How Do We Want To Feel Together?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I’ve been grooving on the work of Danielle LaPorte since this past summer. She focuses on the power of identifying and moving towards core desired feelings in helping you get to a place you want to go: “You’re not chasing the goal itself—you’re chasing the feelings that you hope attaining those goals will give you.” (The Desire Map, p. 11)

Each day I review how I want to be feeling. I affirm that I’m travelling in the right direction and think about where I want to be going. My core desired feelings change and morph over time. LOVE was there for a while, and is so big and all encompassing, I’m going to devote independent study to it. EASE is a new one for me, and I’m curious to see what shifts it will bring.

Right now my core desired feelings are:






This is great work to do on one’s own, and I also have questions about how to apply Danielle LaPorte’s work to groups and organizations.  Individual growth isn’t enough to affect great change in the world; we also need social and organizational healing and growth and change.

My question, then, for this post is: What happens when a group of people (a collective, a community, an organization) identify, move towards, experience, and act upon core desired feelings? This question turns on its head the traditional ways of thinking about how a group of people coalesce. We know how to identify our collective purpose –a mission and a vision for ourselves coming together. We’re even getting pretty good at identifying central values that we want our work and interactions to abide by. And we know how to identify goals, objectives, tasks, and action steps, for sure.

But identifying and acting from desired feelings in a communal setting? I’m not so sure about that. Should the inquiry be into identifying and acting from shared desired feelings or should it be each person identifying them for themselves, followed by collective action?

I prefer to focus on working with shared desired feelings; it seems like a tougher nut to crack and could potentially yield more generative outcomes for groups.

How do we want to feel together?

This question births more questions, and now there’s lots of little baby questions running around with their mouths open, demanding to be fed:

Can a group experience a feeling together? There’s plenty of scholarship on this question, and a quick review seems to point to the answer YES. We know we can be collectively moved: a congregation enthralled by a powerful sermon, a crowd of hometown spectators in ecstasy from their team’s touchdown.

On to juicier questions.

How does a group decide what they want to feel together? My core desired feelings are likely different from yours, so can we even sit down and figure out what we want to feel together? What kind of decision-making processes would we use? Is this even a  helpful or useful activity?

Can a group take action towards experiencing a desired feeling? What happens after a group has identified shared desired feelings? How would we identify the action steps that would help us experience those feelings? How would tasks be undertaken by the group as a whole, within sub-groups, and/or by individuals?  How would we know when we’ve all felt the feeling we want to feel?

What kinds of actions stem from experiencing shared desired feelings? This seems related to the question above. It’s the post-test to the pre-test. First, we take action to feel what we want to feel. Then, we take action from that feeling place. What happens next?

Clearly, there are lots of questions and few answers.  Perhaps it’s time for some action. What if community and organizational meetings began with people sharing their desired feelings? What if we identified what is common among us and set intentions for moving towards feelings we all want to experience, perhaps together? What would happen next?

How do we want to feel together?


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