I have been working on a Declaration of Independence. Actually, it’s more like a Declaration of This Is My Life, Dammit.
All this because I told the participants of my Right People Clinic that helping your Right People understand that they are, in fact, your Right People, is all about being clear.
Well, not having to be clear or anything. More like making room for things to get clear. Or clear-er.
What I really mean by being clear.
Being clear about what you stand for and what you care about and what you will not put up with, dammit.
Being clear and using the word dammit as often as possible, dammit. If only just in your head.
Oh, and let me say that yes, dammit is the most important word when you’re manifesto-ing it up, and ideally every sentence ends with it.*
Even though it can really just be implied.
*Like this: “My business is about helping people, dammit!”
Writing it down.
Think of your manifesto-ey thing as a big yeah-baby declaration of what you believe in and what you will not put up with.
Obviously, you can call it whatever you want. A declaration. A list of “here are my principles”. A battle cry.
The point is: people know where you stand. You know where you stand.
Harder than it sounds?
Hahahahaha. Oh, absolutely. For me, at least.
I’ve been running up against all kinds of stucknesses trying to write mine.
So. Here were my general guidelines for writing one, in case it helps:
1. No one has to read this. Ever.
The stuff in my Declaration of Being Fabulously Independent is for me. It’s for my clarity.
My being clear on stuff — and the experience of getting closer to this sense of clarity — will help me connect with my Right People whether or not I ever declare my Declaration of Things I Declare out loud.
2. I am allowed to be as ridiculous with it as I want.
If one of the things on my List Of Points That Define The Way My Business And My Life Function is that Billy Joel (Glass Houses-era) is my mentor, or that I jump on my trampoline-thing when people annoy me, fine.
And it’s a legitimate thing to stand for.
Not everything in the I Can’t Touch My Manifestoes has to be especially (or even slightly) deep or powerful or meaningful.
It just doesn’t.
That’s because it’s my Declaration of This Is How I Do Stuff And Baby That’s How It Is, and therefore everything on it belongs there.
3. I can take inspiration from anywhere I like.
I always think of my friend Pam Slim’s excellent take on this — like her super-inspiring screw-you Open Letter To CEOs, which still gives me the chills.
Or like this: (man, this was ages ago – I can’t believe I’ve been reading her blog for almost four years)
“I promote liberation from oppressive environments, relationships, limiting beliefs and unhealthy lifestyles. I live my life consistent with this value and encourage my clients to do the same.”
Or there’s Chris’s brief guide to world domination that does something similar.
And I definitely take inspiration from Mark who leads by example and plays frisbee in the middle of the day, and mixes Sufism into his business biggification teaching.
Pretty much anything that helps me feel inspired to do my own thing and do it my way is useful here.
Havi’s Partial and Temporary List of Things That Might Belong in A Declaration of Something … Uh, Dammit.
- I don’t have a resume.
- My business partner is a duck.
- I retain the right to do business in my pajamas.
- Nothing can make me go to Las Vegas.
- I refuse to have a desk. I don’t like desks. That’s why my desk is a chaise lounge.
- I shouldn’t have to wait for an impending break-down to take a day off.
- I am a writer, even if that’s sometimes hard for me to say. And Writer Me gets treated with respect.
- I always have permission to go do a few minutes of Shiva Nata.
- Emotional manipulation in business is icky. I won’t do it. I don’t care how many people say it’s “just part of business”. To hell with that.
- I refuse to write “promotional emails” to a list. Or any emails, to anyone. But definitely not promotional ones.
- Actually, I don’t want to sell anything.*
- If I want to wear a tiara while on the phone, no one can stop me.
* I don’t mind having stuff that people can buy, as I’ve mentioned. But I’m not going to push it. I don’t have to. And I won’t. At most, I’ll mention on the blog that hey, I’m doing a thing. But not for more than maybe a paragraph.
** All together now: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
As far as I can tell, the essential thing in this whole process — like every other thing we’re working on — is about meeting yourself where you are.
Which means …
- Not making it be about where you wish you were.
- Or at least noticing that hey, I’m making it about that again …
- Reminding yourself: “Yeah. Even though I’m not there yet, this is what I’m working on right now.”
In practice, meeting yourself where you are also means fitting the items in your List Of Stuff You Stand For to what you’re actually doing right now.
So if you’re stuck doing something you hate, your Declaration of Things That Are Really Important To You might be more about themes of independence.
And what you need right now. And how you’re going to be interacting with those themes and needs.
If you’re doing what you want to be doing, you can do this too, of course. And you might also find yourself adding on things like this:
I will never go through a job interview again. You can’t make me. And I’m not going to.
Anyway, you get to play with it. You get to skip the parts that are too stressful. You get to have fun.
Ideally, your Hey I Have Things To Say About My Life And How It Works Statement is something that makes you feel better about things, and not something that’s completely depressing and horrible.
Play with me?
Mine is extremely incomplete. A work in progress. Very in progress.
But it’s a start. It’s tiny little glimpses of clarity and direction. Which is useful.
Anyway, I guess my point is ignore the bits that aren’t useful for you and do the parts that do help you have fun with it.
And if you want to share bits and pieces of your own Declaration of Things That Make It A Glorrrrrious Day (or thoughts about the process) that would be lovely. Yay!
Comment zen, as usual, is as follows:
We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We’re practicing.