As we enter the final month of 2016, it marks the time of year that I take our sales team through an annual exercise of determining our Core Desired Feelings for the upcoming year. This process is very powerful and created by Danielle LaPorte, an inaugural member of Oprah's Super Soul 100, who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, are people who “are uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters.”
Danielle's process is what she calls the Desire Map. She refers to it as creating "goals with soul" and the idea behind it is echoed in the teachings of many soulful leaders - who say that how we decide to feel is the key to just about everything.
While we might say we want a thing or a condition, the only reason we really want those things is because we believe we will FEEL better in the having of it. So we can get a whole lot more efficient about manifesting what we desire in our lives if we focus on the FEELINGS we want as a result of the conditions or circumstances lining up in the way we want them to.
So when you look at what gets you to your sweet spot, there is very likely a theme or a consistent feeling that happens when you are there. Maybe you notice that you feel the most lit up and like your true self when you are contributing or loving, or growing.
If we incorporate Tony Robbins 6 human needs into our process – notice that when your aim is any of those three needs or feelings, you have a much better chance of hitting the target! When we aim at certainty, variety, significance – there’s a better chance that we will miss what we are aiming at.
When we think about contribution, I want to challenge you to re-frame your idea of it just a bit.
I want you to consider that your biggest contribution to the world is YOU being in alignment with YOU.
When you pay attention to how you feel and practice self-empowering thoughts that align with who you really are, you offer an example of thriving that is of tremendous value to anyone who you come in contact with. This also applies to a Byron Katie principle of the three types of business… Yours, other people’s and Gods. Focusing on feeling good, being happy and in alignment with who you really are keeps you in YOUR OWN business. This is the only place you have any control.
We cannot control conditions in order to feel better because you can’t control conditions – you can only control how you feel.
Focusing on your own happiness and feeling state also ties into the sweet spot – where you have the most potential to make a difference… ie… CONTRIBUTE. Notice that the Sweet Spot is about really two main points: Feeling good and contribution. OUR FEELING GOOD IS A CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD!!!
So, this process kind of turns the usual way we humans do things – on it’s head. We START with how we want to feel because we know that the real reason we want anything that we want is because of how we will FEEL when we have it. So instead of going for the thing or the condition, we are setting an intention about the FEELING we want. Then we take steps to move in the direction of those Core Desired Feelings (CDF’s). This process is all about EMPOWERMENT.
It’s about taking FULL RESPONSIBILITY for how you feel. This is so empowering because then you aren’t depending on what anyone else does, doesn’t do, says, doesn’t say as a reason for how you feel. YOU are the one determining how you feel – always. And this process of taking that full responsibility just feels so amazing because it’s the only way it works any way!
No one else, no condition, no behavior is the reason for how you feel. YOU are the one who places all meanings on conditions and others. By being fully empowered and responsible for how you feel, you are in your flow! You are in your sweet spot and you are CONTRIBUTING and GROWING which serves everyone you come in contact with.
If you are feeling anything other than love for another human being – it’s because you are using them as your excuse to NOT feel good. And that is dis-empowering – giving away your own power and being a victim. It’s also not in your truth, that’s why not loving anyone always feels like crap. (click for a 2 minute video from Tony Robbins on getting out of a funk) (hint... it's about making a difference)
Another great reason to pay attention to how you feel is that what you give your attention to is what becomes your life. If you give your attention to what someone else is doing to you or what is lacking or blaming, you get more of whatever you give your attention to. If you can’t find love for whatever or whomever seems to be causing you to feel negative emotion – do your best to have detached awareness.
Deepak Chopra describes this as
So back to determining our CDF’s…
We are going to go for the feeling versus the thing or the condition or the goal – the goal is the feeling state. The awesome thing about this is that when your feelings are a match to what you desire – the thing you desire will happen. Hmmmm!!!
When we are our true selves we feel amazing! We get in our sweet spot. We contribute – everyone benefits around us simply by us being our true selves and being responsible for our own feelings. We grow – because we look for the lessons in how we feel rather than looking for blame.We love – because that’s what we all are at our core
It’s about choosing a focus – a focus of how you want to feel. Then taking actions from that inspiration of your desired feeling. Taking action with out inspiration will give you limited, unsustainable results. The inspiration is connecting with how you want to feel THEN take action to move yourself in the direction of that feeling state.
I recommend you get a copy of Danielle's book. In it, you will find a great list of over 150 positive emotions. This is REALLY helpful to get some ideas and notice what feeling states light you up when you read them. Glance over the list and circle those that resonate with you. Then go back over the list again and again until you can distill it down to three or maybe five at the most core desired feelings that you want to feel.
If you have questions about the process or want more information about the Desire Map idea, send me an e-mail and I'm happy to help you walk through it. Our team finds this pretty helpful in keeping us focused on where we want to go and our big focus this year is personal EMPOWERMENT, so this is a key piece in that effort. Taking full responsibility for how we feel is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself and for those you are in relationship with. FREEDOM for you and for them!
The election is over and we all have our thoughts and ideas about that. I think we can apply some lessons we’re learning in the election to relationships in general. Let’s see if I can demonstrate…
We all have opinions and outcomes we desire, it’s just part of being human. The way we can best move forward in ANY situation is to focus on the good of the current outcome – no matter if that outcome was our desire or not. There IS good in any outcome, sometimes though, we have to dig to find it.
Louise Hay says, your thoughts create your life and thinking positive thoughts around a negative outcome in your life will help to create a more positive outcome to occur going forward. So looking for the upside is something we can all do and agree that it feels much better to do.
In relationships (or elections), what are you most focused on? The faults, mistakes, shortcomings, timing, how you are “wronged” by your partner? The sad news here is that no matter what you focus upon – you will get more of it, whether you want it or not. Our focus determines what we create in our lives. Focus on lack or blame and you will get more lack and things to blame others for.
Conversely, if you make a choice to focus on in your partner what you WANT, the upside, the positive attributes, what you’re learning about yourself as a result of your relationship with this person – I guarantee you will feel somewhere around 10,000,000% better than focusing on the stuff you blame them for. Blame of your partner, according to Dr. Margret Paul, is an act of being unloving to YOURSELF. Blame is an attempt to control the other person and if we are doing that, we are not taking responsibility for our own feelings, being victims rather then a focus on what we could potentially learn about loving ourselves.
In fact Dr. Paul suggests that if you leave a relationship because you blame your partner for your unhappiness, you are not going to stop doing that just because you leave the relationship. You take yourself with you when you leave and unless you heal your part of the relationship problem, you will continue to behave in ways that eventually destroy relationships.
I often quote something my dear friend and mentor Jim Taszarek said when I was in despair… “This being the case, how shall we proceed?” In other words... how quickly can you turn your focus to look for the good in a situation? This is actually an indicator of your ability to be happy. Those who recover from challenges by focusing on the upside of the outcome are those who live happier, more fulfilled lives most often.
So whether it’s an election that didn’t go the way you had hoped, or a relationship that's changing in a way you had hoped it wouldn't, the thoughts you choose continue to attract more thoughts just like it. This can be tough to do when you are in the face of a “failed” relationship* (see note below) or any outcome that isn’t what you had hoped for – that’s why you have to practice guiding your thoughts when you’re NOT in a challenging situation. Then you are practiced and ready for game day when something comes up – because it WILL come up.
Have you spent much time talking to someone who is focused on problems? Or on blaming someone for how they feel when it’s negative? I have been on BOTH sides of that actually, the listener and the blamer. Do you notice how the life sort of seems to be sucked out of you in the listener position? For the blamer they typically feel somewhat good, because in all likelihood, they moved up the emotional scale from depression and powerlessness up to being angry – so it IS a move up!
No matter how you feel, it’s not “wrong”, you CAN feel BETTER though. When you are on the right side of the diagram above, you simply won’t feel as full of life, happy, lit up, or passionate about life. Most of us want those feelings. So the key is to reach for the next available higher level feeling from wherever you are. If the election or your relationship has you feeling fear (the bottom of the scale), see if you can reach for anger. That would actually be a move up from powerlessness in fear. If you are feeling blame, see if you can move up to disappointment or pessimism! The goal is not to STAY in anger or pessimism but to reach higher and higher until you get in the left side of the spirals.
Abraham-Hicks says it’s just not possible to go from fear, or blame or the downward side of the scale straight up to Joy! It’s just too big of a leap. So just see if you can find the feeling that is the best description of how you feel and keep reaching up a level or two.
One thing we all do that keeps us in the lower levels of the scale is talking about what we see as “wrong” in the outcome or the other person. Whether we talk to others about it or just ruminate in our own minds about it, we are focused in the opposite direction that we want to go and this keeps us very, very stuck.
Another HUGE component in moving yourself up the emotional scale is who are you hanging around with? Are those you spend time with focused on being a victim? Blaming? That will keep you stuck and you may not even realize the impact this is having on you. We are all susceptible to our environment to whatever degree we allow it to impact us. So we are back to the quote at the top of the article – accept it, change it or leave it. Are you choosing to spend time with people who help you to be your best self? Those who inspire you to be more?
Lots of inspirational people I follow or read talk about the importance of your attention or focus; Tony Robbins, Abraham-Hicks, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah, Martha Beck, Byron Katie. They all suggest that what we focus on is determining the path of our lives. "Where focus goes, energy flows." Says Tony Robbins. If we are focused on what we think is lacking, that is exactly what we will get… MORE LACK. If we focus on what someone else did that we blame them for, that is exactly what we will get…MORE things to BLAME for our unhappiness. If we're focused on what scares us about an outcome, we will find evidence to prove our fear is valid and we will also find more things to feel fearful about.
I’m just as guilty as anyone when it comes to mismanaging my focus. I know that I have come a long, long way in dropping blame in many areas of my life, and I’m working to clean up the rest of it. Taking responsibility for my own role in things, and focusing on what I can do to make a difference or what I can learn always feels better than being a “victim” of the outcome or giving away my power by getting pulled into the swirl of negativity that is always readily available for us in the media or other people who are committed to their roles as victims.
Centering myself, focusing on the thoughts that feel better, along with being aware of my self-talk and who I surround myself with are all tools in the kit we all have access to that help us create the life we want for ourselves and others. How quickly can we turn our focus to possibilities and be more at peace? How can you appreciate what is and be eager for more? That is where our power lies.
* = I don't believe there is such a thing as a "failed" relationship. All relationships serve us and help us grow. Love is never a "failure". The only way a relationship can "fail" is if you don't learn anything about yourself from it.
Last week I had a lunch date with my sister. We don’t get together all that often, but we always do a lot of laughing when we do. She asked me a question that had to do with being at peace versus striving. I noticed that I felt some resistance to the question, a bit of defensiveness bubbling up. It took me a couple of days of thinking about it and then I decided if I was resistant, I probably needed to feel around in the question a bit because there’s usually wisdom in our resistance, but cha gotta dig a little for it. Most often we will use resistance as a reason to blame, stop, criticize, judge, etc... Hard to find your wisdom in that mess!
This question from my sister seemed to be a perfect fit to a theme I was noticing in messages I'm getting lately. My counselor Joy had made a statement in a session that I had BIG resistance to and that statement was also about the idea of peace and allowing, but the wording was different. Acceptance, SURRENDER, let it go, get okay with… why do these ideas make me wince? Probably because I see surrender as being passive – something I have no idea how to invoke! This theme lately got me to wondering; “could I use my striving for knowledge, to better understand what it means to surrender?” Sounds kind of odd to strive to surrender, but here’s what I’ve learned…
I seem to have a lot of “shoulds” about how people I care about should behave, how they should think, what they should feel. This shoulding all over myself and others is about OUTCOMES. I am quite often, trying to push my own agenda. Sometimes this works and those times are usually when I the agenda is about making a difference, contribution, helping, learning, growing, loving, and basically when I’m shining my Divine light into the world from my sweet spot.
This is a great gift and like ANY great gift, when we turn the volume up too loud on our gifts or strengths, it starts to get distorted in our lives. What we are great at becomes our stumbling block when we push and shove it and especially when we focus on perceived limits. When we focus on what’s missing and try to force an outcome that WE have in our heads as the ONLY way we want it to be – we suffer. Period. We become a victim of our own resistance and even if we get what it is we think we want, we won’t be able to sustain it if we got it by grabbing and forcing. Most likely we’ll just bring to us another situation that will give us another opportunity to SURRENDER.
Here’s the thing – I have no idea how to surrender. How to just let things be as they are. I love that I make stuff happen! It lights me up! What I’ve learned in this digging into what surrender really is, I now see that it’s not about passivity. It’s about being OPEN, making space. There is the story of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree. He wanted desperately to become awakened. He tried and tried and then under the tree, in exhaustion, he surrendered to the idea of ever being awakened… and that’s when he became awakened. It reminds me of stories I've heard of women who so desperately what to get pregnant and as soon as they adopt or "give up" the quest, they get pregnant. But we don’t have to wait until we are exhausted or hopeless to open and allow. What I’m finding out is that we can ASK to be shown how the heck to surrender.
Tosha Silver has a couple of great books on this very subject of opening and surrendering: Outrageous Openness and Change Me Prayers. She suggests a prayer to let go of our agenda can be as simple as “I want to be whole with or without this.” Whatever your “this” is; a relationship, a job, a situation, we all want to be whole no matter what the conditions are around us and she suggests that we be specific in our asking for what you want release from.
Tony Robbins talks about the six human needs we all have. We will all do whatever we must to get those needs met and knowing what your top two needs are will help you understand your motivations and actions. He says these needs are why we do what we do. In a recent podcast on this subject, he reminded me of something I’ve heard him say before; the biggest addition we all have today is not drugs, alcohol, shopping, or things of that sort, what we are most addicted to are problems. Having a problem can help us meet many of our human needs! It can connect us with others through our own victimization, it can create certainty for us because we know that problem intimately, it can create adventure because we the problem can change and be exciting in some ways.
So how about if the prayer for surrender was simply “Please make me whole with or without this problem.” Making room for our wholeness no matter what happens.
“What we resist persists” and our negative emotion leashes us to the very people or situations or problems we long to escape. It creates a loop where you draw more people, situations or problems like them TO you. I suppose this is why when we surrender, transformation takes place – just like in the story of the Buddha. When we surrender our resistance, we can get in alignment with our highest route.
I have been listening to Abraham-Hicks recordings for many years now. I hear Esther’s voice talk over and over about allowing and resisting and still, I feel like I’ve missed the point all these years in what she was saying! Dropping our resistance and opening to be in alignment with Divine will doesn’t mean we sit back and just wait to react. It means we must actively love ourselves, no matter WHAT the outcome is in a given situation. It’s about choosing to be open to the outcome and KNOWING, trusting that we are going to be even more fabulous no matter which way things go! Allowing the love of ourselves to shine through, surrendering to the love that we ARE and realizing that the conditions, the people involved are not the point. Surrender to being the love that you are, no matter what and having fun, THAT is the point.
It turns out that when we surrender to the idea of allowing things to happen as they are meant to, in the highest way for all involved, we get out of our own way and it feels a hell of a lot better than trying to force our own agenda.
We must BE what it is we think we need. Get on the frequency of BEING what we seek and one way or another it will come. “It’s a shift in focus from getting & doing to being a vessel.” I suppose you could call BEING what it is you seek striving in some ways, yet it is also surrendering to BEING your true self because what we seek is always within. As long as we think what we need is outside us, we will strive, push, force, blame, and make ourselves suffer.
Being whole, standing on your own two emotional feet, knowing your wholeness. Amazing. Now if that sounds attractive to you, consider the force of love that can happen when TWO people together each do this. Beautiful. It starts and ends with YOU, surrendering to the love that you already are and being open to the route that is in store for you. YOU MUST GO FIRST, in spite of conditions. i.e... surrender.
Obviously, trust is part of this equation. You can ask for that too. Ask for help to trust that you will be safe if you surrender your agenda. As Father Richard Rohr says... "The opposite of faith is not doubt; the opposite of faith is control." Here's to letting go of control! Staying open! Let's try something new and see what that feels like!!! Clearly this will be a whole new approach for me! ;-)
Sandy Edie Hansen
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