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4S Model: Self

At many large malls, large conspicuous maps are posted showing the many different stores, attractions, and points of interest throughout.  When the typical individual approaches a map like this, the first inclination is to look for a red dot, a big arrow, or the words "You Are Here."

The first step in the 4S Model is Self, and focuses on creating your guiding mission and vision.  To get there, you have to understand who you are, where you've been, and where you want to go from a career perspective.

Creating personal mission, vision, and values statements are very similar to creating corporate mission, vision, and values statements.  They are intended to serve as guideposts throughout your career, and be reviewed and adjusted from time to time.

The vision is the usually the higher level statement, a purposeful direction and outcome in life.  At Anheuser-Bush, it was "through all of our products, services, and relationships, we will add to life's enjoyment."  For you it will likely be something just as lofty, and will require deep introspection into what exactly motivates you.  Your vision statement may be an outgrowth of your faith, your strong personal convictions, or centered on happiness.

The mission is usually the strategy statement - how will you achieve your vision.  At Duke Energy, the mission statement is:  "At Duke Energy, we make people's lives better by providing gas and electric services in a sustainable way - affordable, reliable, and clean.  This requires us to constantly look for ways to improve, to grow, and to reduce our impact on the environment."

The vision and mission are enacted but only within the confines of intrinsic values.  From time to time you may find that it's important to revisit and clarify your own personal values.  In 2011 Bank of America went through such an exercise, and amended its values to the following:

  • Deliver for our customers, clients, and shareholders
  • Trust in our team
  • Embrace the power of our people
  • Act responsibly
  • Promote opportunity

Creating your own guiding mission and vision can be overwhelming at first.  As you ask yourself the questions and use the tools below, you will likely discover some clarity around the things that center ground, and motivate you - the building blocks you need.

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