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Just Go For It: Manifestation with Leah Pardee

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

Have you thought about trying manifestation before? Is it really something to just “try”?

These days it feels like “manifestation” is a buzzword on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Maybe you’ve heard that people can create their own reality by “speaking things into existence” or just “believing” things can happen. Because this term is everywhere these days, you might be familiar with it, but do you know how to actually do it, or put it into practice?

To unpack this, I decided to delve into the topic of manifestation with the help of an expert. I sat down with professional life coach and “Manifestation Mentor”—Leah Pardee. From reading her website, you will see that her mission is to “teach you to play in the present moment [and] release overthinking, so you can tap into your intuition and joy within;” In this interview, she does just that. Leah was kind enough to offer up her insight on how the process of manifestation has shifted her life and helped her change her thinking. Through harnessing self-awareness, confidence, and belief, she has truly changed her life and done things she once thought were impossible for her. Manifestation is more than just making believe: it’s a mindset. It’s a process, and it works! More than anything, Leah Pardee wants you to know, if you “just go for it,” you can make anything happen.

Q: To begin, can you talk about your professional background and the work that you do?

Leah: Yeah, so, my background really is in Sales. I went to IUP for Hospitality Management and got into sales shortly after graduating, then working way up. I was a sales manager, leading a team… and I really thrived in that environment, and I really did like it, but I was missing an element of purpose. I kind of felt like, you know, “where’s the element of helping people?” that I just really, deeply wanted. So, I started—maybe four years ago—learning about the Law of Attraction, alternative health, meditation, and all these different things: and of course manifestation. I was just blown away; I’d never heard of any of it before. So, I delved into manifestation, I started really getting into meditation, journaling, and just saw my life start to transform because of these practices. I was healing my anxiety. I was just feeling myself becoming so much happier and confident, and so I decided to become a life coach so I could teach these things to others. I started off with a blog and life coaching. Shortly after, I started my podcast—Bare Naked Soul—and that’s been going for about three and a half years now. And so, the work I do now, it’s really between mentoring women, and teaching women manifestation, helping women achieve their goals, get aligned with what they truly want for their lives, set strong boundaries, and the breathwork side of things. So, I teach breathwork classes, both online and in person. I also certify people to become breathwork facilitators. So, I kind of fuse a lot of different things together. I’m also an author, I published my first book last June—Confessions of an Uncaged Soul. So yeah, I’m just really passionate about helping women love themselves more, know they’re worthy, and see the kind of role they can play for themselves.

Q: I have to say, that is a great story that you have there. I’ve heard a bit about your work from previous Her Campus meetings you’ve spoken at, and I definitely find your work interesting. So, can you talk a bit about how your journey in manifestation first began for you?

Leah: Yeah, so it basically started when I landed upon the book The Secret, and that was my first introduction to manifestation. I was twenty six, I’d never heard of this before. I think now it’s a little more popular, which is good. But I read that book, and I was just blown away that, like, the way I think can shape my world, like wow! I immediately started just playing with it, and I noticed very quickly that it just made such a difference. I just noticed things. I remember this one time, I was in a grocery store, and everyone was smiling at me. I remember thinking, “everyone’s smiling at me, that’s so weird,” but then I realized I was smiling at people first. I was doing it first. So, I started putting these pieces together and realized that the way I approach the world is mirrored right back at me. So, the way I believe about myself, the expectations I have for myself… that’s exactly what I receive, that’s what comes to me. Yeah, so, I’ve been putting that into practice for about four and a half years now, and it’s just been so incredible to see things I never thought were possible, come to life!

Q: So, going into that idea about practice, is there anything that you find yourself doing on daily basis—like a specific daily practice—to strengthen your manifesting potential?

Leah: Journaling, for me, is probably the biggest one. So, I feel like in a journal, you can let out your fears, let out your doubts, get really honest with yourself. You know, bring up the things that are floating around in our subconscious that are just subtly pulling us away from our desires. So, yeah, I feel like journaling for me is the biggest thing, and then… breathwork and meditation for sure. It helps me to get centered; it helps me to get focused and grounded, and that way I have less random thoughts going around in my head. I can quiet all this random chitchat going on, and really focus on, you know, creating the mental environment that’s going to suit my needs and follow my desires.

Q: I love that. It sounds like you’re so active in the thoughtful way that you practice manifestation daily, but would you say that your relationship with manifestation has changed over the years at all?

Leah: Hmm. That’s a good question. Really, I’m doing a lot of the same things as I have been from the very beginning. I think it’s really simple. It’s a mindset. It’s us deciding what we want and being clear on that, sticking to that, and noticing when we start to waiver on our goals, our dreams, and our desires. I’ve found that manifestation is about… when we have inspired action, taking it; being consistent with that action, and it’s just a repeated cycle. It’s just believing in yourself, believing in what you’re going for, and continuing to push forward regardless of if it looks like it’s working or not working. Consistency is important, and it will get you there.

Q: So that’s interesting. I’m hearing you speak about the practices you do generally—either daily or to make yourself feel more fulfilled. But in all of that, do you think there might be a specific technique that you’ve found most effective in creating your reality, or given you the “best results,” as one might say?

Leah: Hmm. I would say that I really like journalling as my future self. Some people call it scripting. This is a journalling exercise where you’re writing as if you’ve already received what you want to receive. Things have all worked out, it’s all already here. What are you doing? How are you going about your day? How are you feeling? And so it really brings me into that energy of being that person, you know, being an energetic match for what I want. Kind of training myself to feel that way now. So then, I’m really tapping into those feelings and embodying that energetic match.

Q: So along with that idea, what are some projects or beautiful things that you’ve manifested into your reality?

Leah: Well, my podcast. You know, that started as just… I had maybe 300 followers on Instagram—didn’t have an audience or anything, just was so scared, put this thing out there… and it’s become super successful. There’s page sponsors, I’ve been a guest on dozens and dozens of other people’s podcasts as well. A recent [project] that’s been kind of cool… I’ve always been kind of interested in acting, but I always thought, “Well, I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for one” [problem] and [second problem], “That’s just for, like, lucky people. Right? Actors are just lucky people who end up on TV somehow.” And so, when I started working from home, and there was a time period that went by with COVID, and not much going on in the film industry, then that opened back up. I said “you know what, I have time now. Why don’t I try to be an extra in a movie? That would be cool to see what that’s like.” So, I just started going for it in Pittsburgh. Since then, I’ve been an actor on three commercials, an extra on a TV series, I have other opportunities coming up… it’s just so funny. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible. You know, you don’t just become an actor as 30 year old in Pittsburgh… but you can truly do anything you want! It’s just been so many different things that have just come to be, that I just never would have thought possible before.

Q: It’s really those limiting ideas that society tells us, like “you have to stop here” or “you can’t do this after this age.” I love how you see manifestation as a way of, like, breaking through those limitations, like you can have more, and you can get through it in a way. I think that’s a great mindset to have with this, too. So, you’ve mentioned your podcast a bit. Can you talk about why you first decided to start a podcast?

Leah: So, I had a blog, which was great, but I felt like I was listening to a lot of podcasts. I was falling in love with podcasts, like, they’re awesome and I realized it would be a much better way to connect with my audience. Like, when you hear someone’s voice, you start to feel like you get to know them more, right? Moreso than just reading a blog. That was kind of like a strategic thing, but yeah, it was a dream of mine. Like, I listen to all these other podcasts and think “wow, I could have one someday:” that sort of a thing. I just decided to go for it.

Q: I love that. Now, at a previous Her Campus meeting where I’ve heard you speak, you spoke about your podcast, and you also mentioned writing your book. Can you talk about what inspired you to write that book initially?

Leah: Yeah! So, I always wanted to write a book. I always—since I was a kid—I wanted to write  a memoir. I love memoirs. So I was kind of just waiting, like “when is something interesting going to happen in my life, so I can write my memoir?” You know? Yeah, I always kind of had the idea. Over the past couple years I started, then stopped at the time, telling myself the timing isn’t right and all this kind of other stuff and excuses. Only later I realized I was just afraid. So when I had that realization of fear, I just decided to go for it. Yeah, I just wanted to tell my story and I love to write, so it just made sense.

Q: So, you haven’t mentioned it in this call, but I am a little familiar with your work in retreats. Can you talk about how your retreats first came about, and what that really looks like?

Leah: Yes! I don’t even know how I first started doing retreats. I think I just decided to host one a couple years ago. To the first one, I just invited clients, so that would be people I already knew. I was just kind of like, “hey, I’m just testing this out. Do you wanna come on this retreat? Here’s the cost, here’s what it’s gonna be.” So it was a group of one-to-one clients that came to the first one, and then I opened it up to the public after that. They’ve been so transformational. Because when you’re together with a group of women, even though you don’t know each other, you have this time—between two to five nights—with this great quality time. You’re not at dinner for an hour, you’re with each other all day and all night. You have the intention of going deep, you know that, and I’m able to create a very safe space for these people to really open up. You see these secrets coming out, you see people having these realizations, and ways they’ve been holding themselves back. There is so much depth that happens when you have that span of time to really just connect with others that are kind of the same path, and have the same intentions as you. We do different activities, too. I’ve taught reiki, I always do breathwork. I have a masseuse there. We do different journaling exercises and stuff, but it’s always just the most beautiful conversations and realizations that people have. It’s super connecting to each other, and it helps you open up, too.

Q: That honestly sounds like a beautiful experience. Now, to shift gears a little from the retreat side of things back to manifestation itself. These days, we hear people tossing around the misbelief that manifestation is just “thinking things into existence,” but, like, in practice it usually takes a bit more than that. Can you talk about, like, the mindset and the abilities that an individual should take in reaching these goals?

Leah: Yeah, so it starts with thoughts. It starts with emotions. It starts with us having a belief, but the reason why that’s not exactly how it works [thinking things into existence], is because we are fear-based creatures. Our instincts are fear based, so we’re going to talk ourselves out of any thoughts or ideas that come up. We’re going to be inconsistent with things because we’re afraid of being disappointed if it doesn’t work out. So, we have to start with those limiting thoughts and  beliefs, and then shifting how we see the world and how we see the specific thing we want to manifest. What are our desires? What are the limiting ideas that we have? And shifting them. When we start to shift, when we really start to believe that things are possible, then the inspired action is going to come. We’re going to have inspired ideas for how to make this thing happen.

For example, if someone is looking to find their soulmate. You’re going to have an idea to go to a place where you could potentially meet this person. You’re going to have ideas. We have to be so self-aware, and aware of our thoughts, that we’re not talking ourselves out of these ideas. That’s where the grounding comes in, the breathwork, the meditation, getting ourselves centered, so we can observe our thoughts. We can say “okay, yeah, I’m afraid to go to this place or do this thing, but can I survive this? Yes, of course I can survive this. I’m just scared because it’s new for me, it’s out of my comfort zone.” I think self-awareness is one of the biggest aspects of it, but that allows us to understand that our thoughts aren’t facts, and remind ourselves that our fears aren’t real.

Q: I love that you’ve chosen to close on that point, because that leads me to my final question: Are you living your dream life?

Leah: Yes I am. My most recent dream was to become pregnant! There were times when I thought I wanted to be a mom, but, like, post-college life, I didn’t plan on having kids. I got married at twenty five, and neither my husband nor I planned on having kids. Then, this October, I decided I wanted a baby. What really happened was that I realized the fears I had. I started journaling on those fears, and I realized that they were a protection mechanism, that there was a desire underneath those fears. So, the dream has shifted big time. I think the dream life before, was moreso the travel. Last year, I was traveling every few months, hosting retreats, public speaking… and now the dream has shifted to, like, having kids and also being able to work through home as my own boss. Having that freedom and flexibility to do all the things. Yeah, definitely living the dream and definitely very grateful for it.

Dani is a 22 year old Psychology student and the co-chair for the social media of IUP's Her Campus "diamond" chapter. She focuses on topics related to experiences, lifestyle, sex, and relationships. If she isn't writing about intriguing topics, she can be found jornaling, sitting in nature, or asking you what your sun, moon, and rising sign are.