By Mark T Burke
Highly successful people have a clear compass that guides them forward. That compass is not only clear to them, but clear to others. It is visible, tangible, in sight at all times. Their beliefs and what they do each day, each minute, is manifest in a way that showcases the path you’ll take when working with them. They decisively guide themselves and those they work with using that compass on personal and organizational journeys. The compass eliminates distracting side trips yet allows for exploration and learning. That compass is their Manifesto.
Developing a written, personal manifesto is a fantastic way to sort through your personal beliefs and make choices about what really means the most to you in your work and personal life. A manifesto has a few key components.
An example of one of my beliefs is:
“Build beautiful things.”
I confess, this belief statement solidified for me after spending time reading and listening to Mr. Todd Henry, author of the Accidental Creative. By the way, he has a great post on the value of building a manifesto. And, it’s okay to borrow from others. In fact, we should.
Years before finding Todd Henry, I committed to building every product I could in a beautiful way. Now, before you start thinking that is some lofty belief there Mark. Well, look beyond the simple definition of “beautiful.”
“Build beautiful things” is my commitment to building products that are complete, finished. Whether I am building a training, or a PowerPoint, or a spreadsheet for a client, my commitment to that work is to build it COMPLETELY.
“Build beautiful things” is my commitment to building products that meet a need. That means I need to clearly understand the need and the expected end result. If I’m working for a client, I want to know that what I produce will help them, serve a purpose and benefit their organization. If what I build becomes a file in storage or a product on a shelf, we have more work to do.
“Build beautiful things” is my commitment to building things with design and human interaction in mind. Functionality is an aspect of beauty that pushes me to create items that people like to interact with.
As you can see, a belief means a lot. The commitments and the principles develop naturally from the belief statements as you further share each belief. Let’s deconstruct one of my statements above.
“Build beautiful things” (Belief) is my commitment to building products that meet a need. (Commitment)
- That means I need to clearly understand the need and the expected end result.
- If I’m working for a client, I want to know that what I produce will help them, serve a purpose and benefit their organization.
- If what I build becomes a file in storage or a product on a shelf, we have more work to do.
Manifesto work is ongoing. A few years ago, I adopted the Serious eLearning Manifesto. I won’t go into details here. You can read all about those who authored it and promoted it from their website. A copy of the complete manifesto hangs on my office wall beside my desk. Throughout my days, I refer to it often as a way to focus my thoughts, to stay the course. It is a compass that guides me.
Over the last few months, I’ve had a deeper desire to firm up MYMANIFESTO. This will be my personal / professional manifesto guiding my work as I continue my journey. I encourage everyone to think about the value of building your own manifesto, your own compass. If you do, please share.