One of my favorite things about the one-on-one life coaching I do with creatives is getting to brainstorm what a super dreamy life looks like.
For some creatives it’s the ideal morning that involves white sheets, french pressed coffee, fresh air, and loads of journaling. For others it’s traveling the world. For most creatives I work with though, a dream life is about a feeling of confidence, courage, and creativity. Or something along those lines. When it comes to making that feeling a reality it’s my job, as a creative coach, to ask:
What does that look like?
This question always throws my clients for a loop. “What do you mean?” is typically how they’ll respond.
What I mean is what does confidence look like? What does inspired look like? What does courage, creativity, productivity, joy, peace, happiness, excitement, and love look like? If you can build visuals, textures, and actions around the feelings you can start to bring them into your life on the daily.
Try this: Take out a blank piece of paper and write down 3-5 things you want to feel as you move through life. Or even better, write down a LOT of things you want to feel and then circle 3-5 that really stand out to you.
Then make these feelings real by trying the following exercises:
1. A Cast of Characters
Under each feeling make a list of people who you think embody that feeling and briefly describe how or why. This person can be fictional, historical, a friend or family member, another blogger, or a celebrity. So for example, let’s say the feeling you want to cultivate is “brave”. Make a list of the bravest people you know and specifically why they are brave. Is it because they have a cool wardrobe that you could never pull off? Do they travel solo? Or did they quit their day job to chase the dream?
Once you make this list draw inspiration from these people. Let’s say Amelia Earhart was your character for “brave”. When you’re feeling afraid you can simply ask yourself “What would Amelia Earhart do?” Or you can say “I am Amelia.” to steel some courage. Kathleen Hanna (the lead singer of Bikini Kill) used this very technique when she found herself needing some thicker skin when it came to her critics and internet trolls so she declared “I’m Beyonce.” I love that!
Once you have your cast of characters take a few people from your lists that you could actually get ahold of to interview. Tell them “Hey so-and-so, I really admire how brave you are. I’d love to ask you a few questions about what brave means to you and how you find the courage to do all the awesome things you do.” I think you’ll be surprised to find out what they say about the very feeling you’re trying to cultivate and you’ll discover that we’re all in this together.
3. Make a Pinterest Board for each feeling
Start pinning images that represent the feeling you’re wanting to capture. It can be as abstract or as specific as you’d like. As humans we don’t actually think in words. We think in images and symbols – and those images are different for everyone. For example when I write the word “bear” you think of an animal with fur, right? What color is the fur? Where is that animal? You might be imagining a koala bear eating a eucalyptus tree while I’m imaging a brown bear giving birth in a cave. The idea is to associate the feeling concepts you want to cultivate with actual images so you can start to define, recognize, and manifest exactly what you want.
4. Check-in With Your Feelings
As you move through your day ask yourself “Does this action make me feel [insert desired feeling(s) here]?” If the answer is no an adjustment, big or small – attitude or otherwise, may need to be made. If the answer is yes then keep doing what you’re doing. And you might be surprised with your findings! For example, one of my clients wanted to make it a goal to go on a walk every morning. She imagined it would make her feel peaceful, productive, and centered. But instead her morning walks just made her feel anxious. So she stopped walking and started using her mornings to write instead. And get this – she had been feeling guilty for YEARS for not going on a morning walk.
Another one of my clients loves watching TV and was feeling bad about this guilty pleasure. But when we talked about her current obsession with Mad Men we realized that by enjoying this TV show she was feeling inspired to change her own career to be a bit more like Peggy. Just like Pinterest can help you create visuals for the life you want to live so can TV. But if channel surfing on the couch doesn’t spark your core desired feelings then it’s probably time to move on.
5. Acknowledge Your Feelings When They Happen
Finally, the best way to live the dream life is to find gratitude for your desired feelings as they’re happening. So for example, if you’re at a concert watching your favorite band take a moment to step outside of yourself and say “This is [that feeling]. This is excitement. This is inspiration. This is energy.” Or if you have a random moment of clarity (this sometimes happens to me while showering or driving) take a moment to savor it. Imprint it into your consciousness and say thanks to yourself for manifesting that moment. The more often you can recognize the desired feelings as you have them the more grateful you will be. And the more grateful you are, the happier you are.
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If you need more help with identifying what you want to feel I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. I am in no way affiliated with Danielle’s work – but I’ve tried it for myself and found it to be extremely useful in pinpointing my core desired feelings. It’s been about a year since I’ve worked through it but I may make it a New Year’s tradition from here on out.
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P.S. If you’re interested in 1:1 Coaching for Creatives with me I have just one more spot available for a 6-week session in November / December. Check out more on that offering here and email me by Oct. 31st to Kathleen@braidcreative.com if you’re interested.
P.P.S. Unrelated-ish: Registration for our Braid ECourse for Creatives Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You closes on Thursday (tomorrow)! Because you’re an & Kathleen reader you can register for $50 using the discount code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you check out. Learn more and register here. If you can’t swing the course this time around check out these content quick fixes over on the Braid Blog or sign up for our exclusive Letters for Creatives for more never-posted content.