“I love your Personal Manifesto! I want to write one of my own. Can you give me the instructions to follow?
I keep a straight face, but inside I’m laughing.
Not at the sincere woman who made a beeline to me after my morning message.
The one thing I debated whether to even include in today’s message is the one thing that’s resonating the most with the women.
The Power of Pre-Deciding
Saturday was my first time sharing my new “Hope for Over-Attempters” message. My final point was that Ambulance Syndrome (living from crisis-to-crisis) keeps me from becoming who God created me to be.
Instead of allowing my changing circumstances to constantly re-define me, I’m using my Personal Manifesto to pre-decide who I am regardless of circumstances.
My Personal Manifesto serves as a decision filter for what I will (and will not) allow into my life, what I will (and will not) commit to doing.
Now, I’ve resisted writing my Personal Manifesto for decades. For heaven’s sake, I’m almost fifty years old. I should know all this by now, right?!?
Turns out, I need a visual reminder of who I am to help me
- say “yes” and “no” wisely.
- filter my choices by focusing who I actually am.
- live with intentionality and integrity.
Kathi’s Personal Manifesto
I was going to
procrastinate forever wait until summer to create my Personal Manifesto. But two things happened that motivated me to make it sooner.
First, my dear friend, co-author, and partner-in-crime, Kathi created hers.
I’d love to tell you that my first thought when I saw this was, “Wow! What an accurate expression of the heart of my dear friend!”
In truth, my gut reaction was, “Well, great. So much for my
plans to wait until I have time to do it perfectly excuses!”
added insult to injury totally destroyed my excuses?
She said it took her less than an hour!
My Personal Manifesto
The second thing that motivated me to create my Personal Manifesto before the year 2026 was Kathi pointing out something that would never have occurred to me:
“It’s not permanent. You can always change it next week.”
As in, I don’t have to get it “right” on my first try.
(Note to my long-time blog readers: You’re not imagining the resurgence of Perfectionism in my life since my mother’s death … I’m starting to recognize it, too!)
Actually, a third thing happened. As I prepared my “Hope for Over-Attempters” message, I kept feeling convicted.
Include your Personal Manifesto.
In order to include it, I had to create it. Before the year 2026.
(Yes, this is the fifth or sixth revision!)
Your Own Personal Manifesto
Here’s my best How-To advice:
- Just do it.
- Don’t worry about doing it right.
- Don’t worry whether it turns out like Kathi’s or mine or anyone else’s.
- Just sit down with pen and paper (or blank Word document) and go for it!
(Aren’t you glad I’m here to simplify your life?)
Since these “instructions” will leave many of you rolling your eyes at me (and a few of you reaching for a paper bag to hyperventilate into), here are some suggestions I hope will help you move forward.
1) Start with Post-It Notes
Two great things about Post-It Notes: You can re-arrange them with ease, and you can throw them away without guilt.
Jot one word or phrase per Post-It. Stick your Post-Its on a wall or window or posterboard and live with them.
Make a ton all at once and then slowly take away the ones that don’t fit. Or make one today and add another tomorrow (and the next day, and…)
2) Play “Personal Manifesto” Mad Libs
During our table discussion time, we brainstormed words and phrases that might become part of a Personal Manifesto.
- Adjectives: kind, thoughtful, wise, connected, gentle, patient, realistic, thoughtful, behind-the-scenes, willing, open-hearted, gracious, trustworthy, practical, active …
- Nouns: daughter, peace-maker, prayer warrior, instant friend, encourager, cook, care-taker, hugger …
- Verbs: seeing others’ needs, being in nature, letting it be, gathering people, noticing what needs to be done, caring for children …
You could spend 5 minutes brainstorming more words for each of these lists and then 15 minutes playing “Mad Libs” with this template:
“I am a(n) [adjective] [noun] who [verb].”
- “I am a gentle peace-maker who notices what needs to be done.”
- “I am a trustworthy prayer warrior who sees others’ deep needs.”
- “I am a open-hearted cook who gathers people around my table.”
3) Invite Input
Something special happened during our discussion when one woman suggested that they go around the table and share what they saw in each other. Not only did the ideas flow faster, but so did some tears. While it’s hard to say out loud who we want to be, it’s a blessing to hear from others who they see us actively being.
4) Draw Your Words from The Word
I’m going to make a version of my Personal Manifesto that is composed entirely of key phrases from the Bible verses that have the most meaningful to me through the years. Scripture is always a great place to start.
Kathi and I have created 10-page download that walks you through the process of making your Personal Manifesto. You can get it here. And you can see examples of other women’s Personal Manifestos here.
What would you add to our growing Personal Manifesto “word bank”?