Since I do a variety of things, it’s often challenging for me to describe my business in a clear way that doesn’t sound like I’m rattling off a shopping list. Coaching and speaking and strategy and communication workshops and facilitating retreats and CEO peer groups and marketing consulting and bread and milk and eggs.
See what I mean?
Long lists of credentials, projects, capabilities are less than interesting, less than helpful and less than productive. There must be a better way, I believe, and so I’m playing with a few right now. One of the exercises that I’m finding really useful and fun is the process of writing a manifesto.
Manifesto. That’s a big and pretentious word/concept, isn’t it?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
In the hands of a big and pretentious ego, it certainly can be. It can yield long, boring and overblown paragraphs and pages.
But in more thoughtful and loving hands, it can yield a short and sweet taste of a business, a mission, a person or a relationship.
Alexandra Franzen’s “How to write a simple and beautiful manifesto” is a guideline of exactly how to do that.
I love –
I believe –
I am committed to –
This is hands down the most simple and effective structure I’ve used in conceptualizing my work. In fact, I enjoyed doing it so much, that I’ve expanded it to other areas of my life – friendship, motherhood, etc.
In my work:
I love growth, connection, fun and inspiring leadership that changes the world.
I believe that we all need helpful structures, well-designed experiential learning and effective support systems to do our best work and to be our best selves.
I am committed to helping kind, fun, smart leaders continue to grow themselves, their companies and their impact.
See how much better that is than the shopping list?
Instead of telling you my various titles, it gives you some insight into who I am (someone who helps leaders and organizations improve), what’s important to me (growth, connection, fun), how I work (well-designed structures, experiences and support) and who I work with (heartful, soulful business leaders).
And of course I can expand that. I can add a call to action. Something like:
Let’s work together. If you’re a business leader who’s ready for more – more success, more connection and engagement, more fun, more support (it really doesn’t need to be “lonely at the top”), more learning and growth – for yourself and your organization, let’s talk and see how I can help.
I can also add some extra flavor by throwing in a line or two about what I no longer love, believe or am committed to. Something like:
– I no longer love solopreneurship. Instead, I appreciate the sense of community and collaboration that comes from partnering with special people and companies.
– I no longer believe that the smartest person in the room is the wisest person in the room. There’s a big difference.
– I’m no longer committed to helping everyone. I tried. It’s impossible.
You get the idea…
We can expand the 3 line manifesto a bit if we’d like, but it’s not necessary. The 3 lines will do an excellent job of capturing the essence of who you are and what you do. They did for me. They moved me from a relatively meaningless description of my work to one that feels alive and true.
How about you? Ready to take this for a spin?…
What do you love? What do you believe? What are you committed to?
Can you see how creating this mini manifesto might be helpful in connecting you with more of the kinds of work you love and people that you can best help?
Can you see how it can be used in a variety of ways? Not just on a website “about me” page, or on a LinkedIn profile, but also…
- in conversation
- in deciding what kinds of projects to take on
- in evaluating how you’re doing on a monthly and quarterly basis?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, employee, volunteer, retiree or student. You are a leader. You are the CEO of your life.
So go on. Write your own 3 line manifesto. Write it for your work (however you define work). Write it for your some of your roles.
– In my work, I love… I believe… I am committed to…
– As a friend, I love… I believe… I am committed to…
– As a parent, I love… I believe… I am committed to…
– As a partner, I love… I believe… I am committed to…
And see what bubbles up. There are no right/wrong words. Allow whatever comes up. Then step away for a bit. Come back when the mood strikes. No pressure, no timeline. Play with it some more. Repeat until a feeling of “ahhh, yes… this is me” emerges.
Once you have your manifesto, think about how you’d like to use it. Do you want to share it with someone? Do you want to make it public? Do you want to use it as a guidepost in setting goals? Do you want to use it to help you make decisions? Your call. Use it in whatever ways will be helpful.
And it will. It will be helpful.