The Manifesto - A Declaration of Truth, Freedom, And Your Best Life

By Shana Lynn Yao


You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you believe is possible.
Believe it’s possible. You are here to do great things.
— Shana Yao

Who are you and why are you here?

It's both a simple and profound statement that, depending on the circumstance it is asked in, can either be a moment to be forgotten or, if you really think about it, keep you searching for deeper meaning for the purpose of your life. 

In my work as a business strategist, usually my first question to people is "What do you do in your business?" I mean if you are an entrepreneur and even if not, almost all of our human lives are spent working. And if you are anything like me, a heart centered, goal getter working not only to provide a financial future for myself but to change the lives of others and leave the world a better place because I was in it, what you do in your business IS who you are and why you're here.

The odd part is, when I ask people what they do in their business, I usually either get a crafted response that looked great on paper but awkward in spoken conversation, OR something so generic that it rarely communicates the true value of what that person REALLY does.

Both responses end up leaving many entrepreneurs NOT able to communicate your true value, NOT able to attract clients that need you and "get" you, and NOT finding clarity in your own mind for personal fulfillment in your own business - which is just sad and not necessary.

A Declaration Of Truth

Otherwise known as a mission statement, it's a statement of what you do in your business that is NOT your "elevator speech" but more a declaration of your beliefs, your values, and your overall mission and purpose of your business. It's the deeper meaning of why you do what you do - as Simon Sinek would call it - your big WHY.

It's called - A MANIFESTO. 

A manifesto is a declaration of your core values and beliefs, what you stand for, and how you intend to operate your business. It functions both as a statement of principles and as a call to action.

Unfortunately, most business owners aren't taught this when they first start their small business. You're taught to create an "elevator speech", a pitch - which IS necessary, but if you aren't able to communicate and understand your own deeper meaning and purpose in your business, how are you supposed to get other people to be excited about what you do?

What you sell as a business owner is what you sell - but what you REALLY sell and need to communicate with your strategic marketing is your VISION. 

As Zig Ziglar said: "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Your manifesto is what people REALLY want. It's the thing they want that buying your product or service will make them feel. If you sell a program to help people lose weight, they buy the program but what they really want is to fit into their skinny jeans and look and feel amazing. If you sell skincare to get clear skin - sure they want flawless skin but what they really want is to feel beautiful.

So let's get busy creating your own Manifesto. Live it. Speak it. Believe it.


What do you believe as a business owner? Knowing what you sell, what is it you believe that when someone buys it they will really get?

For me, I believe we all want a better life. That having a business is the best way to becoming the person you are meant to be. You are motivated and held accountable to live and create your best life and best self every day, because you HAVE TO in order to sell what you sell. When you live up to your true potential, you get PAID for being who you are. I believe that your business and life should help you LOOK amazing, FEEL amazing, and BE amazing.

What do you believe?


What do you value and what are your values? People are attracted to people who share their personal values. For example, I value health - creating personal and financial health for myself and my clients. That #healthiswealth is not just a hashtag but a determination of becoming a successful business owner. Everything I do in my business is to help my clients create total health - by understanding biology, neurology, and psychology (and of course using my 28 years of business knowledge), I am able to work with my clients at a deeper level to position their businesses to allow for personal fulfillment, support their highest strengths so they can be confident in what they do, and also create personal time daily for themselves and to spend with their families.

What do you value and what are your values?


This is a fun one but it will actually help you to see yourself as a business rather than a person trying to have a business. Thinking of yourself in the greater concept of an actual existing retail store front can give you ideas on your marketing creative, your branding, AND your marketing strategy.

If Total Genius were a retail store, I would be Barneys NYC.  Barney's is BEAUTIFUL. Walk into a Barney's store and instantly you are transplanted into a space of beauty - it's high class but not snobby, uncluttered, luxurious but at the same time eclectic. There is a price point everyone - and the people working there treat everyone like they belong. I actually wrote an entire article about my "Barney's Lightbulb Moment" - the day I discovered Barney's and how everyone can learn a powerful lesson on how to raise your standards of what to expect for yourself and literally attract respect.

If you were retail store, who would you be? 


So who are you and why are you here? Combine all of your answers from above and create your own manifesto! Write it on your wall next to your computer. Put a sticky with it in your bathroom and on your fridge. Write it in your phone. 

Read it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Then go out, and position your business and your marketing around it. 

Start a movement. Get people excited about it. Because that, my friend, is who you are and why you are here.


Your real job in life is to become the person you are meant to be... and having a business is the best way to do so. You are literally paid to live up to your highest self - your true potential. It’s now your job to live, breath, speak, and own your best, most beautiful badass life ever.

Be you - there is nothing or no greater truth or purpose than knowing that you were born for a reason and to create a business and life that builds and creates a life legacy you are proud to have lived.
— Shana Yao

Shana Yao is a Branding & Marketing Strategist, with over 28 years of experience managing multimillion dollar retail and shopping center locations, including the famed Rodeo Drive. She works with high achieving clients to empower them to own their expertise so they can make a bigger impact in the world, with a signature business that reflects their personal style. She is host of the Marketing Made Meaningful podcast on ITunes, dog mom, and lover of life. You can find her at the coolest coffee shops in LA working on her mission, or connect with her on her favorite social media app, Instagram (of course!) @total_genius