Do You Have A “Personal Manifesto”?

black leather wrapper with a block and blue pen on a rustic wooden table

As we cleaned up the house from the crazy mess that the holidays always create, my wife picked up a book from our bookshelf and started leafing through it.

The book is simply called 10. It’s written by Dan Zadra, founder of Compendium. It’s part inspirational text, part workbook. It’s basically a series of lists that you fill out to define who you are, what you want (and want to become), and what you can do to get there.
I had filled out the the book about a year ago, so it was interesting to look back and see what I was thinking about my life and the direction I was headed 12 months ago. Of course some if it still applies, some of it I have accomplished, and some things I have changed my mind about in the last 365 days (that’s ok, we’re allowed to do that).

Write Your Own Manifesto

One section that stood out to me was a challenge to write my “personal manifesto.” The book defines a manifesto as a “public proclamation of intention.” My manifesto is partly who I am and partly who I want to be. It’s a simple guiding statement about how I believe I need to think and act in order to have the impact I want to have. It’s basically my best advice to myself.

Although I’m about to share it with you, this is my manifesto and mine alone. It’s not intended to tell you a single thing that you should do. These are some of my guiding principles. They may match up to yours and they may not. That’s not the point. I’m sharing it with you because I found it to be a fun and powerful exercise that you might want to try after you see an example.

Creating a personal manifesto is worth doing at any time, but it’s definitely a great way to start out the new year. 

There are no specific instructions. I chose to make a list. You might choose to write a single paragraph or an entire essay. The only advice the book gives is to “make your manifesto a beautiful, crazy, wonderful ‘stretch document’. Let it remind you of how you intend to experience and savor the rest of your life.”

Here’s mine. I’d love to see yours if you decide to write one.


The Mark Henson Manifesto

1. Stop and be present often.

2. Always have a challenge.

3. Celebrate successes.

4. Look everyone in the eye.

5. Always offer a firm, welcoming handshake.

6. Explore interesting paths.

7. Wonder sometimes.

8. Call your parents.

9. Talk to your kids.

10. Never miss a game.

11. Show up to the things that are important to others.

12. Be generous with your time, but frugal with your promises.

13. Do what you say you’re going to do.

14. Listen.

15. Think big, act fast.

16. Play with others often.

17. Don’t wait for permission.

18. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

19. Smile.

20. Be aware of your impact.

21. Be as healthy as you can be.

22. Help someone every day.


That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll add to it over time. I find the longer I live, the more advice I need, ha ha!

If you were to write your own, what’s one thing you know for sure would be on your manifesto? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!



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