows when to ignore dragons, mermaids, trolls and cakes. That is a source of strength that helps him reach his goal – in this case, the princess. If your personal leadership is strong, you know how to pick your battles. It lets you identify external distractions and know how to deal with them.

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