Last week my bold claim was that in order to get to clarity on your message, mantra, or answer to “what do you do” question, or even make a big decision, you had to lose your mind. (Check out the article here in case you missed it.)
One fun way to do this is to write your manifesto. If you involuntarily rolled your eyes thinking manifestos are dead, think again. A manifesto does what the mission statement — de riguer for corporations, small businesses and even individuals in the good old days of the past three decades — cannot do. It invites curiosity. It engages at gut level and in come cases speaks to the heart.
If you think they are dead, look around. Brands like LuluLemon proudly print theirs on their iconic bags. Companies like Brains on Fire, Simple Shoes, Nike, Levis, Apple, and many more including small companies with big ideas all took time to get their values, ideas, and beliefs down on paper to be crafted into something visually interesting and powerfully inspiring.
You’ll need to do the exercises from last week before starting on part 2. So if you haven’t yet, go there now or make some time over the weekend to get to it.
In case you think this is not a valuable exercise here’s what one of my clients says about it….
“I loved doing these manifesto exercises! On some level I knew what I stood for already, but these exercises really helped me go deeper into who I am and what I believe in. I have a whole new understanding of who I am and that’s been helpful designing my new business, About page for my site, and definitely my marketing.”
– Tara Wilder, Envivo Creative
And in the webinar I’ll be doing early July I’ll be covering how to use this masterpiece in your marketing and refer you to a few really reasonable artists who will turn it into art.
Okay back to the work at hand.
Once you have your truth, what makes you laugh, cry, pissed off, scribbles and your “what I want the world to know” statements, it’s time to do some culling and organizing.
First though, I want you to find a manifesto you like. There are two reasons for this:
- One is to help you figure out the style you like so you’ll know what words and sentences you want to be bigger, smaller, etc. For some, a list is the way to go — this makes the design part a whole lot easier.
- Second is to get an idea of how a message flows. Putting a manifesto together is not unlike writing a compelling blog post or article. It will take some work and reworking.
Here are a few manifestos you can comb through to find your ideal.
- http://expertenough.com/538/the-expert-enough-manifesto (This is one I particularly like)
- https://www.good.is/articles/the-fixer-s-manifesto-why-fixing-is-the-unsung-hero-of-creativity (This is list form but done artfully)
- https://sonyaterborg.com/2012/06/05/too-awesome-not-to-share-the-linchpin-manifesto/ (This is Seth Godin’s Linchpin Manifesto, but I couldn’t find it on a site of his)
Now that you’ve got something to use as an example, I suggest you print out your statements then cut them into strips or put them on post-its so you can move things around. You’ll want to do some formatting before printing. Make your most important sentences larger, bolder, use different fonts. In short, play with your words.
Not sure what to put where? Look at the manifesto example you chose. See what the brand has stand out and which words and phrases are more like a bridge or buffer.
Keep in mind if this is for your business you’ll want to end up with a message that gives people a strong sense of what you stand for and the difference you want to make.
This doesn’t have to happen in one hour or even one week. If you find it’s not all coming together don’t get discouraged — especially if you’ve taken the time to go deep with the exercises I gave last week. There’s juicy information in there and it should be shared. Walk away from it and come back in a few days.
Mission statements were shared now and then, but mostly were internal facing, as they say in corporate, rather than to share with the world. Your manifesto is something to be shared proudly. As well it will inform your writing, product creation, how you do your work.
Not to mention that losing your mind is like going on vacation from all of the to-dos and concerns of being in business. Allowing you to focus on what moves you and what you want to change will change any stuckness into flow and provide good feels about why you keep doing this thing called business owner.
When you are clear and clearly in love with your unique purpose, your business will reflect that in the form of more powerful marketing.
And that can only mean more business, more clients, more opportunities to have your message be heard.