Entrepreneurship has been Danielle’s backdoor approach to having conversations about consciousness. All that fire starting and hustling brought her to a place where she is simply more interested in love and how to apply it in any given situation.
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply ecstatic to introduce my guest today, Danielle LaPorte. Danielle, are you prepared to ignite?
Danielle LaPorte: Absolutely! I’m already ignited.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Love it! Entrepreneurship has been Danielle’s backdoor approach to having conversations about consciousness. All that fire starting and hustling brought her to a place where she is simply more interested in love and how to apply it in any given situation.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Danielle, but why don’t you take a minute. Tell us about you personally. We want to get to know you. And then take a minute and tell us about your business.
Danielle LaPorte: Well, mostly, I live at DanielleLaPorte.com, and I’m most interested in a few things. One, how the entrepreneurial spirit can be infused in every area of your life, which is really about taking responsibility for being creative. And I’m interested in kindness and generosity and how all that come together. I have a book called “The Fire Starter Sessions” where I wrote a lot about defining success on your own terms and really getting underneath that definition of success. Currently, I’m on my soapbox talks talking about desire and what that has to do with goal setting and how I really think we have our relationship to goal setting sort of inside out and backwards, and I’m interested in changing up the conversation around ambition.
John Lee Dumas: Man, well you are speaking to the right audience, Danielle. EntrepreneurOnFire is getting over 100,000 unique downloads a month in over 100 countries, all passionate entrepreneurs who are searching for that desire, searching for that passion. So you’re really going to be speaking to them, and I can’t wait to delve into that content. But before we do, we start every show off with a success quote. It kind of gets the motivational ball rolling, and I’d love to hear what you have for us today.
Danielle LaPorte: Well, if I’m going to borrow a success quote, I would go to the Oracle of Delphi and then say that it’s about knowing yourself. So know thyself because when you have that kind of clarity who you are and what you’re attracted to and what goes on your no list and what goes on your to do list and really why you’re here and what feels good, then you make what I call holistic or empowered decisions – decisions that include your mind, your body and your spirit. So know thyself, and that’s what will make all the difference in your success.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a powerful quote for so many reasons, but can you take us down to the ground level, Danielle, and share with us how you apply this quote, this mantra to your life and to your everyday decisions?
Danielle LaPorte: Well, I feel closest to life when I’m sort of walking my talk. I’m committed to my own truth. Where I’m at right now in my career is I’m very public seeker. I’m looking for fulfillment, I’m looking for prosperity, I’m looking to be of service, and here’s what I found in my journey. Really, that’s what my “product” or my “art” becomes really just a discussion about my own search and what I found. What I’ve got to say isn’t original at all. These sort of perspectives have been around for thousands of years, but the twist is this is my lived experience, these are my experiences I have of everything from being fired from my own company to my first gig to Oprah calling to how I launched stuff, and all of that only goes smoothly if I’m on the path of what feels good for me. Authenticity, the irony is it actually takes a lot of courage to show up and be yourself. To say what you need to say at the meeting, to make those 11th hour decisions where you decide to stop the press if something doesn’t feel right. By the way, those 11th hour decisions will be the times that really define if you’re going to play in a mediocre camp or if you’re going to play in a camp of mastery and total awesomeness. When you have the courage in those moments to say, “This is what feels true for me. This is what feels sincere and authentic and genuine,” and those are risky moments when you risk pissing somebody else off, when you decide the best thing to do is to let the gig go, not sign the contract and say goodbye to the money. So that’s how knowing myself influenced my decisions.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] That can be so risky, Danielle. Listen, Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, so you’re definitely in good company there.
Danielle LaPorte: [I guess] Steve’s story many times that come from myself [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Right [Laughs]. Danielle, I love your use of the word “journey” because EntrepreneurOnFire is all about the journey, and today, we’re spotlighting your journey as an entrepreneur, which has been incredible on so many levels and so many ways. Take us back to a time in your journey when you’ve failed or when you’ve come across an obstacle that you really had to work hard to overcome, and then share with us how you overcame that obstacle.
Danielle LaPorte: Well, as of this mention actually, I don’t talk about this much more anymore these days, but I started an incorporation that was a lifestyle media company. I raised a ton of money, wrote a book, covered a book, Oprah called. We were media darlings. I hired a CEO to run the whole thing because I didn’t want to be “just a consultant.” I really wanted this inspirational multimedia empire.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Danielle LaPorte: And I got fired from my own incorporation. So it was made known to me that they were going to change the business model. It turned into what’s called an [outline] business, a content factor in that my services weren’t really needed anymore.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Danielle LaPorte: Which is like absurd and ridiculous because it’s my name on the door, it’s my name on the URL. It was a personality-driven brand. John, to cut to the end of that story, three months after they let me go, they declared insolvency and all went south as it should because there’s such a thing as karma, but that’s really an aside.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Danielle LaPorte: But what I learned from that is that even in that moment, which was totally excruciating, and that was devastating, even in that, I felt this yes, this sense of like oh, finally, and I was able to be in touch with the freedom. I was able to kind of loosen up from the tragedy and say, “You know what? This sucks and this is really hard on my ego to just go you know what, on some level this is what I wanted, and not only is this what I wanted, but I’m going to take radical responsibility for my part in creating in this situation. My biggest lesson out of that was that it all became very clear that the betrayal – because there was a lot of betrayal involved in the situation, a lot of people creeping in at night into the office, photocopying shareholder certificates.
John Lee Dumas: Oh God!
Danielle LaPorte: That betrayal was really just a reflection of me having betrayed myself, and it was all the times when I didn’t speak up, when I signed things that I didn’t want to sign. I remember signing off on some documents for investors and I was having a hard time breathing, and I thought it was just excitement. But it wasn’t excitement. Your body always knows, especially when you sign a deal. I knew. I knew on some level this was wrong. This is not the direction I wanted to go in. Our slogan was all about inspiring authenticity, and it was getting very inauthentic very quickly, the more money that came into the situation, the more people, and people telling me how to be, how to be as a brand, which is really screwed up when you are the brand and you want to live your life as an artist. So liberation. After that, after that aha, like this outer betrayal is a reflection of my inner betrayal, I made a vow to myself that I would never ever, ever be silenced again. I wouldn’t dummy down. I was going to pick the phantom colors that I wanted, I was going to swear on my blog. I was going to talk about consciousness and cash in the same paragraph and there was no going back. It was all of me or none of me. I was no longer going to shrink. That is a road less traveled and that’s what made all the difference.
John Lee Dumas: That makes so much of a difference, Danielle, and it’s so powerful that you’re sharing this part of your journey and these lessons that you’re learning because that is the essence of EntrepreneurOnFire, is for us to really hear the journey and the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned and the improvements that you’ve made as you’ve continued forward in your journey. You briefly touched upon an aha moment, so that’s just a perfect lead in to our next topic, the other end of the spectrum, which is the aha moment. Share with us a light bulb that just went off, this aha moment that you had, and then share with us how you turned that moment into success.
Danielle LaPorte: Well, that was it. It was the I won’t be betrayed, I won’t betray myself, I won’t be quiet. I mean there were a lot of aha moments. Another one of them was I was talking to a mentor. At this stage in the company, I had banks calling my cell phone every day asking where the money was going to come from and I was legally within my rights to kind of walk away from things, but that didn’t feel ethical to me. My mentor at the time said it is not your job to make everybody else in this situation comfortable. That was a major light bulb for me that I was being called to stand my ground. It meant I couldn’t put everything in a nice neat box with a bow on it and make everybody’s problems go away for them. And then they’re coming to a resolution where I take responsibility for my part of things, but without overgiving, without being overly responsible for it. That was the moment when I really grew up as an entrepreneur. You quickly learn or you harshly learn that leadership is not about making everybody else happy. Leadership is not about getting agreement from everybody. Leadership is about doing what’s right and may you be blessed with ethics and morals in your version of right. That was a big aha. It was a big moment for me.
John Lee Dumas: Danielle, you talk about just the steps that you took in that next venture where if you wanted to swear in your blog, you swore. If you wanted it to be a certain color scheme, you did. If you want to talk about money and consciousness in the same paragraph, you did. Talk to us about how you transitioned that beginning into currently where you are right now.
Danielle LaPorte: Well, I hit the ground running so I did not spend a lot of time looking in my [rooms]. I mean I was up and running with the new website within 6 weeks.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Danielle LaPorte: Because I needed to make money. This is how I coach entrepreneurs all the time. Just launch, just get it out the door. You can figure it out after you get your first phone call from a client. I put something up on website and said, “I’m going to do Firestarter Sessions and I’m going to jam with you for an hour and it’s going to be X dollars.” I surveyed a few friends, how much do you think I should charge? I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew that I could give someone huge value in an hour.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Danielle LaPorte: [I knew] for companies and the phone rang. I got an endorsement from her, and then the phone rang again and I got an endorsement from her. And then I had a sales page and then I had a testimonial page, and then I took the show on the road. I went to 16 cities in a year.
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Danielle LaPorte: I went wherever anybody would have me, and again, I just didn’t know what I was going to do. I put up a post on my blog that said, “Do you want to have me come to your city? I’ll sit in your living room and your boardroom and your yoga studio. We’ll jam for three hours. It’s 100 bucks.” I remember sometimes I’d get to the airport. I didn’t know who was picking me up. I think, oh my God, it could be some crazy cat lady with a dump of a [home]. Everybody was lovely. Sixteen cities is a lot in a year, and I came home that year with a lot of stories. My own entrepreneurial muscle was strong.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Danielle LaPorte: I had anecdotes and I had the makings of a book, and I turned that into a book called “The Firestarter Sessions.”
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely. Just a random side note question, what was your favorite city of those 16 and why?
Danielle LaPorte: Austin. Austin, Texas.
John Lee Dumas: It does not surprise me.
Danielle LaPorte: They’re so progressive and it’s like Austin is an anomaly. It’s like they just got plumped into the middle of Texas.
John Lee Dumas: Right.
Danielle LaPorte: And then my final event in New York because I was exhausted. I mean I just kind of pinned my hair up and put on some mascara and thought, “Life, help me be really freaking wise today,” and it was one of my best events because I was so like I’m going to give you all I got to give. It’s my last city. I’m going home. And I gave [her].
John Lee Dumas: Oh, I love it how it works out that way so often, and it’s so funny you say that about Austin, Texas because it’s so true. Most people are like, what are you talking about Texas? Like they have all these generalities about what it would be. You described it perfectly. It’s like this town that just plopped in the middle of Texas that really isn’t really supposed to be there, but it just is.
Danielle LaPorte: [Laughs] That’s right.
John Lee Dumas: So Danielle, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Danielle LaPorte: Oh, wow. That’s a great question. Have I had an I’ve made it moment? Yes. I’ve had lots of I made it moments, quickly followed by I want to do better. So I really feel that I’ve never arrived and I’m really comfortable with the fact that one never feels like they’ve completely arrived. I mean the day I feel arrived, I’m just unconscious and I’m not learning anymore because there’s always more. I mean call it this “divine dissatisfaction.” See, you’re catching me like right after a launch week.
John Lee Dumas: Oh, perfect!
Danielle LaPorte: So I launched “The Desire Map” last week and that’s a huge process and a big event. It’s fantastic. I sit in the joy of that and the success and all the feedback and all the numbers and all those things. And then I think, “What am I going to do now?” I love that feeling. It’s like total presence, total absolute gratitude. Like there’s no criticism in that, but then in the next breath is excitement for how you’re going to make it better. That’s how I stay on my own creative edge.
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely. Thank you for the statement that you think this is a great question because personally, I love the question when I ask entrepreneurs have they had an I’ve made it moment because I always get a different answer, and that’s powerful for an interviewer to always get different answers. Some people say, “John, I have an I’ve made it moment every single day” while others are on the other spectrum, “John, I’ll never have an I’ve made it moment. That’ll be the day that I die.” For me, it’s all about the milestones and the accomplishments along the way and really enjoying the journey and appreciating these accomplishments that you’re making. Can you talk to Fire Nation about your mentality about the journey?
Danielle LaPorte: Yes. I have very strong opinions about the journey. What I’m on about these days is about creating goals of the soul, which is why I created The Desire Map. That’s the whole point of desire mapping. What I’ve become very clear on the hard way – so please, take my advice – is that to repeat an over-repeated phrase, success really is the quality of the journey, but to put that in mind in sort of current terms, the feeling that you – well, let me just back up and give you my theory. You are not chasing the goal. You are chasing the feeling that you hope the goal will give you.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Danielle LaPorte: It’s not about the thing, it’s not about the job, it’s not about the relationship. It’s about the feeling that you’re craving in that achievement. So my whole theory is we first need to get very clear on those feelings that we desire, and then everything – your to do list, your strategic plan and business plan, your bucket list – needs to be the call to action of generating those feelings. What can you do to feel that way? I’m a fan of goals. I mean I have goals. I have very strong intentions, I have very strong desires, I have things I want, but how I go after those things needs to have the feeling that I’m chasing. So if what I’m actually going for ultimately is to feel creative or to feel affluence, then I better be feeling creative and in a state of affluence while I’m going after launching my product or a New York Times bestseller or speaking up at a staff meeting or whatever it is that you’re going after because if you think that you can be in a state of constriction or overwhelm or pushing or misery in order to like feel really awesome at the end of it, then you’re mistaken. It doesn’t work that way. How you walk the journey is how you’re going to arrive to your final destination. When I got that, it changed the way I went after everything. I’ve been in the middle of big campaigns and said, “I’m really not feeling joyful. This hustle is not making me happy. I’m getting the hustle, I will put in the work, but I got to find a way that feels the way I want to feel.” I’m clear. I want a sense of lightness and connection and I want to feel affluent and creative with everything I do. If I’m not doing that, then I either fully pull out of something or I find a way to make it the way I want it to be.
John Lee Dumas: Powerful insights, Danielle. Let’s bring this interview now into the present. You have so many exciting things going on in your business right now. One, you’ve alluded to this launch that just took place. Can you share with EntrepreneurOnFire what is really exciting you right now in your business?
Danielle LaPorte: Oh, well, I’m all about The Desire Map. This is my thing for the next few years. So what I’ve just created is this multimedia experience that’s about helping people get very clear on what I call your “core desired feelings” and using those core desired feelings to look at what you’re going to do and have an experience in every area of your life. So I created it like a map, it’s the desire map. You look at your livelihood and your lifestyle and your creativity and your learning and your stuff and wellness and all of that, and then that clarity is the basis of your goals. That’s what I call your goals with goal. If you could see me now, I have a big smile on my face because the overwhelming response to it has been a sense of relief and encouragement, which is really what I feel I’m here to do. People are just like, “You mean I don’t have to be absolutely positively like compulsively fixated on goal-setting to be a success?” and I’m like, “No. In fact, quite the opposite.”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Danielle LaPorte: So it’s a really exciting time for me.
John Lee Dumas: Well, Danielle, your smile, believe me, is resonating incredibly well through the microphone so I know that Fire Nation is feeling your smile, feeling your authenticity. Thank you for sharing all of these things that are going on in your business right now. This is leading us perfectly into my favorite part of the show, which is the Lightning Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you come back at us, Fire Nation, with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Danielle LaPorte: Let’s do it. I love it.
John Lee Dumas: Alright! What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Danielle LaPorte: Nothing. I’m born an entrepreneur.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Love the honesty. What is the best business advice you ever received?
Danielle LaPorte: Don’t spend the money when you get it.
John Lee Dumas: Boom! If you could only choose two websites to obtain all the information you need to succeed, what would they be and why?
Danielle LaPorte: Well Seth Godin is a god in my industry, and I would come to DanielleLaPorte.com [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: Those are two amazing websites. I’m going to link both of them up in the show notes. Seth Godin was on EntrepreneurOnFire just a couple of weeks back. It was amazing to have him on. He shed some great insight and I just love his daily snippets. They really just pick me up in the morning. They’re better than a cup of coffee. Do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you’re just in love with that you can share with Fire Nation?
Danielle LaPorte: Well, actually, I want to marry Evernote.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Danielle LaPorte: So yes. Evernote has changed the way we organize my business. It’s like the harness of our creativity. I love it. Get Evernote. Use it.
John Lee Dumas: Perfect! If you could recommend a book for Fire Nation, what would it be?
Danielle LaPorte: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. That book was biblical for me.
John Lee Dumas: So Danielle, this is the last question, but it’s my favorite. So take your time, digest it, and then come back with an answer for Fire Nation. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have right now. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next seven days?
Danielle LaPorte: I would write and I would do what I do now. I would take my place as someone who wants to be of service who has something to give, and I would give and give and give and give.
John Lee Dumas: That is actionable advice, Danielle. You have given us actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then share with us how we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Danielle LaPorte: Okay. Fire Nation, all you hot people, a parting piece of advice – you’re important. You’re important. That’s not advice. That’s more of a declaration. But just smoke that. You’re important.
Where you can find me, I’m everywhere, sweetheart!
John Lee Dumas: You are everywhere.
Danielle LaPorte: [Laughs] At DanielleLaPorte.com. TheDesireMap.com would bring you to the same place. YouTube, lots of kind of poetic, motivational videos.
John Lee Dumas: Love those.
Danielle LaPorte: Twitter, Pinterest. Pinterest is like my new thing.
John Lee Dumas: Cool!
Danielle LaPorte: And Facebook, yes.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Pinterest, you can do a lot of cool video stuff on Pinterest, which people are just now exposing.
Danielle LaPorte: Ooh, ooh, ooh!
John Lee Dumas: Yes. I just took a great course with Melanie Duncan on Talk to the Top, and it was incredible this video page that she set up and the shares that you get on Pinterest because so few people are doing it for videos was incredible.
Danielle LaPorte: Melanie Duncan?
John Lee Dumas: Melanie Duncan. Pinterest. The “Pinterest Queen,” she calls herself.
Danielle LaPorte: Okay. Cool! Thank you. Thank you for the tip, John! A nice little gift before I go.
John Lee Dumas: That’s what I’m all about, Danielle, because you have been so generous with your time, your expertise, your knowledge. Fire Nation salutes you. Thank you so much, Danielle, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.