What is the Desire Map? An introduction to the process
Desire Map process: How do you want to feel?
First, it’s a book written by Danielle LaPorte. But’s it’s so much more than that. Next, it's also a process or a system which can guide your life. In short, the Desire Map process lets your feelings serve as the GPS for how you plan your time, set goals, and live your life.
Now this is important...
First thing to remember. It all starts with a simple question. How do I want to feel?
And this is where people run into trouble. The question is simple. That is to say answering the question is not always easy.
Here's where Desire Map facilitators, like me, come in. If you get stuck during the Desire Map process, I can work with you one on one or in a workshop setting. (I work with clients in person in the Portland, Oregon metro area and online all around the world.)
Let me introduce you to the two steps of the Desire Map process. First, determine your core desired feelings. Next, design your life by setting goals that help you to feel that way.
Now you are probably wondering what core desired feelings are?
That is a good question, which I promise to answer below.
But first, the difference between feelings and emotions.
Stick with me here...
The best description I have found uses the metaphor of a coin. Picture a coin with two sides. I’m picturing a United States quarter. One side, heads, features the head of George Washington. The flip side depicts a bald eagle.
Feelings and emotions represent opposite sides of the same coin.
One side of the coin is our emotions. Emotions are hard-wired and universal physical responses.
"A conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as a strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body." Source: Merriam-Webster
Happiness. Sadness. Fear. Surprise. Anger. Disgust. These emotions all look familiar, don't they? They are six universal emotions.
On the other side of the coin are our feelings, which are mental associations and reactions to emotion. Merriam-Webster defines a feeling as “an emotional state or reaction.”
Now here are two key points...
Feelings are personal while emotions are universal. In addition, emotions live in our bodies while feelings are in our minds. Got it?
The Desire Map process starts with Core Desired Feelings. What are they?
My answer: Core Desired Feelings are three to five feelings that you desire to feel on a daily basis. Once you determine them, they will help you to feel the way you want to feel in all areas of your life.
Now I can almost hear you thinking, how do I determine mine?
Part One of the Desire Map process: Determine your Core Desired Feelings in five steps
Step One: How do I want to feel?
On the surface, this is such a simple question. But have you ever asked yourself this question before? I never did until I discovered The Firestarter Sessions and The Desire Map.
How do I want to feel?
Let this question sink in because this concept may be radical to you. It was to me.
Next, ask yourself this question in all the major areas of your life, which The Desire Map divides up as follows:
- Livelihood + Lifestyle
- Relationships + Society
- Body + Wellness
- Creativity + Learning
- Essence + Spirituality
Step Two: Be a word nerd.
First, look at the words you have written down. Second, get inside the words. Now dive deep. Also, learn as much as you can about the words. Look up the definitions of the words in one or more dictionaries. Third, find the synonyms too.
I’ll admit that I enjoyed this step and looked up more words than required. The Desire Map process follows the same steps but is unique to every person. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this. Furthermore, there are no right or wrong ways for you to desire how you want to feel.
Step Three: Make your first picks.
First, which words resonate the most with you? Circle them. Next, what feelings can you rule out? Narrow down your list of words. Try for ten words or less.
This step was so hard for me. For one thing, there were too many positive feelings to choose from. By all means, consider getting help from a Desire Map facilitator, like me, for steps three to five. It's important to realize that you don’t have to do this process without support.
Step Four: Be a detective: Search for patterns.
Next, you have the chance to be a detective and learn more about yourself. What you discover as you hone in on your core desired feelings may surprise you.
First, do certain words appear on your lists again and again? You may be onto something. Next, do any of your words belong together or are very similar? What other patterns do you detect? Finally, are there any words that no longer feel right?
Step Five: Make your final picks.
Picture a tree with roots, a trunk, leaves, and fruits hanging off the branches. I teach clients how to determine whether a feeling is a root feeling or whether it is a fruit. Our core desired feelings need to be roots. In fact, they are part of us and have been since childhood.
First, does a word only appears in one area of your life? For example, in your livelihood but not in any other area? Next, cross it off your list. Core desired feelings need to work in ALL the areas of your life. This is a holistic process.
Next, did you put any words on your list because you felt you should? Cross those off immediately. No shoulds allowed here.
Finally, choose three to five core desired feelings. However, if you have six or seven words, don’t sweat it. Another key point is that this process is unique to every person. In other words, make it yours.
Lastly, please don’t feel guilty for how you want to feel. It’s not selfish. It’s self-care. You deserve it!
I’ve determined my core desired feelings, now what?
First, Celebrate! Next, take time for self-care.
So what’s the next step in the Desire Map process?
First, you determined your core desired feelings. Thus, you are clear on how you want to feel.
Next, it all boils down to this...
Above all, do things that make you feel that way. How? Incorporate your core desired feelings into your life. Also, your new definition of success may become feeling the way you want to feel the majority of the time. Sound good?
This is easier said than done. In addition, what comes next is a life-long practice.
Soon, core desired feelings will become your time management guide. As a result, you will set your daily rituals, habits, and goals with them in mind.
In conclusion, I leave you with a quote from Danielle LaPorte:
Knowing how you want to feel is the most potent form of clarity you can have. Generating those feelings is the most powerful thing you can do with your life.”