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Are You Over-Extending Yourself Just to Be Liked?

10/15/2013 05:37 EDT | Updated 12/15/2013 05:12 EST

Where do you start after listening to the wisdom of Danielle Laporte, author of Fire Starter and The Desire Map? She shared so much of herself; her demons as well as her joy and with each kernel of truth, I knew I wanted to learn from her experiences and soak in her new way of thinking about life, work and happiness.

Danielle admits herself that she's been there and back. In the past year alone, she's launched three campaigns, divorced, moved twice and is busy getting ready to launch a magazine, which in a time of declining survival in the print world, is truly living on the edge.

But she's realized that this way of life can't continue; that's she saying "no" now from a place of fatigue and exhaustion rather than from a place of joy. As she observed, she needs white space in her life. So often she's said "yes" to something that is six or nine months down the road, but it comes up so quickly and just adds to her stress. She's now given herself permission to duck out.

Guilt is part of growth, she's noticed and it's OK to grieve your growth and the stuff you have to leave behind in order to grow and move on. She was over-giving to be loved.

So what has she changed? Danielle feels she is now living out her soul in her business. She's no longer in cruise control. She's realized that if she does things only for money, she gets depleted. Instead, her energy level drives the business.

One of her dreams, for example, has been to hit the New York Times best seller list with her books, but she's recognized that in order to do that, she has to hustle, be pushy and be driven by money. That's not fitting with her vision. In fact she's given up chasing goals, instead wants to chase feelings.

So she constantly asks how she wants to feel? So instead of the New York Times best seller list, she's decided that her aspiration is to get the word out to as many people as possible. Likewise with her magazine, she's determined that instead of striving to meet a demanding launch date, she wants to make something beautiful and launch it when it's ready. Sure takes the pressure off when you look at your aspirations that way.

Every creative act requires an act of faith and when it is not there, she's not living on the edge. "Knowing what I want helps me to take that leap of faith" she shares. She challenges the audience to ask themselves how badly do you want it, because desire will trump over fear. "Fear, she describes, is just excitement without the breath." So she reframes it, "I'm excited, I just need to breathe."

In fact, she's decided to be audacious and ask for what she wants. "Don't hold back on your creativity" she advises the audience. "There's more where that comes from." But she warns that not everyone is going to like how you walk through the world. Trust is a strategy, she observes, and it is all about being selective in who surrounds you.

"You need to be the leader of your own life." she declared. And being a leader is not about consensus. You are worthy of your desires and you cannot want too much. But just as you clean house before a party, you need to do the same in your life, both professionally and personally. Get rid of the dead weight and people who pull and put you down.

Regret is toxic. Everything is an investment, there is no such thing as a waste of time. You can always draw on an experience, she shared. She also encouraged the women not to become too attached to praise, or criticism. Value yourself and what you have to offer.

Instead of being driven to succeed, Danielle is driven by joy. She looks at the five areas of her life -- spirituality, relationships, body and wellness, livelihood and lifestyle, creativity and learning. She tracks repeating concepts in each area and how she wants to feel. Then she develops two big goals for the year.

In her closing remarks she encouraged the parents in the audience to talk to their children about their feelings; to help them find the vocabulary to talk about how they feel and let them know it's OK to share those innermost thoughts.

Clearly she is someone who walks her talk as she shared with the women business owners how to get on track to becoming who you are meant to be, and it was all about finding your joy.

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