Everything you need to know about ‘manifesting’ from someone who tried it

Do you remember when The Secret came out a few years back and suddenly everyone, everywhere, was talking about “law of attraction” this and “manifesting” that? In short, this meant thinking positive things and practically willing them to happen, all just based on your optimistic, determined attitude. So, for instance, if you wake up and say, “I’m going to have a great day,” it’s likely you will as opposed to someone who wakes up cranky and finds that their negative energy follows them. Friends of mine claim to have manifested everything from a new job — with dream boards, chanting, and affirmations posted all over the apartment — to a husband, which included love spells and buying an engagement ring/wedding dress while still single.

I know what you’re thinking: Really?!  Do any of these things actually work?! And I’m here to tell you: Yes! Yes, they do. It all boils down to one thing, which George Michaels could have told you: “You’ve gotta have faith.” Faith is the epitome of all the points I’m about to mention below. There would be no manifesting without faith — in yourself, others, the universe. You are probably already manifesting and don’t even know it, like when you think of a friend whom you haven’t spoken to in a while and then you get an email from them.

Maybe you’re rolling your eyes. What is this New Age stuff? Trust me, I wasn’t always a believer, either — I was just a girl from Chicago who’d been raised on the Cubs, deep-dish pizza, and Catholicism. I had faith, but I didn’t know how to focus on specific things. In college, I majored in journalism and sociology. I studied facts — I didn’t “visualize” or will things to happen.

Once I moved to L.A., however, it seemed people did this a lot more than they did back home. Almost everyone I had knew had read or seen the film adaptation of The Secret. I’d try not to laugh, thinking that these notions of chanting and willing things into one’s life sounded, well, kinda crazy, unfounded, and specious. Yet they had the results, and to them this proved that it worked.

A few years later, when my life took some unexpected turns in the career and relationship departments, I decided to see if there was something to this whole manifesting thing. Could and would it transform my life for the better? And, anyway, what did I have to lose? Here’s how it went down:


Manifesting mentor: Katherine Woodward Thomas, speaker, therapist, relationship expert and author of Calling in ‘The One’: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of your Life

Manifesting motto: “There is a huge chasm between wanting to find your ideal partner and being truly available for that partner when he or she appears.”

My manifesting: In early 2014, I had the kind of breakup that makes you never want to risk getting your heart broken again. For months, I hid out, avoiding any place there was a chance of seeing a happy couple— which is pretty much everywhere. After several months of doing things solo — going to my favorite Sunday lunch place or to a concert — I decided I was ready to try dating. I started to read Thomas’ book, which has short chapters with daily exercises. By doing them, you really get to know yourself, how to avoid repeating bad patterns that didn’t work for you in other relationships, and learn to be specific in what you need, and want, in a mate. The author is all about setting deliberate intentions, like saying positive, specific statements throughout the day, such as “I open myself fully to give and receive love.” I know it sounds hokey, but several of my friends found themselves in committed relationships after completing the seven-week-long book.

I also went online (eHarmony, OkCupid and Tinder). In my profiles, I was very specific about what I wanted in someone: You help an elderly woman take groceries to her car as opposed to You are conscientious and nice. Additionally, I wrote a letter to God/the universe saying that I was ready to love and find love again, and that I’d like a boyfriend with certain characteristics, which I spelled out, by Christmas. (I know this sounds nutty, but keep reading!) A few weeks later at a holiday street fair, I took a picture with Santa. When he asked what I wanted for Christmas, I blurted out, “a boyfriend.”By Christmas, I’d been on several dates, one of whom became my boyfriend.


Manifesting mentor: Jack Canfield, author, motivational speaker, and co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

Manifesting motto: “You only have control over three things in your life — the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take.”

My manifesting: Last year, I quit a job where I was not treated well. Friends thought I was crazy to leave without securing another job first, but I knew something better would appear. (My family did not like hearing the news, either.) The weeks leading up to that point, I had read a lot of Canfield’s articles and began following his advice, picturing myself at a job where I liked the work and was also respected. I contacted temp agencies and emailed previous job contacts for leads. I made a list of specific things I wanted in a new job, “nice people” being at the top of it. Not even 24 hours later, an open-ended job came up through my temp agency at a company I loved.


Manifesting mentor: Tony Robbins, life coach and self-help author

Manifesting motto: “Where focus goes, energy flows.”

My manifesting: The above quote is one of my favorites and it sits by my desk, on my wall, so I see it every day. I have a day job I love, but I also work as a freelance writer. To get more freelance writing work — and expand to larger audiences — I began reading a lot of Tony Robbins’ books and overdosed on his YouTube videos. (Once you watch one, you’ll get hooked!) I also began taking morning walks and doing Robbins’ incantations, where you take four rapid breaths in, then four rapid breaths out. As you are exhaling, you state something positive and/or something you are grateful for: “I. Love. My. Apartment.” Or “I. Love. My. Boyfriend.” He says to do that for a few minutes, then get into saying a very specific, positive statement of something you want to happen — and believe will happen — but do not yet have, like, “I love seeing my byline in the L.A. Times” or “I love driving my new red Volkswagen convertible.” A couple months later, it happened — I sold my first piece to the L.A. Times. (Thank you, Tony!)


Manifesting mentor: Rhonda Byrne, Australian television writer and producer, author of The Secret and The Power

Manifesting motto: “Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.”

My manifesting: The Secret emphasizes three main steps: ask, believe, and receive. For four years, I couch-surfed through L.A. I’d suddenly been laid off and decided to eliminate my biggest expense — rent. I also decided to whittle down my insane (almost $100,000!) student loan debt. When it was time to get an apartment again, I wanted to find one I loved and had everything I wanted (small building complex, washer/dryer, safe area, easy parking, etc.), so I wouldn’t move anytime soon. So, I took The Secret into consideration: “asked” the universe for it and “believed” I would find it. Then, after a few months, I “received” and finally found my dream place — the most charming 1920s duplex that had all my must-haves and wants. My boyfriend and I moved in, and then we broke up. When he moved out, I looked for two roommates via Craigslist and word-of-mouth, stating that only one person could occupy each bedroom and that they had to have jobs. Pretty standard things. However, there seemed to be a catch with every person who contacted me.

A manifesting friend said, “Remember The Secret. Visualize the roommates you want.” It worked for her, so I tried it and pictured my ideal flatmates: two people in their 20s, friendly, clean, and work normal-ish hours, etc. I then revised my Craigslist ad and was more specific. My inbox became flooded with responses and I chose the best-suited candidates. Every single person seemed ideal and wanted to move in. I picked my two favorites and they could not be better fits.

Some people will wonder if these things would have happened anyway, as the result of perseverance. I don’t know, but when I was down and out, I believe “manifesting” worked miracles and I still practice it today. Bottom line? It can’t hurt to try it for yourself and see what happens.

[Image via here]