"You're not chasing the goal. You're chasing the feeling." -Danielle LaPorte, Desire Map
I am a nerd and a learner. When I put what I learn into action, my world transforms quickly and not so subtly. Recently, I've been seeing a lot of posts, email headers, and #hashtags about focusing on "how you want to feel" in 2014 rather than setting lofty goals you never achieve.
Honestly, I am the person for the last 18 years who has done some sort of ceremony to mark the turning of the year. I always made a list of things I wanted to accomplish, but always from the place where I write the goal down and move forward. Doesn't really always result in a positive outcome.
What I've learned in the last 7 months is how to look out a few years at outcomes I want to accomplish and "reverse engineer," from the result to the first day of conception. What this does differently than our normal planning pattern is it actually helps you achieve the outcome you're going after, rather than fizzling out in the middle.
Not rocket science, but modern culture, business or family, has not caught onto this concept yet. The secret sauce: the whole time you "reverse engineer" an outcome, you are connected to how you feel about the work and how I feel while you're in the process of accomplishing your work.
So here's a story. A friend of mine was applying for jobs for the past 3 years. She is a single mom of two and was at the end of her rope. I have always looked up to her professionally, as an athlete, and mom. Somehow, it all seemed to work for her. But over the past year, she was really struggling to keep afloat. The place she accelerated was in her running.
My friends are lucky, because they know they can call me and I will not try to fix them but I will give them concrete ways to: a) land a job, b) ask for a raise, c) ask for more pay and more time off to raise their kids, d) to live inspirited and motivated lives. This girlfriend, she knew to keep calling as she waded through really challenging waters, and I kept catching and holding her but not fixing her (not my job). I'd ask her, "Why give up on yourself right now? Would you do this in other circumstances in your life?" She'd say, "No." Then I asked, "How do you train for your big races? What keeps you going and how does it feel when you're in it?" And boom, she got it.
She built the rest of her job hunt around chasing a feeling, not a job that would bore her and ultimately compromise her whole family and living situation, and who knows what else.
One day, I got an email from her and the subject line read, "THHHANNNK YOOOUUUU." She landed a job she wanted and allowed her to keep consulting on the side while paying her excellently. She gets to live where she wants to live and lead the life she wants to lead. It was a really cool moment to feel her shine, through an email.
As you move into 2014, stop chasing your goals and try these two simple, highly affective morsels of love as you begin to chase after your feelings:
1. Inspire action in places that need attention in your life:
What needs attention in your life? Is it your body? Your soul? Your brain? Your heart? For example, your body is a sacred ground, especially when you're a mom. During childbearing years, it is compromised and re-oriented for more than 9 months.
Let's say you have a goal of losing 20 lbs. I want you to look at where exercise in your daily life is absent. Then, I want you to fill the empty space in your calendar with a "get out and sweat" event that is on repeat everyday. Next, you build your schedule around the time you've carved for exercise. After you take the time each day to do something physical, you start to feel better, you are more productive at work, you have more fun at home because your cortisol levels are decreasing and so you start to reduce daily stress.
The more we sit (as I say while I'm sitting and writing this), the more we develop higher levels of stress. That is scientifically proven in about 1000 different medical and psychological articles.
I hear from so many women, "I feel like I'm drowning. I don't have time." In 2014, throw yourself a life preserver and figure out where you need to inspire action in your life. Then go after it like a hawk going after it's prey. You are a mother and you are fierce, nobody can stop you once you start. Nobody has the energy of a mother. I promise.
2. How do you want to feel?
Danielle LaPorte recently released an 8 year project called The Desire Map. If you don't know her work, get it. As I trolled around on my research and writing day of work, I found many mom blogs focusing on Danielle's tip of asking yourself, "How do I want to feel in 2014" rather than making a list of boring goals that never come to life or even see daylight. Instead of resisting my urge to leave this out of this post, because everyone else was writing about it, I raised the white flag and surrendered.
Why? Because she's right. We have been chasing goals and dreams for so long, and look where it has driven our culture. We are the most depressed, medicated, addicted group of Americans in history, according to Brené Brown's research. It's time to change our story, starting in 2014.
Instead of making a big list and checking it twice, sit down for a quiet minute and close your eyes. Watch your breath rise and fall, as you relax and expand. Then ask yourself, "How do I want to feel in 2014?" When the words arise, feel the feeling in your body. If it feels good, if it feels incredible, write it down. Put it somewhere you can see and memorize the feelings. When you feel out of wack, ask yourself, "Do I feel x, y or z in this situation?" If you don't, navigate your way to that feeling. How you navigate yourself is up to you.
These "core desired" feelings will live within you and motivate your life throughout 2014.
Let's say, if one of the messages you get is, "I want to feel strong." Then what are you going to do in your life to be strong, get strong, and stay with that feeling of "strong?" Reverse engineer what "strong" means to you. Play with this, I'm here to help you if you have questions. Just email me or leave a comment below, I read every word and will respond.
Amy Cuddy, one of my favorite Social Scientists out there, and she has a saying, "Tiny tweaks lead to big changes." That is something you deserve, big changes that lighten your load, bring resilience to your health, and more love into your life.
As you move forward in 2014, tell me this: a) How do you want to feel in 2014? b) What tiny tweaks are you going to make to inspire action, and vibrantly engage in life? Please leave your comments below and I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you ALL for filling my cup this year. I know this blog and this work is different than so many other bloggers out there for moms. I do this work for you, for your daughters and for their daughters and even your sons. I want there to be a future for transforming women into moms where you're caught, supported and connected. You truly are my daily blessing. I hope you have a healthy, happy, sparkly and safe New Years Eve. WELCOME 2014, BRING IT ON!
Big, big love.