My entire life has been about writing everything down. Whether that meant to do lists or my life plans, putting pen to paper when it came to my future was important. Creating vision boards and choosing words as ways to direct and center us on the cusp of new years, has become wildly popular. I find great joy in both of these practices and also encourage. In the spirit of taking that a bit further I want to share with you my guideline for creating a life manifesto. Manifestos or mission statements are what plenty of businesses use to stay on course. They exist as the North Star when you are looking to grow or deciding which moves to make next. My theory? If it’s good enough for them, then it’s great for me. Let’s get into it!
Growing up in church, I was taught a lot about visions and writing them down. My pastor was very big on declaring the things we wanted for our lives without fear. He instructed us to be bold with our desires and putting into action, through words, what we envisioned for our lives. Regularly. Although these days I don’t attend any organized church, those lessons are never far from my mind or my heart. As the good word says, “train up a child in the way they should go, and when they grow old they will not depart from it.” For that reason, writing down my vision is my number one way of bringing my dreams to fruition. Compiled with an unwavering desire for success, this combo has been the catalyst in getting me to where I want to go.
That notion is also biblical, you can find it in Habakkuk 2:2…
For those of you who don’t ascribe to religious doctrine and may need more, I will direct you to Jack Canfield and his book, The Success Principles. Though this principle has roots in a faith it is not only available or useful to those who believe. Ask yourself what quality business runs without some sort of vision. Any company is going to have a mission statement that it follows to keep it on course and to serve as a guiding light for how the business is run. Why should your life be any different?
From a very young age I would write in my notebooks statements like, “I am a household name. Known for good things,” “I am a well known, published author,” or “I am a multi-millionaire.” Some people may look at these statements and recoil. Perhaps to them they scream desire for notoriety, fame, and exorbitant wealth. However if you know the thought process behind the declarations or the vision them, they become more clear. Being a household name means that I am touching multitudes of people with information that they can benefit from. I was specific about wanting to be known for good things, not wanting to be known just to be known. Being an author that is accomplished, means my books sell and are read by many. Becoming a multi-millionaire will enable me to live a high quality life and offer assistance to my family or others without me being in need. That is how vision is born.
START WITH THE BASICS
Ask yourself what is your perfect day? Do you go to an office or you travel frequently? Maybe you prefer to be in a work environment with others so you can bounce your ideas off of one another. What about self-care, do you workout or take classes? What are you eating for lunch? How does your work day look minute by minute? It may seem like these questions are trivial or not leading you where you want to go, but I assure you as you begin to write you’ll start to uncover your truth. Growing up I wanted nothing more than exit an elevator every day in some high powered law firm. It turns out? I hated working in corporate America. I despised being told when I could come and go, having time structures that someone else dictated to me. It wasn’t the arena where I could be successful. I had to let go of the notion that my dreams could only look one way.
I’ll give you an example of how I answered these questions. I want my day to begin at home, where I can wake up with ease. With enough time to exercise and have personal wellness fully incorporated into my life. My life allows me to be actively involved with my children because it is important to me that they know I am here. I am comfortable asking and receiving help when and if I need it with them or anything else, it is not hard to come by. I have an office that I go to with quality employees who help maintain my brand and ancillary brands I have built. These people are well educated, enjoy working for me, and desire to grow my business and themselves.
I could go on but you should get the gist. By being ultra detailed you are going to either begin to realize what you want sounds amazing and you’re on the right trajectory in your life. Or you need to make some changes to get where you want to go. The beginning of Habakkuk 2 says to write the vision down. The second part says make it plain. My own business it took many iterations before I finally narrowed down what I wanted to do into a statement that could be easily understood by anyone. If you’re vision is muddled, it’s likely that your plan to get there will be too.
MAKE IT SIMPLE
Simplicity is key. However, never make the mistake in thinking that simplicity lacks detail. In fact if your manifesto is done right, it will be simple enough for anyone to understand and regurgitate. While also being so comprehensive there is no need to explain. For example my manifesto for The Hautemommie and the work I do under the brand is: To influence people, primarily women, especially Black women; to pursue the lives they envision. Through that you can see my work is not limited to only Black women but geared at enabling all people. To equip them with the skills and drive that encourage them to go after what they want in life. Even my twelve year can understand that. If you’re writing a life manifesto you want the people in your life to be able easily get on board.
When writing your manifesto don’t let fear stand in your way. If you want to write, be a New York Times bestseller – write it. You want to travel the world and get paid to do it? Add that. The thing about writing your vision down is that it is making you face your dreams. Allowing them to live in your mind there is nothing holding you accountable to bringing them to pass. The fear you feel getting them out of the pandora’s box of your mind is what will push you toward manifesting them in life. Trust me I had nothing but fear when I wrote that I would make successful television shows like J.J. Abrams. Genius behind Lost, Felicity, Alias, and that little franchise – Star Trek. Yeah, that guy. Many people say that if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. I used to be against that statement, but in gaining more understanding, I get it.
The idea isn’t that you should walk around in fear but rather you should challenge yourself to think beyond what see. By giving air to the big dreams it gives them life. Writer Paulo Coehlo says, “when you set your mind to do something, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.” Reading The Alchemist gave even more levity to Habakkuk 2:2 for me. Haven’t read it, I suggest you do. Don’t let fear keep you from doing the big thing.
Photography: Kaye McCoy / @cookayemonster
These three things; starting with the basics, keeping it simple, and being fearless are the perfect foundation to creating your life manifesto. Now you have no excuse as to why you can’t declare greatness in your life.
While this practice isn’t a magical lamp or a genie, it has been proven to work for many. Myself included. My goal with the post is to set you on a path to success. You’ve got this!