After such an incredible goal-reaching year, it would be easy for me to conclude that 2015 will be nothing special. I’m hoping that all the hard work during 2014 has created a solid foundation so that 2015 will be a stable, happy year. And that’s why my goals for 2015 are less about new achievements and more about flow.
Let’s talk about flow for a moment. In 2014, Danielle LaPorte’s work rocketed into my world. To hear Danielle speak about, oh, I don’t know, ANYTHING is to stop whatever you are doing and PAY ATTENTION. Because whether you agree or disagree with her, you will feel compelled to listen, to figure out if she’s friend or foe.
I was actually a little miffed by the first interview of hers I heard, one she did with Jonathan Fields. She slams higher education as being a system of right and wrong answers and toots her own horn for having never gone to college. That’s an awfully narrow view of college and one that is not reflective of much of the work that happens in higher ed. (True, a lot of STEM classes have right and wrong answers, but even those fields have plenty of room for creativity and ambiguity.)
I was annoyed by Danielle at first, but I kept listening. Why? Because I had left the realm of right and wrong answers, and I was trying to find my path. Here was a woman who had dedicated her life to helping people find their paths. Her method? Ask yourself just one question:
How do you want to feel?
How do you want to feel? It’s so simple! So simple and yet so…refreshing. Profound. Uncomplicated.
So I listened to all of Danielle’s talks I could find on youtube, then I put The Desire Map on my wishlist. All along, I’ve been asking myself that one question: how do I want to feel?
As a book, The Desire Map is really two books in one: it’s the why and how of desire mapping. I’ve read the why part; the how part is a workbook that I have yet to start in the pen-on-paper sense of the word. But I’m introspective enough to have figured out how I want to feel. Two words: flow and free.
Flow. Flow describes how I want to feel in my personal and professional personal life.
I want to be more easy-going about how neat and clean (or not) our house is.
I want to spend lots of time exercising, on my bike and my two feet.
I want to keep the cash flowing in my life.
I want life to feel easier.
I’m pretty happy with how things are going now. My work is off to a good start for the new semester, I’m renewing my commitment to running, and I haven’t been as stressed out about the state of our house. This month, our roommate Courtney got a great new job, so that will increase our house’s cash flow. For me, flow is about being energized by the things that I want to do.
Free. Freedom can be a hard goal to nail down, given how busy our lives are and how enmeshed we are in relationships that place expectations on us. I’m thinking of “free” in a few ways.
I want to be free to say yes or no.
I want to be free to accept invitations and to spend more time with friends.
I want to be free to learn more, write more, think more.
When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to feel insecure about the next paycheck because it might not be there. But I’m guessing that the sweet spot of freelancing is to know when the consequences of saying yes outweigh the freedom of saying no. I remind myself that every yes has an opportunity cost: I won’t be free to say yes to something else when it comes along.
I want a great paycheck, but I also want to be me. And I’m a person who needs time away from work in order to be energized and excited for my work.
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You’ll notice that I don’t have any big achievement-oriented goals on my list for this year. It’s not that I don’t have any goals like that; instead, they are embedded within my larger feelings for 2015. I’m still running a half-marathon in February; I still aim to hit 20 billable hours each week. Because my real goal for this year is to feel the way I want to feel, flow and free are deeper goals, more authentic goals. And there are so many ways on a daily basis to feel the way I want to feel—it’s not limited to what I’ve listed here.
I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be a very good year. Onward!