Submitted by Bonnie Kowaliuk, BA, BMT, MBA, MTA, RSW, Senses Mindfulness Coaching
Photo by Roman Odintsov
As kids, they tell us to dream BIG, aim for the stars, and remember that “the sky’s the limit!” But adulthood hits us with a brutal reality—ambition is only part of the equation.
Worry, self-doubt, and the chaos of our busy lives of leaders can get in the way of their plans. Add global crises, media noise, and growing responsibilities, and you get a recipe for setbacks.
As a leader of teams, you may be clear on what you want but struggle to take action & integrate your well-being vision within your workplace. Maybe you are focused on doing so much that you lose sight of the meaning behind those efforts. Or you might have both the meaning and the doing parts figured out, but external stressors make it difficult to hold on to faith and stay consistent.
In any case, how can leaders stick to their dreams, nurture the seeds within teams and bring them to fruition?
Leaders can manifest.
What Is Manifesting?
Manifesting refers to making a goal or aspiration a reality with your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviours. It means attracting something you want into your life by aligning your positive mindset, intention, and actions.
As a leader in both your personal and professional life, you may be manifesting experiences without realizing them. As cognitive behavioural therapy states, your thoughts influence your emotions and behaviours. If you think about something you want, you may feel excited and act to achieve it. Conversely, if you identify any problematic thoughts keeping you from your goals, you may shift them to help you get there.
Manifesting can not only get you closer to your milestones but may have significant effects on your mental and physical well-being. According to Mayo Clinic, positive thinking may support stress management, reduce levels of depression and pain, and provide coping strategies during hardship, among other benefits.
How Does Manifesting Work?
Some psychotherapists define manifesting as a combination of quantum physics, neuroplasticity, and confirmation bias.
There is also a visualization component. A review of the brain’s construction system suggests the ability to imagine or pre-experience hypothetical events may provide an advantage in planning for the future and “afford greater accuracy in predicting its eventual outcome.”
This research also notes that “being able to accurately and richly mentally enact possible future states before making a decision would help to evaluate the desirability of different outcomes and also the planning processes needed to make them happen.” In other words, visualizing an outcome before acting can help us assess how much we want it and figure out the steps needed to actualize it.
Yet, manifesting is not merely wishful thinking or visualizing a bright future. It requires conscious effort, focus, and determination. It’s about embracing an abundance mindset, genuinely believing you are worthy of your desires, and acting in alignment with whom you want to become.
As author Gabrielle Bernstein brilliantly says in Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, “as soon as I allow the Universe to replace my fear-based beliefs with new perceptions, I receive a miracle.”
But how can you practically do this? Where do you start?
5 Steps to Manifest What You Want
1) Set Your Intention for Leading a Thriving Work Culture
What would you like to manifest? Start by setting a clear intention.
Think about your life right now. Then look ahead and reflect on the future you envision:
What do you want your work-life culture to be?
Who and how will you mentor what you want to become?
What do you want to accomplish when it comes to the culture you are striving towards?
How do you and your team want to feel from a holistic health perspective?
Be as honest and detailed as possible.
2) Put It on Paper
As you think about your intention, write it all down. Grab a notebook and put it all on paper, or type it on your favourite note app. Let yourself express what you yearn for and all the thoughts and emotions that arise.
If you are a visual person, draw, paint, or create a vision board with images and phrases. Hang your drawing or board where you will see it every day. You can also create a digital version and use it as a screensaver on your devices.
Find the medium that speaks to you and reference it regularly.
3) Identify SMART Goals
Define the SMART wellness goals that will lead you to your intention.
SMART goals are:
Let’s say you intend to exercise more and you enjoy running. Your SMART goal breakdown could be:
Specific = I will start running during the week this summer.
Measurable = I will measure my goal by tracking my runs on a running app.
Achievable = I will achieve my goal by running 5 km daily, at least three days a week, after work.
Relevant = My running goal is relevant to my intention of doing more exercise.
Time-based = I will start my running schedule on June 21st (beginning of summer), measuring my progress every week until September 22nd (end of summer). By then, I will reassess and adjust my goal accordingly.
Inevitably, you will experience setbacks so make sure to think of any barriers before you run into them and create a plan to overcome them.
4) Take Action
Manifesting is about taking intentional, concrete, and bold moves.
Press play on your SMART goals and turn them into habits. Incorporate them into your daily routine and make them effortless. In our running example, this could mean getting your running shoes and clothes ready, setting calendar reminders, having someone hold you accountable, and curating running playlists.
And when challenges come up or motivation starts to drop, ask yourself: What would my future self do?
Revisit your intention. Read your first manifesting journal entries or look at your vision board. Reflect on how far you’ve come and reconnect with your WHY.
5) Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to engage in the present moment without judgment. It’s about noticing your thoughts, emotions, actions, and surroundings and welcoming them as they are.
When you are mindful, you open yourself up to connect with your inner and outer worlds. This may help you gain valuable insight, accept what you can and cannot control, and let go of limiting perspectives to support your manifesting process.
You can embrace mindfulness by:
Meditating: Visualize your desired outcome. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? What are you seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, or touching? Do a visualization meditation and let your senses take you on a journey.
Practice gratitude: Acknowledge your progress and be thankful for where you are. Spend a few minutes journaling about this first thing in the morning or before bed.
Giving yourself some grace: When your inner critic comes knocking, listen to it, note the distorted beliefs that may emerge, and respond with kindness. Talk to yourself as you would a friend and counter your negative voice with compassion.
Remember: It’s Not About Perfection
As a leader, navigate your manifesting journey and try to resist your perfectionist mindset. The idea is not to achieve the perfect result but to move towards your goals with purpose while learning about yourself. Check the progress within the workplace, celebrate wellness wins, and reframe “failures” as “opportunities” to reassess and grow to improve the workplace well-being space and presence.
If you have difficulty manifesting, you may think it’s your fault or you are not doing enough. This may cause a great deal of anxiety and low self-worth. Unforeseen challenges and forces outside your control may prevent you from reaching your objectives (e.g., wars, systemic barriers, discrimination). Find a balance between aiming for success, changing the things you can, and coping with those you cannot.
And if a painful experience is holding you back (e.g., childhood trauma, loss, illness), seek professional help. Sometimes facing our hardships can unlock our potential to manifest our future.
If you or your loved ones need help setting a clear intention or starting manifesting, I’m here for you. Senses Mindfulness Coaching offers different coaching options, workshops, and retreats to support your journey to a purposeful life.
Contact email@example.com or 403-519-1959, today to book a free discovery call.
About the Author
Bonnie Kowaliuk is an eclectic mindfulness coach and transformational leadership consultant with background designations as a registered social worker, accredited music therapist and workplace leadership consultant with an MBA in leadership, who over the course of the past 13 years has been exploring brain-based approaches to learning, transformational leadership, health and wellness. She recently completed her designation as a Fellow of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music which employs music-integrated mindfulness and psychotherapeutic approaches to help address a range of issues from health and wellness to optimal learning and performance.
Bonnie is a CTI certified coach and is in process of completing her Certification in Mindfulness via Royal Roads. As a lifelong learner & change catalyst, she hopes to aspire growth, change and evolution in others and in organizations through her own example and her love to learn, live authentically and discover her true self. Bonnie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.sensesmindfulness.com.