Do you have a manifesto? Have you ever considered writing a manifesto for yourself?
And if you do have a manifesto, how do you use it? How often do you refer to it? How often do you update it?
I love the word manifesto for so many reasons!
It sounds dramatic and courageous and important. It reminds me of the word “manifest,” which I love. It also reminds me of the phrase “passenger manifest” -which I think of because at one point in my life I was a flight attendant.
First of all – what am I even talking about? What is a manifesto? According to Merriam Webster, it’s a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.
So, if you were to write a manifesto for yourself – you would be the issuer, and what you wrote would be the statement of your intentions and motives. I don’t know that the written form of it needs to be publicly shared in its entirety- but I do think that you are a walking, talking declaration of your own manifesto.
In fact, I think you already are.. Even if you haven’t written your manifesto yet.
You are a walking, talking public declaration of what you think and believe about yourself.
How do you show up?
You are demonstrating your intentions, motives and views to yourself and to the world with what you say and do. And, if that’s true.. Doesn’t it make sense to be intentional about your manifesto? To know what your intentions, motives and views are? Do you already know what they are.. Or what you want them to be?
And if you don’t know what they are or what you want them to be.. Then who or how was your current walking, talking public declaration decided for you?
Let’s do an experiment
Mentally look at yourself from the outside as if you didn’t know yourself. Look at yourself as if you were looking at a stranger. Think about what you said and did yesterday.
How did you spend your energy, your time, your money yesterday?
What did you think about throughout the last 24 hours? How did you show up?
If you are observing yourself as if you didn’t know you.. Whatever you are observing implies your motives.. your views.. and your intention.
Because that is how you are showing up publicly. So, interesting, right!?
When you think about how you showed up yesterday.. does that observation line up with the life that you want to create for yourself? With who you want to be?If not, what is missing? What could change to better align?
If parts (or all) of how you showed up during the last 24 hours does align with the life you’re intentionally creating for yourself, then, what’s working for you?
What is already currently in perfect alignment?
This is so valuable to notice! To have awareness around! So, take note of what is working for you! Like, literally.. I think you should write it down.. So you can SEE it for yourself!
I realize that sometimes the word “manifesto” can have some sinister connotations, like maybe a terrorist group would have a manifesto. Or I can imagine that a crazy serial killer would come up with a manifesto full of demands and expectations for the world and society. But I’m inviting you to ignore that imagery and replace it with something more empowering and helpful.
I did this for myself- almost by accident.. And once I did, I was completely in love with the concept. It has given me so much clarity.
My manifesto is my way of telling myself what I will make happen, what will show up for me, and what’s on board for me, just like a passenger manifest on an aircraft. My manifesto is what I will bring into existence for myself. – what I already am bringing into existence..
It is how I have decided to show up. My manifesto is literally what I am manifesting for myself. It is direction for what I’m attracting to my life, what I will expect to show up in my life, just like how in medicine when symptoms show up, we say the symptoms manifest.
Before I had a manifesto, I was searching for a purpose. My intuition knew I would find my purpose and knew it would guide me- but, it took me a while to actually work through my own resistance and get to my purpose.
Here’s a perfect time to pause to check in – when you read about having a manifesto and manifesting the life you want for yourself.. Do you notice any resistance coming up for you? Does this all just sound woo and wishy-washy? Or, maybe this makes perfect sense and you’re totally tracking with me?
Just notice what you think about this topic (and if you’re willing, tell me later – I do want to know!)
Opposite of a Manifesto?
Let’s look at the spectrum from extreme, yet vague down to the ordinary, yet personal…
On the extreme end, imagine a terrorist group that didn’t have a manifesto! The terrorists wouldn’t have a cohesive, unified set of beliefs about who they hated or why they wanted to terrorize and how they would cause destruction. – right? Not very effective!
Now, getting ordinary- but extremely personal – about you.. If you don’t have a manifesto yet.. Do you know what you want to bring into being for yourself?
Have you decided how you always want to show up? Do you know what you are attracting into your life with your current day-to-day thoughts, emotions and actions? And maybe, as I ask this question to you, some immediate responses jump into your mind- and they sound great!
For example: maybe you’re thinking “I want to show up as kind. My purpose in life is to help other people.” amazing! Beautiful!
Annnnnnddddd.. I just want to challenge and push back a little for you to check if those are REALLY what you personally and intentionally want for yourself.
I’m not saying anything is wrong with them.. Like I said, being kind and helping others sounds amazing and beautiful, but when I hear those types of responses, I really wonder if they are personally considered, authentic answers.. Or are they just the “right” answers we have been socialized to think.
If you realize that those are just nice answers, but not really your specific, personal answers.. You have permission right now to drop those answers, or at least, de-prioritize them- and come up with the right answers for YOU!
So, in case you’re considering dropping a set of standard, socialized answers that you’ve been thinking for a long time..just because that’s what you learned you were supposed to think..
Go ahead, clear your mind.. And I’ll ask you again.. And just listen for your personal answer that YOU want to give, for yourself:
Have you decided how you always want to show up? Do you know what you want to attract into your life?
(and, don’t worry if you’re not getting an answer just yet.. Or if it is a repeat of what you got when I asked you the first time.. This can be a process… this doesn’t need to be forced.. Or hurried)
The Me I Always Wanted to Be
When I think of “manifesto” I think of the beginning of the 90s movie Jerry Maguire. Obviously, the best thing about that movie was that it gave us the line “ You had me at Hello.” but.. The movie started with Jerry having this existential experience or awakening that caused him to come up with this thing that caused him to leave his “default path” and he ended up in a successful business of his own and he found his “soul mate.”
He said “It was the me I always wanted to be.” His Manifesto was called “the things we think and do not say, the future of our business.”
That’s Hollywood, of course, and, isn’t it so interesting that in the last episode of this podcast, I was talking about comparing your life to a character in a movie?So, if you are ok with borrowing a concept from a Tom Cruise movie.. You could call your own manifesto “the things I think and do not say, the future of my life”
And, actually, you could edit that even further and drop the “do not say” part- it could just be “the things I think, the future of my life.”
Or,.. Don’t use that title at all! Come up with a title that is perfect for you!
And, since we’re talking about movies, I have to bring up Elton John. In 2019, the movie Rocketman came out and …there’s a line in that movie where he says: “you gotta kill the person you were born to be in order to become the person that you want to be.” So, that’s a little dramatic- but hey, it’s Elton John!
Still.. I think the idea there is you can become whoever you want to be.. You don’t have to keep being the person that you were “born as.”
So, who is the person I am becoming? What’s in my manifesto?
My manifesto is called “It Girl” – that’s got a few different meanings for me.. And one of them is because I had been looking for “it,” I had been waiting for this unknown “it” to show up in my life to make everything fall into place.
I thought “it” would be like a calling or a passion.. Or maybe a career.. But “It” turned out to be ME and the version of ME that I wanted to become. I also love that “it girl” refers to an attractive young woman, generally a celebrity, who has a personality that is especially engaging.
Do I want to live my life as an attractive young woman? Absolutely, I do!
Do I want to be a celebrity? Well.. not necessarily.. But I don’t mind being “celebrated.. And celebrating myself!
Do I want to have an especially engaging personality? Definitely! And my manifesto includes elements of all of those!
In the last post, I told you about the character development exercise I did to discover the character I wanted to play in my life. I described how I collected a huge list of questions that writers use as they’re writing a fictional character, then I just approached my life as if it’s the movie that I am in, and I answered those questions about the role I wanted to play in my life – that showed me the character I wanted to become.
That exercise generated a list of over 100 statements I wanted to be true for me. Some of those statements were more important or meaningful or relevant than others.
I wrote out all the statements in paragraph form – grouping relevant statements together, editing and word-smithing as I went. I left out the statements that were unremarkable or that didn’t really need any reinforcement. As I edited, and moved sentences around, and changed a word here or there, I also filled in any gaps or made things more concise.That left me with about 13 paragraphs.. Or about 1300 words. I kept it in a Note in my Evernote app so I can read it whenever I want.I used the statements and concepts in it to refresh my vision board.
But, that wasn’t the true Manifesto yet.
A few months later, I edited this long piece of writing down even further with even more confident, declarative statements and shorter paragraphs and just under 500 words. I formatted and aligned the sentences and paragraphs and I printed it out on bright yellow paper and pasted into the front cover of my journal. And that’s when it became my manifesto!
I love reading my manifesto to myself and thinking about it and believing it and getting excited for it to be 100% true. It already is in my mindAnd throughout my normal day, I will catch glimpses of how the manifesto is actually true in real life.. How I am Manifesting my Manifesto!
My manifesto is like my personal, intentional, pre-decided set of beliefs about myself and my life that I regularly and repeatedly tell to my brain.
That way, if my brain offers me a thought that doesn’t align with my manifesto, it sticks out and I can more easily notice it or question it.
I love pulling individual lines or phrases out of my manifesto to use as Mantras and reminders. I love noticing when people quote my manifesto back to me and they don’t even know it! When people tell me they love hearing what I have to say or tell me I have a natural talent for teaching, I get a charge, because those are almost direct quotes from my manifesto.
When I realize that parts of my life are aligning with my manifesto and coming true, I get so excited!
For example, one line of my manifesto is that my home is a “combination of a Nancy Myer’s movie and Restoration Hardware.” A while back, I was in Restoration Hardware and thought “yes, this is what my home is like – specifically my master bathroom!”
3 Ways I use my Manifesto
Now I want to share 3 ways I use my manifesto so that you can get an idea of how YOU could incorporate a manifesto into your own day-to-day. Like I mentioned earlier, I used my manifesto as an idea generator for my vision board.
I thought of what images would reflect or illustrate the words and phrases from my manifesto and then looked for those images to include in my vision board.
Back to the Restoration Hardware example – I took a picture of a bathroom vanity from their online catalog to include in my vision board.. And now… it’s reality! We were going to buy that exact vanity when we did our remodel, but my husband figured out how to refinish our existing vanity to replicate it, then we just had to buy the hardware to match the inspiration piece! Perfect!
I also used actual words and phrases from my manifesto as text in my vision board, so when I look at it, I see the images – but I also see direct quotes of what I want for myself.
A second way I incorporate my manifesto into my day-to-day is that I sometimes use it as an inspirational reading during my morning ritual. Just to remind myself of it, and notice how my perspective has changed about what I have and will have and already have. This is a beautiful, inspirational reminder.. And if you don’t take anything else away from this episode, I hope you consider implementing this idea for yourself – really! Write your manifesto, then read it to yourself occasionally! It’s so POWERFUL!
I also like to write my manifesto out by hand into my journal every once in a while.This is the 3rd way you can reinforce it, and maybe further edit it or add to it or put the emphasis on a different word or phrase or section.
And the bonus to this exercise is that when I’m flipping through what I’ve previously written in my journal, I will occasionally find my manifesto written out in the middle of my writing, and that prompts me to re-read it.. when I wasn’t specifically looking for it, and that just reinforces it to me even further!
Am I missing a way I could use my manifesto? Do you have a manifesto and do you use yours differently than I’ve described mine?
Or, if this whole concept is new to you, what do you think?
Are you ready to write your manifesto?
It might be interesting for you just to write down the answers to the questions I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Think about what you said and did yesterday.
How did you spend your energy, your time, your money?
What did you think about throughout the last 24 hours?
How did you show up?
Write those answers out for yourself to see the (maybe) default manifesto you have currently issued to yourself and to the world..
Then decide if that’s how you want to show up… If those are the intentions and motives you WANT to live by.
Hopefully, I have converted you to the idea of writing an intentional manifesto for yourself, and referring to it regularly!