Writing a Manifesto

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Writing a Manifesto

Manifesto (manəˈfestō) noun: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of an individual, group, or political party.

“…Or political party.” Eeeek. No politics here. We have enough of that going on in the news. But, it is true, when I hear the word “manifesto” I do traditionally think of politicians, thought leaders, and movements – those most notable being the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Whether you are launching a business or operating a business on the cusp of greatness, writing a manifesto may fill a void you didn’t even realize was there.

So, what is the modern day version of a manifesto? And, what is the benefit of writing one?

A manifesto is a powerful reminder of who you are and why you are here.

It is a concise, distilled statement of beliefs and/or imperatives that best represent you, your organization, or your goals. It can and should be easily referenced to help you quickly review your central tenants.

Don’t be daunted. This project can and should be edited along the way. At the very least while writing a manifesto try to keep two goals in mind.

  1. BE HONEST
  2. DON’T HOLD BACK

As a solopreneur, marketing guru, and leadership coaching junkie, I recently wrote a manifesto for my business, BetterBridge Strategies. You can read the full text here.

BetterBridge Strategies Manifesto

  • Always take the meeting.
  • Look for the unique story.
  • Listen thoughtfully and be present with each interaction.
  • Ask “why” and “why not.”
  • Cultivate relationships with a humble, willing heart.
  • Infuse a little bit of me in each project.
  • Be patient – plan my work & work my plan.
  • Find the funny. Laughter is infectious.
  • Take a risk. Fear not. 
  • Give unselfishly of what I have learned; I cannot take it with me when I’m gone.  

During the process of crafting my Manifesto, I took away the following tips you may find useful as you begin this written journey:

Free Bird: Let your manifesto take its own shape. If paragraphs are your style, go with that. If you like a linear, logical approach maybe numbering or bullet points will work. If you are artistic (not me) you may want your final version to be a graphic print. A manifesto has no length; it can be as long or short as you’d like. Challenge yourself to spend an hour or two and really distill your thoughts. As with many things in life, the more you put in, the more you will get out.

Look No Further: Chances are you already enact many of the values you will use in your manifesto. You don’t have to look far. Think about what sets you apart and makes you unique. Think about what is important in your daily life. Consult people, books, songs, quotes, etc. that are particularly meaningful to you. Think about those concepts or truisms and let those be a framework for you. Likely the ideals already shared in those places are meaningful and thus may help shape your manifesto.

Don’t Stop: Ask, “Is there anywhere else in my life where a manifesto would serve a purpose?” Perhaps you are in need of a manifesto in your personal life – with a spouse, for a family, or to further refine a life goal.

Not So Quick: Before you settle on a final version, check your work and consider combining certain ideas into common themes. Streamline so that your end product is so concise that it is easily reviewable.

Front & Center: Most importantly, once you’ve completed your manifesto – put it somewhere you can consult regularly. Post it to your Instagram, set it as a desktop screensaver, go old-school and hang it on the fridge. Share with an “accountability” friend or colleague. Make a standing date for coffee or adult beverage to review your manifestos together and make sure you are on the right path.

A final thought…

Remind yourself of these aspirations and inspirations. This isn’t meant to be a “to do” list, but a “try to do” list.


AshleighResetarits Ashleigh was born in Buffalo, New York and is a proud Indianapolis transplant. She completed her undergraduate studies at Syracuse University (’03), a Masters at the University of Kansas (’05), and earned her Juris Doctor at Indiana University – McKinney School of Law (’08). Ashleigh built BetterBridge Strategies on the power of storytelling. She assists clients to frame ideas that will make a meaningful impact on their employees, communities and consumers. Connect with her on Twitter @ashleigh720.

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