Writing down what matters most

Writing down what matters most

It was October 2012. I’d had a challenging year, both professionally and health-wise. I decided to head off to Barcelona for a few days for some sunshine, to do some work and to see a friend. On my last day in the city, I was walking around and stumbled across Cafe Cosmo on Carrer d'Enric Granados. It was busy and buzzy. I instantly felt at home there. As I sat with my espresso I got out my notepad and without thinking, started a list. I headed it ‘My Charter’ and there and then quickly cranked out a list of twenty dos and don’ts. I hadn’t planned to write it, but there was something about the vibe in Cafe Cosmo. I suddenly got the focus and clarity to articulate what mattered most in my working life: I had created a manifesto.

I think of a manifesto as a compass. It captures what you stand for; what makes you tick; what you will and won’t do; your leadership style; the ingredients that fuel your best work. It’s like chiselling into stone your beliefs and values. It stands there strong and immutable, a guide to remind you who you are and which will help you navigate your paths and choices in life. 

And sharing your manifesto, whether you’re a leader in a new role or you’re a founder of a growing business, can strengthen the emotional engagement with your team, colleagues and clients. It lifts the lid on you, on what you’re about, your purpose and what you stand for.

Last month I ran a workshop for people who’d taken the leap to work for themselves. Operating in a climate of freedom and autonomy means they get to shape their own working practices and culture. They get to think about how to run their work lives just as they want to. And producing a manifesto was a great way to get down on paper those elements they wanted to see - and those they didn’t -  in their freelance lives. How freely the ideas flowed. They reminded me to review my own and see if anything needs changing (although looking back over mine now, most are the same as seven years ago). Here I share with permission a couple from the day, from Terin and Alistair - I think these are wonderful.

What are the things that really matter in your life? The rules you live by, the essential dos and don’ts? Do you have them written down in one place? No?! Use Terin’s and Alistair’s as a kickstart and get cracking with your own!


I get fired up by helping others find their fuel. If you’re a business leader and need help crafting your own manifesto come on one of my walk n’ talk Fuel Safaris, where I provide an outsider pair of eyes and ears so you get clarity.

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