Before I get started, I wanted to let you know that Thursday is the last day you can sign up for A Life of Words, my author mentoring programme designed to help authors figure out their audience and create a plan to connect with them online. You can find out all the details here, and can drop me an email at any time if you have questions about it.
“Please tell me you aren’t going to talk about manifestation,” my (former! I am now fully freelance! More on that below) boss said to me last week. Sorry, Bethan, I’m going to talk about manifestation.
Well, sort of. I have read a whole bunch of books that have manifestation at their core. But I’m not going to recommend you read any of those books, as I had at least one bone to pick with every single one that I read. I actually do believe that manifestation is a powerful tool, but have a whole heap of qualifiers to add to that statement.
The universe is not vibrating around your unique & special thoughts
I fully believe that there is a lot that science doesn’t know about. But I really, really, really don’t think science is ever going to discover that there is some life force swooping around all of us, listening out to our thoughts, waiting for us to vibrate our energy toward making more money than we could possibly think of, and then sending us a winning lottery ticket. I’m pretty sure the universe doesn’t care what you do. If there is a life force, like God, or Allah, or whoever, I’m pretty sure getting you rich is not on their list or priorities. Sorry.
Bad thoughts don’t necessarily lead to bad things
I mean, there is some truth to this. If I have a crappy day, come home in a bad mood, then I’m more likely to be impatient with my kids, more likely to start an argument with my husband, and maybe that could lead to bad things. A bad mood at work could lead to you not doing your job well, which could lead to you getting sacked, etc.
But I think there’s a very dangerous undercurrent to this kind of thinking, because it often suggests that by having negative thoughts, you are preventing good things from happening. I call bullshit.
Bad thoughts lead to bad things happening when you let them result in bad behaviour. And focusing on the negative can stop you from doing good things, that much is true. But it’s impossible to police your thoughts all the time. You can do work to encourage positivity, but anyone who says they only think good thoughts is either lying or high (or psychotic!)
However, I do believe in the power of positive thinking
I had to put down a book recently, because it suggested that people with chronic, difficult to diagnose illnesses, could be cured if they cleared their mental blocks. Again, that is some unscientific bullshit.
But when it comes to things you can control, mindset makes a huge difference.
For example, let’s talk about launching my freelance business. To launch this successfully, I have had to do a lot of work around my mindset when it comes to money.
‘I can’t charge that much’ ‘Why would someone pay me to do that for them?’ ‘There is no way I will ever make enough to pay for our mortgage, bills and general life’ ‘I can’t do this on my own, I need to get a proper job.’
Do any of those sound familiar? Well, they’re all very familiar to me, as these are the thoughts that plagued me for months when I started to launch my side projects.
The fact of the matter is that people are willing to pay for services they aren’t able to do themselves for whatever reason. They are willing to pay for people to teach them how to do things. People will pay for all sorts of things.
I offer something I am good at to other people who are less good at it. What I charge is in line with the market, and also makes sense for me in terms of what my financial needs are. Why am I so stressed out about charging my worth?
It’s taken a huge amount of work on my mindset to be able to do this! I am part of a group coaching programme, I have a co-mentor who I talk to about this stuff a couple of times a month, I read a lot of personal development books and I have a list of affirmations that I look at multiple times a day.
It all makes a difference, and is helping me be more confident in terms of what I’m doing on the work front, but also in all sorts of other areas I struggle in, like being a calm parent and not yelling at my husband every day.
(PS: I feel like affirmations are often used as a film trope to suggest that someone is crazy or deluded. Guys, using affirmations is scientifically proven to change your internal dialogue. If you want to change the story your brain tells itself about any aspect of yourself, you should be doing affirmations.)
You have to put in the work
And this, out of all of the above, is the biggest one out there. It’s no use thinking positively, writing down what you want to happen, working on your mindset, etc, if you don’t actually do the things to get you to where you want to be.
Write out your goals, but also figure out what steps you need to take to get there. Can those steps be broken down into tiny actions? When are you going to do those things by?
Is it manifestation? Or is it white privilege?
I saw a meme of this the other day, and it made me laugh. In one of the books I am not going to recommend to you, the woman gives an example of manifestation in action. She wants some insane amount of money ($80k, if memory serves) to work with a business coach over the course of a year. She writes it down and then vibrates on that amount of money. She focuses all of her energy on it. She talks to everyone she meets about it. Then, lo and behold, an aunt calls her (“out of the blue”) and tells her she’d like to give her that exact amount of money.
First of all: How do I get a coaching gig where someone pays me EIGHTY THOUSAND dollars to work with me (and I worry about my rates!?). But second of all – that money was not manifested. That money came from having rich relatives! Would someone without a rich aunt have come to the same result by following the same process? Maybe, but don’t blame me for being incredibly dubious.
I mean, this woman has literally written a book about manifestation, and that’s one of the best examples she can come up with!? Come on.
Sometimes things feel like manifestation, but they are just your privilege working for you.
I believe in abundance. I believe that there is enough work out there for me and my peers, that there is money all around me.
But then, I’ve always had enough. I know that if things go completely tits up and I burn through my savings, my parents and my husband’s parents would help support us. We own our house, and could sell it and leave London. The possibility of us not having enough and ending up living on the street is extremely unlikely. Believing in abundance is easy for me. That is a huge privilege, and I fully recognise it.
Yes, you can write things down and vibrate your energy toward them and hope the universe delivers them to your door. But the best way to manifest success is to write things down, focus on what you’re doing, and then actually go out and do the shit that needs to be done!
Thoughts? Really disagree with me on any of this? Are you a true believer? I would love to know where people stand. As I said in the intro, I do actually believe in manifestation, it’s just my definition of what that means seems to be wildly different from the authors of most of the books about it!
Want to get exclusive content, my reading highlights, loads of interesting articles and more? Sign up to my newsletter, Noted. You’ll also get first dibs (and exclusive discounts) on any events or courses I launch in the future.