Manifesting: The Advice that’s Actually Bullshit

May 20, 2021

Manifesting: The Advice on How to Manifest that is Actually Bullshit | Happy As Annie

I recently announced on Instagram that I am going to write a book by the end of this year.

I was so scared to do it, but that was entirely the point. I’ve been trying to write a book – like, ten different books actually – for as long as I can remember. And I finally just want to do it! Finish (and ideally publish) just one book. If not now, when? And if not me, why not me!?

(If you want to join this public announcement accountability train, head over to Instagram and leave me a comment! I will be your cheerleader!)

To tell or not to tell?

It has come to my attention, however, that there are people out there who are completely against sharing their goals and dreams with others.  And I’m not just talking about the grad student who would rather die than have her classmates find her fashion blog, or the insurance salesman who just purchased professional headshots and is going to secretly skip work next week to go on his first audition.

I’m talking about full-fledged self-proclaimed “business coaches” – women’s business coaches, spiritual business coaches, you name it – who claim that one of their “manifesting secrets” is to keep all of their dreams and goals private and not tell anybody what they’re striving for.

In other words, work your butt off in secret – playing it cool the whole way – and announcing only when you are done and have achieved success.

In fact, someone in an online community I’m in came across this manifesting tip in one form or another and took the advice to heart. She started to freak out because she has been doing the exact opposite – excitedly talking about her passions and dreams in an effort to help her manifesting process – and was now sick to her stomach because she’s been “doing it all wrong” and shooting herself in the foot.

She asked: “Is it bad luck that I’ve told people about my plan to start my own business and what I’m working on? Am I more likely to fail because I can’t keep my mouth shut about my goals?”

NO, GIRL. YOU ARE GOLD, AND THAT ADVICE IS BULLSHIT. HERE IS WHY.

Woman with bare shoulders wearing colorful floral crown

Protecting yourself from naysayers is one thing. 

It is one thing to keep your plans or goals to yourself when certain people around you will only poo-poo them. I have firsthand experience with that, so this specific and narrow advice makes sense to me.

Don’t share your dreams and goals with fearful and judgmental conformists who are going to try to talk you out of them or knock you down a notch lest you get uppity and start to think you’re shit. (Some people are literally the worst when their own fear, shame, and insecurity gets in the way – and they don’t even realize it sometimes!)

If these naysayers, as I like to call them, hear about your plans, that’s fine. But don’t waste your time trying to get their validation or support if you know it’s simply not going to happen.

(Related: Ditching the Naysayers – and 9 More Things – that Will Improve Your Intuition)

(For example, this is why I refuse to explain tarot to the hardcore Christians in my family. I know they aren’t asking in good faith and that they aren’t actually open-minded enough to listen to why tarot is a valuable self-discovery tool that helps us connect to our authentic selves and live more intentional and empowered lives. So why bother? I deliberately choose not to engage with those folks.)

But that’s not what this “manifesting secret” is actually about!

The real reason why people keep goals a secret is fear. Period.

The advice to keep our goals a secret is a fixed mindset/fear of failure defense mechanism. What am I talking about?

We keep our goals secret so that if we fail we don’t have to be embarrassed and we can save face. We only announce it if it’s successful. And that’s bullshit and inauthentic and a cop out. Sure, I’m not saying broadcast your every move and strategy and all that, and we certainly don’t have to reveal anything about ourselves that we are not comfortable with – of course! boundaries! – but the blanket advice to keep goals a secret just perpetuates the idea that we shouldn’t try anything unless there is no possibility of public failure or embarrassment, and that keeps so many people back in so many ways for so long.

(Read more about this fear-based fixed mindset here.)

Some spiritual and witchy folks will say they are protecting themselves from curses or hexes by keeping it secret. But come on. If that’s your reasoning, you need to have way more trust in our individual power and divine protection and guidance if we are ever going to get anything done that’s important to us and aligned with our highest good.

Woman wearing sunglasses blowing on dandelion

Three reasons to keep talking about your dreams

So I call major BS on this “secret to manifesting.” On the contrary, I am a whole-hearted proponent of sharing your passion and goals and being open about your dreams and your journey. Here are some reasons why.

Sharing your dreams helps keep you accountable.

Like I said at the very beginning of this post, stating your dreams out loud – telling people, making your goals known – helps keep you accountable. That’s the whole point of the concept of “accountability partners.” Many of us are simply not that accountable to ourselves, but for whatever reason, the social pressure of letting someone else down or having to fess up to our abandoning of a project, has a lot of power.

So sharing your dreams, like I did on Instagram, helps keep you on track and prevent you from giving up. The thought of having to go back on your word and explain yourself to someone is enough pressure to keep you going.

Talking about your dreams raises your frequency and boosts your manifesting power.

I actually have a tall lavender jar candle in my living room with a Bruce Springsteen quote on it that says, “Talk about a dream, try to make it real.”

And when you’re trying to manifest something into reality,  you have to be all in. You can’t half-want something while the other half of you is sowing seeds of doubt and disbelief.  Visualization is one of the manifesting techniques that helps us go all in. Visualizing your achievement and really feeling gratitude for it as if it’s already happened is one way we do this. Another powerful way of doing the same thing is sharing your excitement about it out loud – confidently and optimistically pursuing and working toward your goal and emitting this positive, powerful frequency out into the world.

(Related: 3 Tips for Manifesting More Effectively)

Some people are shyer or more private than others, and that’s perfectly understandable. But to advise a naturally gregarious and upbeat person to stop telling others what she’s working on because it’s working against her manifestation is ridiculous to me.

You inspire others to pursue their dreams.

And finally, these ambitious go-getters are precisely the type of people who make it possible for others to pursue their dreams as well! If you are the type who likes sharing with others what you’re working on, hyping yourself up, and being your own cheerleader – good for you! You are the opposite of the naysayers we have to avoid. You are the people who lead by example and inspire the rest of us to go for it – whatever our “it” is. I love surrounding myself with people like you!

Please don’t fall for this pessimistic and fear-driven “manifesting advice” and keep radiating your energy out into the world. I would love to see more people openly try and potentially fail and, in the process toward success, show their resilience and persistence and inner strength. That is more magical to me than sudden and seemingly out of the blue success.

What are your thoughts about this? How does sharing your journey – and yes, your potential missteps and setbacks – with others make you feel? Leave me a comment below!

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4 Comments

  • Reply Kathy May 21, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    Amazing post. I would definitely fall into the camp of don’t tell anyone in case I fail. BUT, I’m improving and at 64 have put myself “out there” more and more as I believe in myself more!

    Thanks for the great read.

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie May 22, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Thanks so much for reading, Kathy! And I have definitely kept things secret in the past as well out of fear. I am way more concerned about others’ judgment than I would like to be, so I know how risky it feels to put ourselves out there.

  • Reply Bri May 26, 2021 at 4:52 am

    Such a good post! From past experience of being someone who hid what they were working on for months (an entirely new venture starting my own business while I was still working at a 9-5), it’s so much MORE exciting to share those dreams and raise your frequency when you open up to the people who can support and help hold you accountable to your goals.

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie May 26, 2021 at 11:13 am

      Thanks, Bri! I completely agree with your characterization of the excitement of sharing dreams. I’ve thought about it a lot because I’m right there with you in having done this in the past. In fact, I’m a pretty dreamy Pisces, so sometimes I still like the idea of something living only in my head because then it can stay perfect and full of potential. Telling people seems to ruin it in certain ways – make it too real and vulnerable to complications and imperfections. But that is just a different flavor of the same fear-driven response that I’m trying to discourage in myself and others.

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