I’m finding it a little more now than in previous phases of my life (even the previous few weeks of my life) to hold two truths about my professional future: I can stay grounded in my work right now, and I can begin planting seeds for the future based on new information I’ve gathered. I’m seven months into my first professional job in my second career, so the honeymoon phase of thinking everything is perfect is long gone. Can ya believe that even though I don’t think everything is perfect, I still believe many things are still very good? and that I’m still excited for what will come next?

I take professional manifestation very seriously. During my first week in graduate school, I created an entirely fictional resume based on the things I would do in the following two years, as specifically as possible: where I’d intern, what my responsibilities would be, the time frame I’d be doing it; the presentations I’d give at conferences, what they’d be called, who I’d be presenting with; even publications I’d have that are beyond my control. I typed it into existence and named the file Resume-Future.

I shit you not: most of the pieces on that resume came true–even my far-fetched internship with two offices that didn’t even have internships posted. That future resume turned into a to-do list rather than a wish list. I’d look at that document and say, Girl, it’s time to get to work! Three years later, now that I’ve found a rhythm and (thankfully) manifested that first list of dreams, I get giddy at the idea that I can envision some new dreams–and that if the past is any indication of the future, they just might come true!

Today I created a document with a big, bold, all-capitalized heading on the top:

JUAN CRUZ MENDIZABAL III

Now, as much as I believe in the power of putting all that information out into the open, I’d like to suggest a template for your manifestation document rather than copying and pasting mine into this post.

YOUR NAME with whatever professional title accompanies the role you’d like to have.

YOUR EDUCATION with whatever degrees you have attained or need to attain in order to make this dream happen. Pick a specific degree program and a school you’d like to attend. Remember, we’re dreaming big here!

YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE with whatever jobs you’ve held in the past that create the journey to where you’d like to go. I included my professional teaching experience, my current job, and the very specific titles I’d like to have on my way to the big, bolded Dr. title on top. One again, play around with your imagination.

BIOGRAPHY with a written explanation of the work you’ll be doing. I fantasized this bio appearing on the back of a book I’ve written or on the flyer of a speaking engagement I lead in the community or at a university. I wrote the biography in the present tense to reflect what my life would be–and really believe that’s what it will be.

TYPICAL SCHEDULE with an estimated breakdown of time and the specific activities involved in your professional day. I started with an 8am wakeup call, but was surprised to fully understand the consequences of my desires from a scheduling lens; if I want to teach graduate classes, I’ll need to be prepared to teach night classes. If I want to work on my PhD part time, I’ll need to account for some weekend hours spent reading. This section has become the most revealing for me because it reminded me that our dreams require werk, werk, werk.

TIMELINE with an estimation of what seeds you’ll need to plant in a specific time range, as well as when you expect to see those seeds bloom into the realized dream. Because I work in education, my frame of time operates within a semester schedule, so I outlined a process for my job search, business planning, and PhD applications. It seems those areas are far into the future, but big dreams require planning.

THINGS I NEED TO DO with a list of knowledge, skills, and values you need to attain in order for this vision to become a reality. Further research about a specific topic? More involvement in specific interest areas to achieve a higher degree of experience legitimacy? More networking to create relationships of people who are already doing the work? All of the above.

SURPRISE CONSIDERATIONS with a list of honest reflections about thoughts that entered your head when creating this document. One thing I thought of immediately was how inaccessible my family and core group of friends would be if I move to southern California as planned. I had to critically examine my values system to see if such distance is something I could sacrifice for my career. Though my relationships will always be more important to me than my career, I also recognize that personal and intellectual adventure is a priority in my life at the moment, and one day I’m sure the priorities will reorganize themselves.

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