What a Personal Manifesto Will Do for You

What a Personal Manifesto Will Do for You

by Cheri Gregory

I should be more like him.

As I sit through the memorial service for a truly amazing man—a beloved teacher and pastor to so many—this one thought plays over and over in my head.

I should be more like him.

Whenever Jon preached about God’s grace, he’d break down in tears, so great was his gratitude toward his Savior. His death opens a Grand Canyon-sized hole in our school and church community that none of us can even begin to fill.

I should be more like him.

But I don’t know how.

The “Should Be’s” Overtook Me

During conversation after the memorial service, Tim Z, our AP History teacher, asks me how my AP English students are doing.

“Do you think you’ll ever go back to teaching sophomore English?” he asks.

“No,” I reply. “I don’t have the patience for students who refuse to read. If they hate books, I don’t want to deal with them.”

Tim’s eyes light up. “Oh, I just love the kids who come into my class hating history!”

I stare, partly in admiration and partly in shame.

I should be more like him.

Tim talks animatedly. “I see every history-hating student as a future history major. I make it my personal challenge to figure out what it takes to help them change their minds.”

I nod dumbly.

I should be more like him.

But I don’t know how.

Accepting That I’m Exactly Who I’m Supposed to Be

I linger in the church after the memorial service, pondering the legacy of Jon Speyer and mulling over my conversation with Tim Z.

I should be more like them.

But how?

Train myself to cry when I talk about God? Force myself to enjoy aliterate students?


Trying to be someone I’m not isn’t the answer.

What if …

A new thought begins to sprout, like a seed pushing up through the soil.

What if I quit trying to be more like him or them? 

What if I start trying to be … (dare I say it) … more like me?

Nothing more or less than exactly who God created me to be.

I Stopped Worrying and Started Listening

It’s been four years since this epiphany.

Since I started regularly asking, “Who did God create me to be?” and really listening for the answer.

The tool that’s helped me keep the answer front-and-center as I make decisions throughout my work day is my Personal Manifesto.

One page of Spirit-led words that declares, “This is who I am and who I aspire, through God’s grace and power, to become.”

personal manifesto

Two Things Your Personal Manifesto Will Do for You

Your Personal Manifesto says, “This is it!”

Which can be interpreted two different ways:

1 — Through your Personal Manifesto, you declare who you are.

Your Personal Manifesto is not an itemized list of who a parent or teacher or spouse or child or boss—not even a beloved role model—expects you to be.

Your Personal Manifesto is a pray-cessed expression of who God has created you to be.

2 — Through your Personal Manifesto, you define who you are not.

It helps you define who God did not create you to be, for yourself and others. This can be downright terrifying for those of us who are used to being “all things to all people.”

It’s your God-guided assertion that you’re done trying to be someone you’re not. (No matter how much others may want you to keep trying.)


There’s nothing wrong with having a role model or seeking out mentors. But our goal should never be trying to be more like him or her or them.

Your goal is to always listen to Him.

Who does He say you are?


Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a Personal Manifesto that will carry you through the rest of your life? Sign up for great ideas and resources about how to get out from Overwhelmed and you will receive “How to Write Your Personal Manifesto” as our gift to you. Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change.

And learn more about living out a life out of overwhelmed in our new book, Overwhelmed, How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity.

personal manifestoCheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?  Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.


5 Ways You Can Win the Clutter War (Without Feeling Totally Overwhelmed)

5 Ways You Can Win the Clutter War (Without Feeling Totally Overwhelmed)


5 Ways to Win the Clutter Free War (Without Feeling Overwhelmed) by Cheri Gregory

Many of you resonated with last Monday’s “When Facing Your Clutter Feels Too Overwhelming.”

• “This blog post is so me and I didn’t even know it. I am getting ready to move and it is totally debilitating. I can’t do a thing because I get so overwhelmed!” – Kelly

• “It’s Monday morning and I have clutter and I’m escaping to FB instead of dealing with my issues… this hit home for me in so many ways you couldn’t imagine. Thank you!” – Barbara

• “Can I just tell you that I LOVE you! I am going to print out your post today and frame it (and I shared it with my readers too!). You are a blessing Girl!” – Kimberlee


What Awareness and an HSP Plan Look Like in Action

Today, five members of Kathi’s Clutter Free launch team are here to share with you their real-life examples of what works for them as HSPs.

Notice how each woman has (1) awareness of her own needs and (2) a specific plan to meet them so she stays out of the “OVERWHELMED ZONE”!

Luna Leverett

When I was sixteen, my boyfriend bought me a real rabbit fur jacket. I lived in San Jose, California where it was too warm for me to wear the jacket.

But I could not let it go. I felt soooo badly for the rabbits that gave their lives. It took me nearly twenty years to give that jacket away. Why? Holding on to it wasn’t reviving the rabbits!

Whatever I feel, I FEEL in a BIG way. In this case, I had extreme emotions towards an item I’d been given. I felt unnecessary guilt and responsiblity.

To help me let go of things sooner, I’m learning to quesiton: “Did I ask for this?” If the answer is “no,” I’m free to let go.


Tabitha Dumas

As a Highly Sensitive Person, I have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Every item carries with it a memory, emotion, or attachment.

To make it easier to part with my stuff, I’m focusing on the “why” behind our decluttering efforts: to make more room for what matters most.

So now when I’m making a “keep or toss” decision, I ask myself, “Will this item get me closer to what matters most or detract from it?” Immediately, the decision becomes a lot more clear.


Pattie Reitz

I have been actively working on managing my stuff in the nine years since our family began our active duty military journey. With semi-frequent moves, decluttering becomes an annual necessity.

For me, getting rid of outgrown children’s clothing and toys is easy.
But getting rid of sentimental items? Far more difficult.

I feel emotional every time I have to go through my belongings. Everything has a feeling and a memory attached. Unread books are unopened treasures. Boxes of notes and cards are my heart on paper.

I’ve learned to only keep the cards and notes that I will reread. I tape them directly in my journal or place them in my encouragement file.

It’s truly a process: one that’s yielding lighter results.


Merri Lewis

Shatter! Crash! Bang!

My 9-year-old’s plan to simulate the sound of breaking glass by dumping a bucket of Legos on our tile kitchen floor is highly effective.

The noise makes me jump as the high pitched sounds assault my ears and the association with broken glass push me near panic.

Then my baby girl runs yelling about another outfit she wants to try on. Off come her clothes as she struggles to put it on “ALL BY MYSELF.”

It’s so tempting to collapse on the couch, exhausted from the sensory assault I’ve just experienced. Or open my laptop to Facebook to help me block it all out.

When the household noises get overwhelming, I put on noise canceling headphones or calming music and encourage the kids to play with quiet things.


Terri Goehner

“For two years, I had a stack of paperwork sitting on my kitchen counter…always threatening to topple over as I continued to stack up paperwork.

Every time I saw this pile, I felt almost claustrophobic, a sense of paper overload. So one day, I took an afternoon and went through the pile: throwing out, shredding, and filing.

My new habit is to handle paper once, so I file as I go along. In fact, the paper never even makes it to the kitchen counter anymore. It goes straight to the appropriate location: file cabinet or trash or recycle bin.

For the past 1.5 years, I’ve had a clean kitchen counter and peace of mind.


Clutter Free Recap:

1. Ask, “Did I ask for this?” If the answer is “no,” feel free to let go!

2. Focus on the “why” behind your decluttering efforts: to make more room for what matters most.

3. Keep only the cards and notes that you will reread. Tape them directly in your journal or place them in an encouragement file.

4. Put on noise canceling headphones or calming music when household noise gets too loud. Encourage the kids to play with quiet things.

5. Handle paper once. Send it straight to the appropriate location: file cabinet or trash or recycle bin.


Remember: Every HSP is unique. Start your own lists so you can become aware of what happens for you…and what works for you!


Wonder if you, too, might be an HSP?  Subscribe to Cheri’s blog and receive your FREE “HSP–Who, Me?” PDF.


Are you ready to be Clutter Free? Start the 21-Day Clutter Free challenge! Sign up now!