I have something to confess. As I was preparing to host my Intention-Setting & Vision-Boarding workshop a few months ago, I took a long hard look at my own belief in the power of manifestation. I admit my faith had been rattled, and I needed to dig in deep before I could share these ideas with a crowd. So I did. I re-read my journals, and reviewed 4 years worth of vision boards. I contemplated the ways in which my path has twisted and turned and magically smoothed itself out as I’ve traveled down it. And here is what I found. It’s a how-to list based solely on my own experiences - stories which I am sharing so you can decide for yourself what to make of it.
Get clear on what you want. Even if it’s a goal way out into the future and seems completely impossible, consider with excruciating detail the life you’re working towards. Keep in mind, however, that your vision may change over time. Don’t get too attached to any particular goal, allow yourself room to flux.
...When I set out for a different kind of job in NYC, I got clear on what I was looking for: something in Brooklyn that I could bike to, preferably a startup that does something I give a shit about, where I could spend my days with like-minded people. I literally said this out loud, and wrote it down. I applied for a wide range of things and just as I was nearing the end of my rope, I found a cool company by pursuing my own interests, cold-emailed the owner, and happened to show up in her inbox the same week she lost her previous employee. We met, hit it off, and she offered me a job: in Brooklyn, about a 20-minute bike ride from home, at a small natural skincare company, working with people that have become friends, share my values, and who I’ve learned a tremendous amount from.
Make space. Get rid of anything that’s not supporting your goal. Stop hanging with your ex, let go of limiting beliefs, and create time in your life for whatever you want to come your way. In some cases, this space will be made for you, but it is much easier to do it on your terms and send the message that you are ready.
...When I quit my job in downtown Manhattan I knew I wanted a completely different life, but had no idea how to get there. Within minutes of telling my boss I quit, I received an email announcing my Barcelona yoga studio’s teacher training. Of course this felt like a big fat message and the thing I was supposed to do, but I didn’t see how I could afford it. I was reluctant to borrow money to do the training; I’d found a waitressing job and thought I ought to “buckle down” and make it work in NYC for the summer. The yoga studio owner offered me several discounts, and a friend offered me a free place to stay. Feeling torn, I spent a day in the park just sitting with this big decision and started leaning towards going. Literally the very next day, I was fired from my waitressing job for no apparent reason (other than, obviously, to go to Barcelona).
Don’t worry about the “how”. Ooph, this is the toughest one for me. I’m a planner and like to know exactly how something’s gonna play out. Furthermore, the logical side of me often doesn’t see how A can ever connect to B. Let this go; detach from the how.
…Upon going to Barcelona, I had no plan for after the one-month training, but told my friends before leaving that I might just stay in Europe this time. Mostly driven by my relationship with a [European] guy, I’d put this intention “out there” thinking that he’d be my reason for staying. Our relationship ended halfway through my training; I knew it was the right decision, but was totally freaked out by the prospect of returning to NYC and sad to see my dreams of staying in Europe die. Just two days after we said a long, emotional goodbye, I was offered a job…in Spain.
Believe, believe, believe. Move forward with certainty – a serious conviction – that it’s going to happen. Don’t question how, just know in your heart that it will.
…After three months of working in Spain, I decided it was time to get back here and figure shit out. I had no money, no job, and no idea what to do. I landed in NYC and got to work – sending out resumes, going on interviews, finding random jobs I could do for bits of cash. I worked very hard to keep the faith that things would work out, and as I did, I was tossed life vest after life vest. When my bank balance got low, a chunk of money would come through like magic. Time after time, I patched it together, and lived in NYC unemployed for over three months.
Just keep moving forward! Notice as the path is laid out in front of you, and keep taking that next step, no matter how small and no matter how unrelated it may seem to your goal. Work with what you have; you cannot stay stagnant and expect things to happen.
…In addition to doing everything I could to make things work – picking up random jobs, going on interviews – my sister and I ignored our unsteady income streams and signed a lease for a new apartment in the middle of these three unemployed months. (To be clear: she was also jobless at the time.) We weren’t really sure how it’d work, but we knew this was our apartment, and that we’d figure it out somehow (spoiler: we did).
To me, the most fun part of manifestation is the tools you can employ...
Visualize yourself having reached your goal, imagine the sights, sounds, and feelings, every detail as if you’ve already arrived there. I love this one because it’s basically an excuse to daydream :)
…When I was contemplating the decision to go back to Barcelona, I was also “coincidentally” working on a blog post about my previous time there, which brought me back to the sounds, smells, and feelings of being there (an inadvertent exercise in visualization).
Use affirmations to convince yourself. Or, at the very least, watch your own language around your goals. Are you always saying, “I’ll never meet a guy,” or “I’m so broke”? Well, you are reaffirming these facts to be true. Stop drilling this into your head! Try to stay positive and focus on what you do have right now, and more of that good will come your way.
…When I was living in NYC unemployed for a few months, I’d repeat the affirmation “I have all the money I need right now,” and it became true with patches of money swooping in right when I needed them.
Vision boards are flat out fun to make and can get you super inspired. I like to spend several hours on mine, possibly with a good friend and a bottle of red. They are great reminders of our goals and can help us get clear on what we’re aiming for, but are merely a craft project if there’s none of the other work behind them.
…You might wonder if things from vision boards really do manifest into reality. I’ve heard some pretty amazing stories and would love to believe them to be true. I focus more on ideas and feelings on my vision boards, and less hoping for exact images to show up in my life, but have seen some strong similarities in the images I’ve pasted and scenes from my real life. One in particular really strikes me. It was a little sketch I did as part of a vision-boarding exercise back in early 2013. It was an image I’d had in my head for some time: me sitting on a rocky cliff, looking out over a big beautiful, open landscape. It signified me finding peace and calm; maybe finding myself. I hadn’t thought of it in years (although I know I still have the sketch somewhere), until I was working on my website (at the end of 2015) and examining the image I used for my main page: I love this photo of me standing on a rocky cliff, looking out over a big beautiful, open landscape. I took this photo in Spain, overlooking the Mediterranean and the town of Albir, the place where my life truly changed and I found peace, calm, and – one could argue – myself. It goes to show that we don’t have control over how long these things take, and I couldn’t have had any idea in 2013 that I’d spend so much time in Spain, that I’d ever discover the small town of Albir, or that ANY of this massive change would happen. I drew that sketch because I had this image kinda burned into my mind, and then forgot all about it.
So after careful review, my faith in manifestation was restored, and I went on to lead my workshop with enthusiasm. But I realize it’s not as simple as some people make it out to be. You can’t just think about a pile of cash super hard and expect it to appear. It takes massive amounts of trust and conviction; it takes letting go; and oftentimes, it takes very scary leaps of faith.
What are you ready to manifest? Which tool resonates most with you and what steps are you prepared to take to make it happen?! Share in the comments below!
Want some help getting clear on what you really want, and to start making shit happen for yourself? Get in touch to set up a [free] 30-minute coaching call and I'll take you through the steps from my workshop, one-on-one.