I recently made the decision to rekindle my interest in art, more specifically, drawing with coloured pencils. As a result I found myself sorting through some old art supplies which had been in storage. As I was flipping through the pages of one of my sketch books, three pages fell to the ground.
My fiancée was with me and was eager to see what was in the book, so I quickly snatched them up just in case they were something embarrassing ;-)
Turns out they were, kind of. Scribbled with a Sharpie pen on the back of some sheet music I read the following (edited slightly for clarity):
NO MORE EXCUSES!
You know what you want. You know what you need. Just do it. Commit. Take risks. Be crazy.
You have NOTHING to lose!
Follow you heart and trust your gut and things will start to happen. Don’t cling to what you have, it’s not what you want anyway. If it seems crazy, all the more reason to try it! It just might work, and if it doesn’t, try something else.
Don’t give a damn what people think. In the end most people don’t care what you do, but you might end up impressing them anyway. No one respects a person who talks big but doesn’t act.
You DO NOT have all the time in the world. But you have all the potential in the world. Your time is finite, your potential is not. Waste neither!
When you think of a great idea, or something clever, witty or funny, write it down. Ideas are fleeting, don’t squander them.
Trust your instincts, they are usually right.
Be brave, be a leader. You have something to say, and the world will listen if you create the opportunity.
Knock ‘em dead!
I remember writing those words. It was a long time ago, long enough that I don’t exactly remember how long. I wrote them in the middle of the night after having awoken for reasons I don’t remember.
I never thought about the words, they just flowed out of me. I wrote down the words almost as quickly as they poured out of my mind. It was a moment of complete and utter clarity. They were written after having awoken from a dead sleep, when my sub-conscious was in control and my mind was still mostly asleep and unable to filter, pollute or moderate my thoughts.
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This was my inner truth, released and exposed.
And then, for some reason, I folded it up and tucked the pages into my sketchbook never to look at them again until this evening.
Now, having re-discovered those words all these years later it is clear to me what they were. They were the words of my midnight manifesto.
The personal mission statement
Recently I was reading “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey, and one of the topics he covers is the need to write a personal mission statement. Like a missions statement for a business, a personal missions statement is a set of principles and ideals by which you intend to live.
When I was reading that part of the book I found myself thinking about my personal mission statement and what I would write. No surprisingly, my thinking got in the way of me actually creating anything. So I made the decision to set aside the personal missions statement with the belief that it would come to me when the time was right.
What I didn’t realize was that the time had been right several years ago, and that the midnight manifesto was my personal mission statement, already written and waiting to be re-discovered. Granted, it wasn’t perfect, nothing ever is, and I could see some aspects of it that I wanted to change or update. The words of the midnight manifesto are impactful for sure, but they are external, almost as if I am lecturing myself. With that in mind I decided to re-write them from a place of power and intention, and this is what I came up with:
I make no excuses. I am responsible for my own life, and I accept that responsibility.
I know what I want. I know what I need. I am committed. I take risks, even if they seem crazy, and I do what needs to be done.
I know that I have nothing to lose by being true to myself.
I follow my heart and trust my instincts. I don’t cling to the past. I am not discouraged by failure, I see it as an opportunity to try something else.
I don’t give a damn what people think.
My time is finite, but my potential is limitless. I waste neither.
I respect the value of my ideas, my wit, and my sense of humour. I ensure they are not squandered.
I am brave, and I am a leader. I will create the opportunities to share what I have to say with the world.
It’s still not perfect, nothing ever is. It is a work in progress, just like life. But I have transformed it from a rant to a declaration, which is infinitely more powerful.
Now, why not write your own midnight manifesto?