I had high expectations when I first opened The Desire Map. I’ve read my share of self-help books that couldn't possibly help anyone, but this book seemed different. And I really wanted it to be great. In fact, I needed it to be great. I was searching for something to free me from the check-lists and striving and go-hard-go-fast attitude that was running me ragged. So I was immediately interested when I found what seemed like a solution: a process that rejected actionable, measurable goals with deadlines (that just become yet another to-do list), and instead promised to first determine how I want to feel and then help me set goals that will accomplish my desired feelings.
I wasn’t disappointed.
It took me a while to discover my Core Desired Feelings. I worked through the process in the second half of The Desire Map over multiple late-Spring evenings, sitting on my patio. Often with a glass of wine. Basking in the soothing atmosphere. I didn’t work on them after overly stress-filled days, or when I was in a rush, or when I had too much on my mind. I wanted to breathe. And do them right.
I discovered my Core Desired Feelings on May 9, 2014.
I was working through the final steps of the process, reading definitions, saying words out loud and sensing how they made me feel. Eliminating any that didn’t sound right or feel right or look right on the page. And then—all at once—six little words ripped my heart out.
Authentic. Brilliant. In Awe. At Peace.
They hit me with a tidal wave of emotion. I was exhausted. And exhilarated. And overwhelmed. I had never seen anything so true about myself. In any shape or form. And I cried. Oh did I cry.
I tried them on for a few days, and then a few months. And I started to see the connection between those feelings in every decision in my life. The things I wanted to do. The things I didn’t want to do. And the burning feeling inside me that something was amiss—that action was required—when I wasn't feeling the way I want to feel. I linked them to my work. I crafted them into a vision for how I want to exist on my team. And I started passing out copies of The Desire Map to everyone I know.
I was all in.
When the new year rolled around, I used them as my guide to set my intentions for 2015. I was in love with the idea of dedicating my energy to feeling good. To establishing happiness as my metric for success.
Throughout 2015, I have continued to refine my Core Desired Feelings. My initial selections felt great. And it also was my first bite at the apple. I knew from reading The Desire Map that CDFs can become more refined over time. As our comfort with the concept grows, we are able to dig deeper within ourselves and get closer to the true core of our desire.
I was no acceptation.
Authentic and Brilliant expanded and rolled up together into Vitality. It is a word I use frequently to describe how I feel after an amazing meal, a wonderful workout, or a restorative night's sleep. All times that I would like to recreate as much as possible. When I looked up the definition, I realized Vitality fits me perfectly.
At Peace was a harder one. I wanted to be more specific. What, I asked myself, was preventing me from feeling At Peace? And the words flooded in: restriction, confinement, rules, regulations, asking permission. It wasn’t peace I was searching for, it was freedom. But then that wasn’t really enough. I wanted to feel abundant energy, and immensely capable of creating the life of my dreams. It turns out: that's also my definition of Vitality.
I felt a little silly, actually, that it took me more than a year to hone in on that word. I use it all the time!
In Awe, I thought, would be the easy one. I knew exactly what I meant: the feeling when you see the ocean for the first time. That's Awe. And then I realized that I also get that feeling when I am with a true expert, someone who has command of their subject and also a passionate drive and enthusiasm for their work. There is a reverence about Awe that doesn't quite fit in that situation. I realized that with the experts, I was not only impressed, I also wanted to understand them and be just like them. There was an element of Curiosity. Of how do you do it?
I expanded In Awe to Childlike Wonder to capture that feeling. And then I was done.
Except, no. There was something missing. A nagging feeling in my bones. And I walked around with it for a while not knowing what to do. I read through my journal for the last year. I looked back at my entries in my Desire Map Planner (affiliate link). And it hit me like a ton of bricks:
I was still in the scientist-mind. Protecting myself. Scared to say that I also long for the mushy stuff. The stuff that requires someone else. Risk of rejection. Vulnerability and recovery. I act on my desire to know others and be known every single day. And yet I was afraid to put it in print. Until now.
My Core Desired Feelings:
Vitality. Connection. Childlike Wonder.
And I am thrilled! You might be thinking, what's the point? Your new Core Desired Feelings aren't all that different from your original list, why spend all this time refining them? Danielle LaPorte has a great quote to answer that. She says,
“Knowing how you want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life.”
Clarity is important. My Core Desired Feelings are the foundation for my hopes and dreams, my goals and plans. My Life's Work is to create situations where they are made manifest, because these feelings are the key to my happiness. The original solution was excellent, and a great place to start. But because we are talking about my future happiness, refinement is worth the effort.
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The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul (affiliate link) by Danielle Laporte