The popular credit card TV commercial frequently asks us “what’s in your wallet?” Yet, perhaps a more important question for us each to consider would be “what’s in your manifesto?”

Some of you may ask, “what’s a manifesto?” The word tends to conjure up Unabomber type images of some hermit like person who has removed themselves from society, hand written in very small letters some long and hard to understand document complaining about modern life and such document only coming to our attention after this person commits some kind of crime. Our media has convinced many of us that a manifesto is some crazy statement of weird intentions created by some lunatic. That picture is a very limited and incorrect use of the word.

“A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government,” states Wikipedia. So my question is really asking this – what is your published verbal declaration of your intentions? Have you publicly declared “this is my major goal in life…this is what I intend to work towards as my major accomplishment”?

In a sense, your manifesto is like a public proclamation of your personal vision and mission for life. I know I’ve been revisiting and rewriting my vision and mission off and on for the last 25 years. Certain leadership classes that I took during my government career along with books by Stephen Covey were key in making this an essential part of my life. Covey reminded us to “begin with the end in mind” and cautioned us that if we didn’t we could end up spending all our efforts to “build a ladder” and find that it was “leaning against the wrong wall”. You must know what you are ultimately all about and then align your actions towards that direction.

I have been revisiting my purpose more frequently since I began blogging in 2009. Most recently in 2013, I took a personal retreat on the northern shores of Lake Superior and retooled my purpose statements – my manifesto – which is currently published on Conscious Bridge as my “Vision” and also as my “Teachings”. This past month I have been rereading certain books such as Platform by Michael Hyatt and Tribes by Seth Godin which have reiterated for me the importance of a public manifesto. (In fact, Hyatt says his next book will be entitled The Life Plan Manifesto and in this linked and very astute article on building influence he cites publishing a manifesto as one of his key action steps.”)

Yet you may be thinking that as you don’t publish a website or books and that you don’t really hold yourself out with some sort of “public persona” – why have a public manifesto? Here are some reasons that I believe everyone should create such a document and share it with others:

  • It creates a focus for your intentions.
  • It serves as a touchstone for you to make sure that you are spending your time on what’s truly important.
  • You now see yourself as “publicly accountable” towards positive progress.
  • Discussing it with others leads to both personal clarity over your goals as well as interesting connections with others who share a similar passion.

Therefore, I highly encourage you to stop and consider what’s in your manifesto?

If you have a manifesto – or a vision/mission statement, I’d love to hear it! Post it in the comments below. If it’s published on the Internet, post a link to it.

Mark Gilbert

PS – Although I know that my current vision and teachings as described on Conscious Bridge are still very accurate, it came to me that they could be distilled into something briefer – more on that next time.


Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!

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