Those of you who are my clients know that I have been raving since late last year about a book written by Danielle LaPorte called The Desire Map. I’ve fallen so much in love with this book that I’ve started sending it out as gifts to my clients.
What, you may ask, does Desire have to do with your career? Just about everything, it turns out.
In her book, Danielle LaPorte posits that every goal that we set, every marker we aim to check off our to-do list, and every life plan we devise, has to do with reaching the feeling that we think we will have when we get there. You want to go to law school so you will feel Admired by your parents, even if you don’t really want to be a lawyer. You want to get promoted to VP so you will feel Powerful, even if you’re already working too hard as it is. You want to get married so you will feel Nurtured, even though you’re not nurturing yourself on a daily basis with self-love and self-care.
The conclusion Danielle LaPorte reaches from this state of affairs is obvious: we’ve got our goal setting all ass-backwards. We’re trying to get what we desire from the outside in, rather than making choices that get us to what we want to feel from the inside out.
In other words, identify how you most want to feel– what LaPorte calls Core Desired Feelings– and make your choices from that place, and you’ll be infinitely happier in the long run because you’ll feel how you want to feel from the start.
Here’s how this looks in practice:
One of my Core Desired Feelings is Nourished. I am Nourished by spending time with my family. I am Nourished by connecting solidly with my husband on a daily basis. I’m Nourished by taking care of my body, and by making healthy choices in what I eat.
Before doing the work of The Desire Map, however, I was driven to Type-A distraction in all sorts of ways, even though I know better. I am in this work to be of service to my clients, and while that is obviously honorable and necessary, it has also led me, as a goal-setter, to on occasion choose to serve those clients above myself.
Confession: I’ve been known to throw over family time when a client can’t do a call until after 6 p.m. I’ve also been known to blow off connection time with my husband because I’ve just got to get out one more client email. Every time I’ve done these things, however, I’ve ended up feeling somewhat yucky– a little sick to the stomach, so to speak, as if I had consumed something that wasn’t very good for me.
Recognizing all the ways in which I desire to be Nourished has changed everything. Now, before deciding whether to take a client call at 8 p.m. or send out one more client email, I look to my Core Desired Feelings to see if they are met. And plainly, I am better Nourished by family time and connection with my man when I set boundaries around those times that I keep. As a result, I did my last evening call with a client last week, and will no longer be breaking that boundary.
Clients who have engaged with the process of The Desire Map are also making massive changes in how they decide to handle things in their career as a result of the work. A few examples:
One client has a Core Desired Feeling of Self-Respect. That client had routinely completed design work for a fellow who insulted her work during the review process, and then to make matters worse rarely paid his invoices on time. While before, this client took this person’s work because she felt she needed the money, and that being well-paid would bring her Self-Respect, after considering her Core Desired Feelings, she has terminated the business relationship that didn’t afford her the respect that she wants to feel for herself from the start. And notably, three new ideal clients have arrived since she terminated the fellow who didn’t match up with how she wanted to feel.
Another client has the Core Desired Feeling of Divinely Feminine. The process of realizing this has led her to the conclusion that she no longer wants to work in the world of bond trading, where she feels like she has to hide her femininity and behave “like a man” to get ahead. She is exploring career transition as we speak.
I could go on and on about this, but I’ll just say this: knowing how you want to feel in life makes all the difference. I’d encourage you to check out the work of Danielle LaPorte. And please tell me in the comments below: how do you most want to feel in life? And how will knowing that change your actions?
Wishing you a week where all your core desires are met.
PS. BIG NEWS! I am now officially a contributor on MindBodyGreen. You can find my first article, entitled “Sick of Your Job? Five Signs it’s Time to Quit,” right here.