Danielle LaPorte is a one woman mojo-making maven: the creator of White Hot Truth, a former think tank exec and news show commentator, Danielle has been featured in Elle and Vogue, and the Huffington Post. She ran her own communications agency ‘promoting visionary people and projects’ including a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a philosopher-physicist, a rogue economist, the Pulitzer-winning co-founder of Greenpeace. And she helped mastermind campaigns at (the wonderfully named) Department of Social Interventions for The Body Shop in Canada. She is author of the best-seller, Style Statement; a process I am still getting a kick from. A motivational speaker, Danielle helps entrepreneurs rock their career with her signature Fire Starter Sessions. You can find her on Twitter @daniellelaporte.
I adore your note cards and my favourite is ‘The serpent is the best thing that ever happened to Eve’. What or who was your serpent? Oh god good question! Well Eve just had to get out of the garden to grow. I didn’t consciously ask for the apple; I was working in Washington DC running a think-tank and this has real cache. But part of my hero’s journey was realising I wanted to stand for something that was my vision. And it all had to fall apart and I had to leave to really get it: that the next thing I was going to do was going to be all mine. I worked with a coach and I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t take any other jobs unless they paid me a tonne of money!
I had to say goodbye to promoting other people so that the next idea could be mine. That was my snake bite.
What is your favourite thing to hold in your hand? I have tried to use really fancy, expensive fountain pens (all part of the prestige and image). But now I buy two boxes at a time of blue medium point papermate pens. I tend to hold one whenever I am talking on the phone. That’s really powerful because with a pen you have a voice. This is my wand! When I have had intensely focussed meditations, I always get an image of a gold pen and the message is very clear: I need to write. I need to write. I need to write.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done for love? Oh I’ve made the same mistakes over and over! I kept moving across the country for men: it’s like I don’t have any large pieces of furniture or a dog what the hell? I’ll just move. Lots of moving.
And I got engaged over the phone once. That was dumb! Of course it all becomes intelligence after the event when you process it.
Compromise is overrated in romance.
You have spoken a lot about grief and the sense of purpose and fearlessness one has walking out of that fire. If you could, what would you say to your ‘pre-grief ‘ self about fear? It’s a thing I say every day now, in one way or another: that everything is progress. There is a great quote by Jack Kerouac that ‘Einstein measured that this present universe is an expanding bubble, and you know what that means’. So yes this will pop, but there will be a new bubble.
On a deep cosmological level there is no such thing as a mistake. Though of course intellectually there are mistakes that we need to analyse and fess up to. But to keep breathing – that point of presence – is always what helps me through the toughest times.
I just think there is no use thinking how is this going to turn out? Will I survive? Will I thrive? When right now in this moment I am fine. I am breathing, I am fed, and the people I love are near me. Right now I am fine. And that’s a little miracle when everything is falling apart around you. But keep going. Healing happens.
And no one gets out of here alive.
I am fascinated that while women are encouraged (pressured, bullied, coerced) into spending so much time thinking about their own figures, when the figures that would make the most difference to our selves, our family, our community commands so little head-space. Money gives women agency. Why should money be more important to women? It should be important to everybody! This has been coming up a lot: the fact that I actually talk about money. I think that is a real problem – money, sex, religion, faith, spirituality – we don’t talk about any of it enough. We are not authentic about it enough.
And I think there is a lot of shame around money: I racked up the credit cards again; I am not on track to make the $300k I want to make this year. And I think that we need to have pride in owing our dreams: pride that I am managing, I am thriving, I am on track.
It really takes a generation to get new ideologies into the cultural milieu, and it wasn’t that long ago that men brought home the bacon.
And men have that achieving, hunting, seeking missile energy – it is very different from women embracing and collecting. I think now we are moving into a place where wealth is about radiance – about a deep feminine energy that shines like a priestess. That puts it out there: she has built it, and it will come. And there is also that we have a spirit of generosity that is in us on a cellular level. And we are making way for that. But old structures need to fall apart in order for that spirit of generosity to be practised and not thought of as too emotional, too ‘woo woo’, too feminine.
In business speak its called the triple bottom line – and it works.
And this completely feeds the common idea of femininity that is very much about not being hungry. Because its one extra thing that we put into that box of shame as a woman (we bleed, we cry) but to exude that ‘masculine’ hunger for our own wealth and our own agency is somehow frowned upon more. Yes, I love the word agency. This conversation reminds me of Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmopolitan who was a maverick back in the 1970s and 1980s and her whole thing talking about women having it all. I get that and it punctured some paradigms for us. But you know what, I don’t want it all! I want what I want. I don’t want all of that stress. My ambition is very personal. Yes! I love the idea that we create our own ambitions, and recognise there is strength in that diversity. Trying to fulfil the dreams of someone else just makes you a follower.
What lessons would you pay for? Oh I pay for a lot of lessons – I’m a big fan of consultants and experts and not just because I am one. The right expert can create quantum leaps for you. So I pay for a lot of ‘how to’ stuff. I just had a great session a couple of months ago with Naomi Dunford about how to launch an e-book to find out what works.
Save me the learning curve! Just tell me. I pay on a regular basis to my shaman/shrink who helps me dissect my lessons and my psyche and its so valuable to just have that objective, informed loving perspective on why and how I do life. I wish I could write him a big fat cheque every time I see him!
I want to earn the rest of the lessons. I want them to come for free.
One of the things I love about your blog is the theme of self-belief and self-actualisation. So many women play down their achievements and apologise for being AWESOME. Have you always known your worth? Where does that come from? Yes. I have always known my own worth and at the same time I own that I am work in progress. I still have that self-critical voice, and that is constant – I think that’s just part of the mortal coil. It gets quieter and quieter and is more infrequent.
I think I have always known what I wanted, and somewhere I have been clear that my desires are woven, braided with my self-worth: I want it, I must be able to get it. I really think that life, god, your psyche, the cosmos whatever you want to call it, does not plant the seed of any ambition within you that does not have the formula to fulfil it. If you want it, you can do it.
You have been tweeting about your new book. Tell us about it. Well I am completely in the creative bubble. It’s all about this project. I am eating pizza at my desk. It’s a miracle I leave the house!
And that is what it takes for me, that’s they way I like to work. I really do have a work hard play hard rhythm and I just want to get this out – to get it polished and packaged and give birth to it. Because there is another book and another book…
Thank you so much Danielle ~ Firestarter Sessions will be launched to the world May 12. It’s going to be hot!