You've got a to-do list, right? Quarterly objectives? Yearly goals? Now, who has a list of how they want to feel in their life?
We have the procedures of achievement upside down. We set our sights on the babe, the boat, the bucks. We get them. Sometimes. They make us happy. Sometimes. We set a goal, we reach it, we feel great. Unless, of course, we feel empty or flustered or anxious that what we're doing isn't working to fill the hole in our soul.
Let me say it another way: Typically we come up with our to-do lists, our bucket lists, and our strategic plans -- all the stuff we want to have, get, and experience outside of ourselves. All of those aspirations are being driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way.
What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel within ourselves, and then we designed our to-do lists?
Getting clear on how you want to feel -- and doing whatever it takes to generate those feelings -- is the most creative thing you can do in your life.
Today's Worksheet (it's a big one!): Core Desired Feelings
feelings: sensations; emotions; inner states; consciousness; inner
goal: everything you work toward; the objective of your strategy; the
How do you want to feel in your life?
Do a stream-of-consciousness riff: concepts, words, feelings, images. This is about optimal, positive, nourishing, and good -- very good -- feelings. Put them on paper. Let a tsunami of desire flood you. Invest in yourself. Want what you want. Go.
Study your list of desired feelings. read it over a few times. Read it out loud if you're inclined. Sleep on it. Take it for a walk. What jumps out at you, feels warm, feels yes!, feels really important and valuable? Identify the words or concepts that really turn you on.
The objective of this exercise is to narrow down your list to three to five desired feelings. Whittle it down; make some tough choices. Having a tough time choosing between, say, creative and artistic, or strong and powerful? Try this: Look up the definitions of words. Each word is its own planet, and knowing the actual definition and origin can be instantly illuminating.
Repetitive questioning. This is a potentially annoying, galvanizing little minde trick: Keep asking yourself how a feeling feels. Get underneath its skin. Like this:
So, what does confidence feel like?
(Answer with the first thing that comes to mind.)
"It feels like winning."
What does confidence feel like?
"It feels like being certain."
What does confidence feel like?
"It feels like ... clarity."
Bingo. What you really desire to feel is clarity.
Write each word you're considering on its own sticky note, even if it's ten words. Stick them on the fridge for a day, or around your computer monitor, and see how they make you feel. You'll start to see how confidence is really summed up with the word strong, or how beautiful, classy, and elegant are present in one word: graceful. Toss the sticky notes that don't make the cut and see what you're left with after a few days.
Set a deadline for yourself. "By Saturday, I'll be clear on my core desired feelings and that's that." Don't sweat it. This isn't a test. You can change your mind later, have an aha moment, and recalibrate it all when you wake up.
Act the way you want to feel
Five to ten accomplishments or experiences that will make me feel this way:
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