Ideals · Leadership · Reading

Personal Manifesto

This time of year sparks lots of New Year’s resolutions; I notice this because the gym at work gets extra crowded for the first few weeks of January. Whether or not this is a kind thought, I don’t generally fret because I know by the end of the month most of these new comers will drop off and our limited gym space will be available again for the ‘regulars’ for work out faithfully all year long.

While I’m not a fan of making many resolutions myself, I did read a great article this week that takes personal change and motivation to a deeper level.  Written by Eric McNulty for strategy+business, this piece on writing a personal manifesto can be found here. I’ll summarize the key thoughts that stood out to me, but I encourage you to read it for yourself.

The basic point is that while resolutions focus on what to do, a personal manifesto asks why to do the things you do. It gets at motivation, what inspires you, and what gives you a sense of purpose or meaning. This aligns well with the principle of ‘begin with the end in mind’ that forms one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (one of my favorite books). McNulty summarizes a process from Michael Hess of Core 6 Advisors that begins with capturing quotes that resonate, articulating core principles and their implications, and reflecting on what an “ideal” life would look like for you.

It’s been a few years since I reviewed my own ‘personal mission statement’ and so I expect to carve out time in the coming weeks to review my personal; manifesto. I like the idea of focusing on the why rather than the what, and it isn’t difficult to think about quotes and phrases that capture elements of what matters most to me (Simplicity, Leave things better than you found them, Encourage people, Improve yourself instead of simply distracting yourself). Perhaps I’ll share some of my personal manifesto here as it evolves. I’m continually seeking to focus my life on what matters most, but I find that in truth it’s not that simple.


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