I first discovered my next Creative Life interviewee when her book, Style Statement, was recommended to me a few months ago. Tumbling happily into the land of writer & speaker Danielle LaPorte, I started reading her blog, invested in a Fire Starter session for my business and found so much inspiration from how unashamedly she walks her talk. In her varied career she’s been the executive director of a Washington-based think tank and run her own communications company for 10 years, so it’s no wonder budding entrepreneurs will travel far and wide to hear her speak about everything from guerrilla marketing to life purpose. She’s also a commentator on the CBC TV show, Connect With Mark Kelley.
It’s an honour to have Danielle on my blog today, and, just for fun, I’m sharing some thoughts over on her blog today too – on video, no less! Two for the price of one.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the white hot truth of Ms Danielle LaPorte…
SC: Yours seems like truly vocational work – how did you get to this place?
DL: I think you should be mindful of how you refer to your work in the world (career, j-o-b, chore, calling, service…) and so I love the word “Vocation.” It’s rooted in voice. I got to this place – this place of earning my living by voicing my perspective – in part due to a severe allergy to conventional business and bullshit corporate policies. So that pretty much kept me from ever getting a real job. I got here by asking, relentlessly, for what I wanted, whether it was for a better position, a new gig, a better rate at the bank, or asking the universe to help me realize my dreams. I asked. And I believed.
Speaking in public is most people’s worst nightmare – how you prepare to blow your audience’s mind?
I intend to be useful, really useful. I’m clear that I’m there to teach, so there can be plenty of poetry and theater (that’s where kimonos and killer boots come in,) but everything has to circle back to being practical. No filler.
I prepare. I think about four key nuggets that I’m most inspired about and I make sure I hit those notes no matter what. I’m transparent. I tell my story with plenty of vulnerability. I’m righteous. I don’t apologize for my very strong opinions. And I pray. Before I get on stage, I say micro-prayer, it’s one word: shine. I want us all to be shining and radiating and high on life by the end of our time together. So far, so good.
Describe a typical workday.
– Wake up in a cuddle pile with the kid and the man, and the dog at the end of the bed.
– Check email quickly to see if anything stupendous has happened overnight. Immediately feel guilty about checking my email.
– Look for Spiderman or Batman paraphernalia, and walk the munchkin to school.
– Call a girlfriend on the walk home. Usually Candis.
– Stretch. Pray or read something inspirational (or trashy.) Make pot of Yogi Indian Spice Tea with Honey.
– Crank my “Devotion Emotion” or “TranceBoomYa” i-Pod playlists.
– Depending on the day (I do the Entrepreneurial Time Management System) I’m at my Mac writing, jamming, you know, rocking the world. If I’m not writing for my site or others’, I’m doing Fire Starter Sessions with clients, or working on distributing my new stationery line. And when I’m not doing those things, I’m lost in creating my next book – and selling it.
– On Wednesdays I record my segment of a new CBC TV show, Connect With Mark Kelley. And that evening, if my husband isn’t doing a night shift (he’s a fire fighter,) I do a 5 Rhythms dance class and sweat my prayers out.
– Most days involve milk chocolate. On the days when I have to cook, I stress out about it and wish that the man were cooking that night, and then I suggest that we go for sushi.
– Hot bath with lavender.
– Stay up too late watching the newest documentary DVD.
What does true success look like to you?
Creative freedom. Deeply nourishing relationships. Fat cash. Helping to create aha’s and ease for people. Social responsibility and effective philanthropy. Stirring the cosmic melting pot. Thick gold hoop earrings. Trust.
When my son was born, I realized on a very deep level that, if I was going to teach him to live according to his own agency, that I myself had better up my game. And I committed to live more artfully and passionately. I became more creative when he came into my life. And less willing to suffer fools.
What books/music/blogs etc do you love?
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Abraham-Hicks
Anything by Krishnamurti, Alan Watts and Pema Chodron
Grace and Grit by Ken Wilber
Beauty by John O’Donahue
I don’t. And I don’t believe in “balance.” Balance is not the stuff of greatness, and the pursuit of it causes stress. I believe in proportion. A lot of love, a heaping amount of focus, and plenty of room to follow my heart and take a nap when I need one.
What three things could a creative entrepreneur do to make their business rock even harder?
1. get clear on your core desired feelings – they’re driving everything whether you’re conscious of it or not.
2. know your Hedgehog Concept, or call me for a Fire Starter Session.
3. always be the giver.
You’re having a dinner party and can invite six famous people from the past or present – who would you choose?
What is the message you want to share with the world? (in other words, what do you consider to be your life’s work?)
Truth is freedom. Freedom is all.
* * * * *
Danielle, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I love that you’re a fire starter, and your husband is a fire fighter – sounds like a passionate combination to me :)