Can you manifest a better work year?
Good times, without the grind
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Happy new year, Colleague!
I hope you had a restful break and are feeling slightly less exhausted than at the end of December. I could do with a month off to make a dent in my Christmas book pile, but trying to enjoy a slow start to January.
The last Out Of Office accountability session of 2021 was lovely (more info on these at the end), and everyone very gamely agreed to my suggestion of a round of applause that we’d all managed to weather self-employment for the second year of a pandemic — and I would like to extend this applause to you, too. It’s easy to lose sight of just what an achievement that is.
Today I wanted to use January’s letter to encourage the gentlest type of goal-setting: manifestation.
As with most things mystical – like horoscopes or tarot – there are at least a couple of ways of looking at it. You might be a spiritual person, who believes in a literal way that by asking the universe to provide a specific thing, it can be ushered into your life. But the good news is that – for those of us who are more sceptical – there are still several benefits to manifesting.
Firstly, it helps you identify your goals, and get really specific in the details, which in turn often helps to break down a task and make it seem achievable.
Secondly, you know that thing that happens when someone mentions something to you – a TV show, say – and then you suddenly become aware of adverts for it, or hear someone else talking about it? Manifesting is similar — it’s about becoming aware of opportunities, contacts or signposts that might have been there all along, but passed by unnoticed before.
(In fact, as an experiment, let’s try that now: ‘miniature pony’. Let me know if you randomly end up seeing or hearing something about tiny ponies in the next week…)
Whatever your beliefs, having a crack at manifesting is a fun way to spend a sluggish January morning. At worst, you’ll spend some time imagining your dream life, and at best you’ll make it a reality.
I spoke to Sarah Sienkiewicz, who runs Healing Business, about how to manifest for the new year. “Manifesting can be done in a goal-setting or a spiritual way,” says Sarah. “It’s about paying attention and being intentional.”
Sarah starts by asking:
How would I like 2022 to be in my business?
What’s working now? What could be better?
“The more specific you are, the better, and the more measurable your success will be. For a basic example, if you say: ‘I want more money’, well that could just mean finding £5 on the floor, but saying: ‘I want to earn X in a year’, that’s measurable.”
The nuts and bolts of manifesting
Writing things down is ideal — Sarah developed a business planner for this exact purpose. “Write down the vision: what’s my goal, and what do I need to do to make that happen? Break it down into steps,” says Sarah.
But don’t forget that, as well as requiring effort on your part, manifesting is also more than what happens on paper. In spending time with your ambitions in this way you’re opening up to possibility, so you don’t need to get as bogged down in the details or problem-solving as you might with more traditional goal-setting exercises. As mentioned before, it’s either a helping hand from the universe, or simply switching on the part of your brain that notices things, depending on your beliefs.
Put it out there
“Don’t forget to tell people about your goals — you might meet someone who can help you make a connection,” says Sarah. “Talking about your goals, or keeping a visual representation (an affirmation or vision board, perhaps) to hand will all help keep it in mind.”
Then it’s about trusting the process. “I’ve had things on my vision board that I’ve forgotten about, and come back to find that it’s worked,” says Sarah. “I’ve done it with my annual income, and got a contract which meant I hit it. I was recently thinking I’d love to do more networking and the next day was invited to a networking group. Someone there introduced me to someone else…it’s about following those threads.”
After all, Oprah does it, and it’s clearly worked out ok for her.
For me, personally, I have a couple of seedlings that I want to nurture this year, both professionally and personally. Sometimes I almost don’t dare admit to these desires, because there have been previous passion projects or work ideas that haven’t worked out, and it’s knocked my confidence. I want to be the ‘woman who follows through’ on things, rather than the ‘falls at the first hurdle’ type, so I keep my mouth shut a little more each year. I hold my dreams in looser and looser palms, until I’m not even sure what they are any more.
But it’s that kind of attitude that makes us eventually dampen our passions and lose interest in work. (I’m imagining Marge Simpson in an uncharacteristically dejected moment, when she tells Lisa to ‘Aim low. Aim so low that no one will even care if you succeed’.)
Perhaps even if you aren’t ready to speak it out loud, this is the year that you admit to - and revel in - your dream work goals.
Here’s to asking for what we want (and getting it) in 2022.
Don’t forget, for just £1 a month you can come along to our accountability meetings (last Friday of the month, 11am UK time) and meet the friendliest bunch of freelancers you’re ever likely to encounter. More info here. Plus, first visit is free, so what have you got to lose? Hit reply if you want in.
Another way to connect is joining the OOO Facebook group, which is a safe and private space.