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Developing a Personal Manifesto

by Christine DeSadeleer Nov 20, 2009
Alright, it’s time to break out those pens. Or computers.

We’re ripping out a page from the popular Notes from the Road series over at the Traveler’s Notebook and asking you to take a moment to sketch out something that probably crosses your mind now and again: A Personal Manifesto.

When I happened upon Gwen Bell’s, author of the Unconventional Guide to the Social Web, process the other day, I immediately became excited at the notion of going through my own.

Check out her guide on the myriad of ways to go about developing your own manifesto.

Here are a few highlights of possible road-map choices:

Vision Map

Yep, this means breaking out the magazines, scissors, and glue. Good magazines, with positive images, by the way. Cut out pictures of what you want in your life, whether that includes traveling the world or owning a yoga studio. Don’t forget to write yourself a little note about your beauty.

Put it all together in a systematic or wonderfully haphazard fashion on a big piece of cardboard, and hang it up on your wall. I also like Bell’s suggestion of scanning the map in order to have a travel-version.

Life List

Life list, bucket list, whatever you want to call it – just write down a 100 things you want to do before kicking well, you know, the bucket. I like the look of Maggie Mason’s (the inspiration for Bell’s list), and the idea of having mine sitting pretty on my computer and crossing through the ones I’ve completed. Oooh, I want to stop writing this post and go do it right now.

Digitized Goals

Bell provides a link to an online questionnaire, which can be helpful for those of us that need prompts. Or cut-offs. Plus, who are we kidding – haven’t most of us forgotten how to write in cursive anyway?


To continue the tradition I began of stealing ideas from the Traveler’s Notebook, take a look at their new series, Micro Notes, in order to get primed for this one. I know I can sometimes be wordy in both writing and speech (have you noticed?), and often, the best way to get things done is to define them with brevity. Index cards, short lists, to the point=making things happen.

Finally, here’s one I’m adding to Bell’s list:

Visioning/Meditation On Your Goals

A former dance teacher of mine will freely tell you that without a doubt, “visioning” her future every single day has led to her dreams becoming a reality. After passing the bar exam, Vicki decided to chuck the lawyer-life and pursue her true passion, dance. Now, she along with her business and life partners throw one of the most consistently sold-out club nights in San Francisco, Non Stop Bhangra, and her dance troupe, Dholrhythms, performs up and down the Western Coast of US and Canada.

In other words, don’t forget the power of intention.

Vicki has had a daily routine of reciting and meditating on her dreams, and says that everything that has come to fruition began as a thought in this process. In other words, don’t forget the power of intention.

Since fall always feels like a good time for introspection, I’ll be working on my manifesto this weekend, and then will post some of my results and musings at my blog, Living Holistically. I’m hoping to see some of yours, even just bits and pieces, too.

Add parts of your manifesto to your personal blog, and then come back here and paste the link in the comments section below!

Community Connection

While developing your manifesto, don’t forget about the beauty of transparency in your writing, whether for yourself or others. David Miller takes a look at the importance of Material Transparency in creating a personal brand.

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