A Personal Manifesto, Why You Need One

by Marcy Nelson-Garrison

The manifesto has been around for centuries but it’s taking on new life
as a business and marketing tool—one particularly suited for coaches.
It’s a creative and exciting way to take a stand for your wisdom and knowing,
develop a message that resonates deeply with your ideal client and create a
true north guidance system for business decisions. What a powerful foundation
for your coaching business!

At its most basic, a manifesto is a series of powerful and clearly articulated
declarations of the writer's truths and deeply held beliefs. Historically, manifestos
have fueled revolutions, been catalysts for change and helped define movements.
They have primarily been tools for political shifts, artistic movements and
social change. More recently, advertising agencies have adopted the manifesto
as a way to help their clients get to their core message in a more powerful
way. On the heels of that, manifestos have been spreading through the technology
industry and through visionaries like Seth Godin, who has written several. There
is even a website that hosts manifestos: www.changethis.com.

With the technology available today, ideas can spread like wildfire and every
individual has the ability to create change in the world. A manifesto is a perfect
vehicle for that. One of the reasons I believe manifestos have caught fire is
that they force the writer to take a stand. A manifesto calls for courage, authenticity
and leadership. There is a hunger for these three qualities and when combined,
they act as a bright beacon that attracts those who resonate with the message.
This is how a manifesto becomes a marketing tool—your perfect clients
are those who resonate with your declarations.

A manifesto is also a guidance system for your business. If you are an idea
machine, like most of my clients, you need a way to make decisions about which
creative ideas or opportunities to pursue. Your manifesto can provide that guidance.
With each new idea, simply hold it up to the light of the manifesto. Your first
question should always be: Is this idea/venture/opportunity aligned with my
manifesto? Imagine pursuing only that which is aligned with your deepest beliefs.
Your manifesto keeps you aligned, in integrity and deeply fulfilled.

Guidelines for writing your manifesto:

1. Where to start

Carve out some time and space for this work and bring in structures to create
a sense of internal safety for yourself. In the beginning use phrases like,
"I believe . . ." or, "I know. . . " to get you started.
Your manifesto will be a reflection of your most deeply held values and beliefs.
You are tapping into your wisdom and experience to express what you know about
your content and your niche, as well as about your clients, what you want for
them and what you know gets in their way. This is your truth. Your stand. Your
stake in the ground.

2. Get vulnerable

The truth is that most of us are afraid to offend or alienate anyone. This
means that the first draft of your manifesto may have a few platitudes and generalities.
This second step is an invitation to courageously dig a little deeper. Dive
below some of your current language to see what’s hiding underneath the
surface statements. This requires a willingness to get vulnerable. This is a
good place to get some help from a friend or a coach as you ask yourself: What
am I not saying? What would I say if I knew no one would read it? What am I
hiding behind? There is huge power in vulnerability—especially vulnerability
that is in service of your clients.

3. Invoke emotion

Every powerful manifesto I’ve read stirs emotion. You want the reader
to feel something—excitement, passion, outrage, power, compassion, love.
The intention is to touch those who resonate with your message on a deep level.
You want that internal "Yes! Right On! Me Too!" as your reader follows
along. The emotion carries an inherent call to action.

4. Flavor and spice

There is not one way to language a manifesto. You need to bring your voice,
style, tone and flavor to it. It can be laid out in bullet points, pictures
or as a narrative. The tone could be intellectual, light and humorous, gentle
and loving, edgy and bold—whatever fits your personality. Know that you
can create change as much through humor as through danger and heat. The whole
range is open to you. Go back through your manifesto and add your unique blend
of flavor and spice.

5. Get it out there and watch what happens

Once it is written, choose the form or vehicle for your manifesto. The field
is wide open. It can be a video, a PDF, a web page, a blog post, a slide show,
a book or even a TED talk.
Choose the form that works for now—you can expand later if desired. This
final and most essential step is one that takes the most courage.

I had a client recently who experienced a fair amount of trepidation at putting
her manifesto on her website. She was concerned about her professionalism and
uncomfortable veering away from the norm in her profession. However, she courageously
posted it and has been so well-received. The clients showing up for her are
all perfect fits, because they all deeply resonated with her manifesto.

That is what I wish for all of you!

Marcy Nelson-Garrison is
a co-active coach, psychologist, writer and artist. She is founder of the Coaching
Toys online store and an advocate for creative approaches in personal development.
Marcy helps professionals honor their innate wisdom and create products and
programs aligned with their personal manifestos. Learn more at www.PinkParadigm.com.

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