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The truth about Manifesting and why I call it “Life Design” (+ FREE Worksheet)

Okay, let’s get rid of some preconceptions about this new hip thing everyone talks about: manifestation.

If you’ve watched The Secret you might think it’s some sort of Harry Potter magic. It seems really cool, but too good to be true.

Or maybe you’ve heard some hippie guru talk about manifasting and you think it has something to do with weird ceremonies, singing and dancing around a fire and other stuff you really don’t feel like doing.

Or maybe you think it’s just another way of talking about the American Dream: If you just work hard enough, you can do anything you dream of.

Or maybe you are like my boyfriend who thinks that manifestation is just about describing magic powers to being lucky.

None of those preconceptions, in my opinion, describe what manifestation is. In this blog, post I want to explain:

  1. My own take on manifestation (in a way that, I think, is neither too woohoo, or too materialistic)
  2. Why it isn’t (or is) working for you
  3. The 3 elements you need to manifest your dream life

What is manifestation, really?

To start off this blog, I am going to use the non-woohoo, or psychological explanation of manifestation.

By having a clear picture of your future (visualization), you prime your subconscious for opportunities that lead to that goal. You will suddenly find those opportunities more easily (synchronicities). It’s like the red car, or the blue shoes you want to buy: immediately you see those objects pop out all around you, and you almost wonder if there’s a new trend going on.

Why you don’t have your dream life (yet)

There are broadly 3 categories people fall into when they try to manifest the life they want, but it isn’t working:

1. The Positive Thinkers

  • You like having big dreams, vision boards, and candles.
  • You know that your biggest dreams are within reach.
  • You believe that you can make them happen.
  • You lock yourself into your room, meditating and visualizing on your dreams every day.
  • You think positive thoughts all the time.
  • You think that if opportunities don’t come to you, it’s not meant to be.

But still, nothing is happening…

2. The Rat Racer

  • You know exactly where you’re going.
  • You have a goal and a plan.
  • You wake up early every day to meditate, work out, visualize, read and journal.
  • You work long hours and weekends.
  • You feel guilty for taking time off.
  • You think that if you would just try harder, do more, you’ll get there.

But still, nothing is happening…

3. The Self-Sabotagers

  • You are struggling with procrastination, perfectionism, imposter- or shiny object syndrome, or all of them together.
  • You are self-sabotaging your success by procrastinating on what really matters.
  • You keep signing up for webinars, or you buy another course every week.
  • You’re switching business ideas every 2 minutes, and you’re changing plans every month.

But still, nothing is happening…

Those 3 types of people have 1 thing in common: They’re all missing one essential element to manifest their dream life …

The 3 elements to manifest anything you want

To create the life of your dreams, these 3 things need to line up:

  1. The Action
  2. The Belief
  3. The Vision

That’s what ‘alignment’ is. When those 3 things match, you can create whatever your vision is.

The reason I prefer to say ‘life design’ rather than ‘manifestation’ is because the word ‘design’ entails 2 things: it requires active participation or ‘doing’, and it requires having a ‘vision’. It isn’t just about feeling good and waiting for things to happen.

When one element is missing, you’ll find yourself feeling stuck in one of these 3 possible situations:

1. Manifestation without The Action

If you’re a toxic positive thinker, you miss the action. If you think that opportunities come your way if you only dream hard enough, you close yourself off to those exact chances in life.

Say you want to go on a big trip around the world, but you don’t have the money. When a friend asks you to go on a weekend trip to Paris you say no, because you want to save up for your big world trip. Instead, you meditate and visualize a bit more, hoping that you will get the money to fund your bigger travel plans.

What you don’t know, is that you’ve just missed an opportunity to do what you visualize for yourself: travelling the world. What you don’t know either, is that you’ve missed out on a chance to meet interesting people in Paris, who would tell you that you don’t need a lot of money to travel the world, and inspire you to hitchhike and volunteer all over the world.

You have to pay attention when you hear ‘the universe’ call, and take action on it. Don’t get stuck in your head. A ‘call of the universe’ can come in the form of a friend asking you to join on a trip, a weird coincidence, or a topic that keeps finding its way to you.

2. Manifestation without The Belief

If you are a rat racer, you don’t have trouble taking action. In fact, you do too much. You actually do believe you can make your vision a reality, but only through working your ass off.

I am definitely leaning towards this category, and anyone who’s a bit more left brained, A-type, rational probably will be too.

When you’re working very hard, day in day out, it’s as easy to miss opportunities too.

Say that you’re trying to get a business off the ground, and you’re working long hours to get your first clients. You’re so caught up in the doing, that you forget why you wanted to start your business in the first place: to do something you love and to gain freedom. Even when you realize that you currently don’t have both, you miss out on other opportunities because you’re so caught up in your short term goals.

If you’re a rat racer, you need to focus on your mindset. Use your discipline to practice daily affirmations, uncover your limiting beliefs, and/or working with a mindset coach.

3. Manifestation without The Vision

I might ruffle some feathers here, but this is really common for Multipassionates. We think we know what we want (we want to do it all!), but what that actually means, is we don’t really know (yet) what actually matters to us. If you don’t want to choose at all, you probably don’t know where you really want to go. It’s like being on a giant crossroads: if you don’t know yet if your destination is in the North, East, West, or South, it would be a waste of time to pick the wrong street, right?

So what happens: you linger around in the middle, you procrastinate, you find excuses, you take another course, and you wait until you find the clarity you long for.

The solution?

Uncover what’s underneath all of your passions and interests. A vision is not in the first place about specific goals (like a big white villa, a Tesla, or a blond-hair-blue-eyed-boyfriend)… It’s about the feelings you want to have in your life, your values. Why do you love traveling so much? What do your creative hobbies give you? What about the jobs you did gave you a feeling of purpose?

I have a great exercise for this I do with my clients. You can get the video and the worksheet for free here.

Digital nomad

Download your FREE Passions & Rewards Exercise

Uncover what’s underneath all of your interests and passions as a Multipassionate or Multipotentialite with this free exercise in Notion. 


You’ve just learned that life design, or ‘manifestation’ is about 3 things:

  1. Having a clear vision of where you want to go, knowing what really matters to you
  2. Believing in yourself, and in your dreams
  3. Taking action. Designing your dream life is hard work. Not the 10-hours-per-day, blood-tears-and-sweat kind of hard work… But doing the mindset work, overcoming your fears, healing trauma and limiting beliefs, and most of all: not giving up.

I’d love to know, which element do you still have work on? Let me know in the comments below!