The following exercise is the brain-child of the brilliant author Danielle LaPorte. Danielle wrote The Fire Starter Sessions and Desire Map based on the question and concepts we will explore below. This exercise and these books greatly influenced the way I have designed my career and my personal life for the past three years...and I have never been happier! They have guided me toward making my dreams come true, and I believe it can do the same for you! Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Step 1 - To begin, ask yourself this one question:
How do I want my life to feel?
Grab a pen and paper or sit down at your computer, and allow words, images, phrases, concepts, and ideas to free-flow out of you. Sometimes it helps to start with what you don’t want and turn it around to see what you do want. For example, if you want to feel less anxious, what would you feel if you alleviated your anxiety? Would you feel peaceful? Maybe powerful? Perhaps luminous?
When I first did this exercise from Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions with some girlfriends in 2013, the words graceful, luminous, grounded, present, serene, vibrant, and beautiful all sprang to mind. As part of the exercise, I wrote down my words on a sticky note, meditated on them, and looked at them all throughout the day to keep them at the forefront of my mind.
One morning, as I was blow drying my hair, the universe blessed me with a poem that incorporated all of my desired feeling words. It went a little something like this:
Dancing gracefully through life
A luminous ball of light
Grounded in presence and truth
Vibrantly alive with youth
Consumed by peace and serenity
Beautiful – uniquely me.
Now, to do this exercise, you do not need to be a poet, an artist, or anything but yourself. It’s really about getting down to the nitty-gritty of how you want to feel each and every day. You can check the boxes and accomplish every goal you desire, but the truth is, you may arrive at “success” and still feel empty or like something’s missing.
Search your soul for how you want to feel when you have reached your goals. How do you want to feel when you’ve made your first million dollars? How do you want to feel when you graduate from college? How do you want to feel when you finish decorating your house? How do you want to feel when you start your own business? Etc.
Pro Tip: This is not an exercise that you need to think about because the answers aren’t coming from your brain – they’re coming from your body and soul. When I state aloud and sit with the word “luminous,” I feel a warm glow emanating from my gut and my chest. It feels like soaking up sunshine from the inside out. That’s what I want my life to feel like…see what I mean?
Step 2 - Narrow Your Focus
Once you’ve made a list of how you would like to feel, take a look at your words and see if there are any themes that spring forth. For example, if you have the words luminous and radiant, read aloud and sit with each word individually and see how they resonate differently inside. Slow down and allow each word to wash over you, and with curiosity, notice which ones feel the most valuable to you.
Use this part of the exercise to whittle the list down to 3-5 core desired feeling words. Write these 3-5 words down on a post-it note, put them in your phone, or write them in lipstick on your mirror if you like. Just put them somewhere that you will see them every day.
Step 3 - Action Time
When you have your list of 3-5 words, answer these five questions:
What are 5-10 accomplishments that will help you feel this way?
What are three things you will do today to generate these feelings?
What are three things you will do this week to generate these feelings?
What are three things you will do this year to generate these feelings?
List three people to collaborate with that help you feel this way.
Each day may look and feel a little different, but when you hold your core desired feelings at the forefront of your mind and truly value creating a life that feels that way, you will manifest it. Goals seem less daunting because accomplishing them doesn’t add to or take away from your inherent self-worth. You can still feel luminous even when you make a mistake or change your course of action. It’s a different way of looking at your dreams and life plan.
My challenge to you is to set your intention each day of 2017 to do at least one thing that generates your core desired feelings, and watch as you gradually become more and more the person you want to be and have the clarity and courage to create the life you truly desire.
For more greatness from Danielle LaPorte, visit her website: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/