J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 68.
D: You know, I think what gets me back to my own vibrancy and happiness is feeling compassion for myself in those moments and compassion for other people.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm Jen Riday. Last week, I spoke with Kate O'Brien all about how she and her husband, Henare, started their relationship on a rocky path, but now 14 years later, by exercising self-compassion and self-awareness, they are doing fantastically. Kate is really good at taking time for herself and I think she has some tips that we can all learn a lot from. So if you haven’t listened to that yet, be sure to go back and do so. Today, I'm honored to be talking with Danielle LaPorte, best-selling author of 3 fantastic books, ‘White Hot Truth’, ‘The Desire Map’ and ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’. In this interview, Danielle and I talk a lot about self-love and self-compassion, how we really need to trust ourselves on our spiritual path. You know, sometimes we do everything that everyone else says when the real answer lies within us; we can be our own spiritual gurus. So let's go ahead and jump right in.
I'm talking with Danielle LaPorte today and she is an invited member of Oprah's Super Soul 100 a group who, in Oprah Winfrey's words, is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters. She is author of ‘White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another’, ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’, and ‘The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul’; the book that has been translated into 8 languages, evolved into a yearly day planner system, a top 10 iTunes app and an international workshop program with licensed facilitators in 15 countries. Millions of visitors go to daniellelaporte.com every month for her daily truth bombs and what's been called the best place online for kick-ass spirituality. Danielle is a speaker, a poet and a painter, and in her spare time, she is trying to perfect kale chips and hanging out with friends and traveling. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her favorite philosopher, her son. Welcome to the show, Danielle.
D: Hi, hello, everybody.
J: So what quote would you like to start out with today?
D: I should do a truth bomb, shouldn't I? “Your true nature is luminous,” that would be my quote for the day.
J: Nice, and an interpretation for us how you apply that in your life.
D: That it's about light; that you have all the insight that you need that, you know, the compass is your heart with your intellect. I mean, it really it's the premise of ‘White Hot Truth’, my current book, that, “You're the Guru, a few directions, external directions are good, but the final say is with you.”
J: Nice; empowering. Well, take us back to your personal low point in life because the Vibrant Happy Women podcast is all about that low point and still finding a way to be happy despite those struggles.
D: I'm thinking of one for you.
D: There's lots of different low points; it's never just one. I mean, I had a rough day this week that I thought, you know, it really made me feel compassionate for people who are in that slump or who are dealing with brain chemistry for long periods of time. And, you know, I think what gets me back to my own vibrancy and happiness is feeling compassion for myself in those moments and compassion for other people. I've been divorced, that's no fun whatsoever; it's very civil for me, but at the same time, pretty acrimonious.
D: I got fired from my own company. So co-founded a company, got a board of directors, raised a bunch of money, and I got ‘Steve Job-ed’; they didn't… you know, we had some creative differences and I left with a big amount of debt because I had personally co-signed a bunch of loans to the company.
D: They declared insolvency 3 months later because you can't have a brand based on me without me.
D: That was low, that was low. Yeah those are 2 biggies for me.
J: So these low moments come and I've kind of noticed there are 2 types of people in the world. Some seem to fall victim to these experiences and never quite make it out of that pit of despondency, and the others just rise up; and obviously, you're one of those. Why do you think that is?
D: Mm-hmm. Well, you know, everybody's got… I want to leave lots of room for mystery in that because everybody has their karma and their path. And, you know, somehow your higher force is directing your course and maybe this is the lifetime or this is a lesson where you're just going to… you're going to be down for a long time. There's another side to that coin, which is, my response to adversity is to pivot very quickly.
D: So usually what I do is, I see the meaning in it, I trust it, I know there's a reason for it; doesn't mean I have to like it, doesn't mean that, you know, it was just or it was fair, but there's a level of like, “Okay, everything happens for the reason, I'm going to figure out why if I can,” but I make changes pretty much immediately. Recently, we had to like really change something quickly in the business of like really significant strategy. We didn't get what we wanted, it's like, “Alright, meant to be, not quite sure why right now. Let's do this. Let's burn everything down and go in this direction.” And then after the pivot and the immediate change, I always give myself the space to like feel the agony and to really go down with the disappointment. I don't sugarcoat things. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I could have done differently. There is very little regret in sort of how I assess things and I know that it's going to pass. I mean, I failed enough, I failed profoundly, I have failed, I wouldn't say frequently, but enough times to know that like these things lift and they always, always, always, always (at least in my life) have led me somewhere better and I have that faith to draw on now.
J: Mm-hmm, I love that. And you obviously haven't been afraid to fail. Can you give us the quick overview of where you came from, where you grew up, and how you've gotten where you are today, and how ignoring the fear was a part of that?
D: Quick version of my entire life story is, always been a creative with a capital ‘C’, always been very interested in figuring out how I could be of service and how to be seen and I like express myself. So I'm just a hustler like on the spiritual path. I started with a body shop and pumping peppermint foot cream. I wanted a promotion so I asked for it. I didn't wait for the promotion, I knew I was never going to own that business and that was somebody else's empire. So that wasn't enough for me, so I left to do something else. I accidentally (pretty much accidentally) became a publicist. That led to me running a think tank in Washington DC. I just graduated high school, as in, only graduated high school; never went to university or college.
D: And I basically talked my way into everything and learn by obsession. If I want to figure something out, I become obsessed with it. I go to every conference, listen every podcast, figured out for myself. I started a company with a friend that was basically it was about soulful branding; how you could really create this, you know, brand for yourself that was connected to who you really were, you know, authentically.
D: Raised a lot of money, that's where I got fired. Oprah had called, which helped me raised a bunch of dough and then I went out on my own after I got canned and really became myself; became daniellelaporte.com.
D: And I just figured, “You know, if I want to create it, I'll figure out a way to do it. But if I need it in my life, need it and want it in my life, somebody else needs it and wants it in their life.” It's… you know, I make stuff for my tribe basically and it's… you know, it's working.
J: Awesome. Well, tell us a little more about ‘White Hot Truth’ and how that's helping your tribe.
D: ‘White Hot Truth’, the subtitle really does capture a lot of it; so it's ‘Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another’, and that would be me. And, you know, this is about our obsession with self-improvement.
D: This is about the denial and the criticism that we go into when we're not vibrant and healthy. And, you know, “How have we failed at manifesting? Should I go to one more workshop? Should I do more yoga? Do I need more therapy?” And maybe sometimes the answer to that, some of that, is yes or maybe you're using all of those things to just really cover up lack of self-worth and maybe you don't need anybody else's answers and seeking outside of yourself has become more of an addiction than something that's really, you know, creating wellness for you. And, for me, it's about full circle. I'm really… you know, this is all about being discerning and getting to that place of, you know, real self-love and self-respect so that you can then, you know, deepen your devotion to everything you want, everything we all want, fulfillment, and, you know, getting off your ass and being of service in the world.
J: Mm-hmm. So would you say that self-love and self-respect are the first step to getting to that place where you can serve?
D: Sometimes; not all the time.
D: I mean, sometimes we do it backwards like, you know, for the wrong reasons, for the right reasons, whatever the reasons are, we're service oriented; we want to help people. Sometimes we're martyrs about that, sometimes we over give, but there's still like a really valid way to figure out how to be more loving towards yourself; so it depends on how you're wired. Some of us are like totally self-obsessed and, you know, yoga and supplements and all the self-help books are really about us being like better and spiritually superior. And then we have our breakthroughs that really lead to true self-love.
J: Mm-hmm. So what are the breakthroughs you've had in regards to self-love?
D: The best self-love and self-help is all about self-compassion. So, you know, I just wrote about this really recently where I think self-love as a concept is really difficult for people to wrap their heads around because the term ‘love’, the idea, the notion of philosophy, it's so misused, overused, abused, misunderstood. Compassion, a lot easier for people to wrap their heads around.
D: So it's about loving yourself, being compassionate to yourself when you hate yourself, not when things are going well. So easy to love yourself, tell yourself how awesome you are…
D: … when you were like hitting your targets. It's about, you know, you're on the diet, you over-ate and you say you love yourself anyway.
D: It's about the times you lie. It's about the times you are actually really out of integrity and you say, “I love myself anyway.”
D: Doesn't mean you're not responsible, you don't clean up some messes, it's about applying compassion immediately. It's about loving what you want to criticize, loving yourself when you really feel most unlovable. And that is when self-love becomes medicine; really, truly transformative. You can't just love yourself when it's easy.
J: Mm-hmm. Are there self-care practices that you find are helpful and showing compassion to yourself, like the cliché things like taking the bath or, you know, meditation, those things?
D: Yeah, yes, the answers yes.
J: Yes, okay.
D: All of those thing. Yeah, like, you know, what I'm all for is people going deeper than that.
D: But all of that stuff is also part of… it's all the things you're going to do when you get to genuine self-love, right? So let me say it another way. Taking salt baths with essential oils is not enough.
D: But when you get to that place of loving yourself, you'll realize all of that is essential, you know what I mean?
J: Ooh, yeah, that's great. (Laughs)
J: I love that. So what is another takeaway from ‘White Hot Truth’ that you'd like to leave with our listeners?
D: Mmm, boundaries are essential…
D: … to being happy and vibrant and well. And this is particularly hard for women, it's extra hard for women who consider themselves to be on the self-help path; and you're not going to have that vibrancy. This really amazingly powerful phrase called, “No thank you,” or, “I can't,” or, “that doesn't work for me,” or, “Just doesn't feel right,” and those are really… that's it, pick one of them. It's really how you create space to get to your happiness.
J: Mm-hmm, excellent. Well, what's one thing that you currently struggle with, if any? You said you had a bad week. Can you walk us through that day and… and how you exercise self-compassion to kind of move through that space?
D: Well, where I'm at professionally as I'm really sick of the visibility game.
D: And, you know, I'm pissed off about Facebook's algorithms.
D: I’m pissed off about how the New York Times list is run and rigged. I'm pissed off about the lack of quality in terms of the self-help space. Yeah, so this is… you know, the fame machine is something that you… if you're going after it for the wrong reasons, you're going to have to pause during many junctures in your career to figure out if you still want to be in that game, if it's serving your… the quality of your work. You know, I operate in a system called social media and publishing and I love that system; I love the communications game. And there's parts of it right now that I'm just like, “Oh my god, I'm disgusted and frustrated and…”
D: “… and done,” yeah.
J: Mm-hmm, yea. Well, let's shift and talk about a few of your favorite things; get it to the… the real life.
J: So what's a favorite habit that contributes to your success?
D: Oh, I meditate every day.
D: Yeah, meditation and snuggling my kid; equally important, yeah.
J: How old… how old is your son?
D: He's 13, and he still is still Kyle; it's great. (Laughs)
J: Okay. So in your bio, you said he's a philosopher, tell us more about that.
D: Well, it's in his genes.
D: He’s… he thinks he's emotionally intelligent. So, you know, he's constantly kind of putting together why someone is the way they are, you know; it's really lovely.
J: Oh, that's great; for a 13 year old boy especially.
J: And how long do you meditate?
D: Depends; can be 11 minutes, can be an hour, can be…
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
D: … yeah, lot longer.
J: So some of my listeners have been asking this week on Facebook, “If you're a beginner to meditation, how do you get into it?” Do you have… since you've meditated for a long time, what would you recommend for that question?
D: Four minutes, really, please, just start with 4 minutes; and doesn't have to be every day. Like, you really need to enter this lightly. Then it's about… I mean, of course you want to extend your time, but we need to be really clear; it's not about the time or length of time, it’s about the quality of your attention. And then within the quality of attention, you really need to give yourself a break; your mind’s going to wander all the time. And then, under the umbrella of meditation in general, you need to find what works for you. I mean, I tried for years to do Vipassana meditation, watch my in-breath, watch my out-breath. Every time I had a thought, I… you know, you label it thinking. And I thought I was going to lose my mind; it didn't work for me. And, you know, for you, it might be mantras and it might be reciting it silently. It might be reciting it with someone, you know, with an audio. It might be a prayer you say over and over again. It might be just, you know, bringing down light and having it soak into your every cell.
D: There's so many paths, you know, in the… the world, the universe, of meditation. So if you don't like it, find another way, just experiment; it's like food. But it has… and I'll… you know, this sounds really righteous, but you must have stillness in your life to be your most powerful self.
J: Mm-hmm. And it kind of goes back to what you said, “Your own guru; you have the final say,” I love that; just having the confidence. Well, Danielle, what's a favorite easy meal? You… in the bio you, you know, you're perfecting the kale chips, but what do you like, what's your go-to?
D: My favorite easy meal is I don't cook. So this is… this is one thing I did that changed my
life, a lot of friends got on the bandwagon with me, we're just like, “Look, this is not going to work for the foodies, but for those of us who are like aren't foodies, it's not our thing; love food, but not obsessively.” I found a lovely lady on Craigslist to just pre prep stuff for me. I don't pay that much more than I would if I were just shopping at Whole Foods. So like once or twice a week, I get a bag of like cut carrots and cut celery and cut up vegetables, and then we'll choose
something it's like, “Can we do the vegetarian tacos this week? Can you do that yam and cauliflower mash?” And we go back and forth with our glass containers and that's my life; that's how it works. Otherwise… otherwise, I just eat crackers and cheese all the time.
J: (Laughs). So do you have a certain diet that you try to follow?
D: Yeah, I'm back to being vegetarian. So 12 years, I was plant-based, 12 years, I lived with a carnivore and super into meat, and now I'm done for compassion reasons…
D: … for inflammation; all of it. So…
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
D: … yeah, plant-based all the way for me.
J: Great. And a tricky question, but I'll still ask it; do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?
D: I do actually; I do.
J: Oh, okay.
D: My favorite… well, my… it's not… again, I have 2 things. My favorite is more than a gadget; I got to have my… (what is it?) my Vitamix.
D: So every day, that's worth it. I mean, it's like a little airplane engine and that thing, but essential for soups, smoothies every day. But my favorite little gadget is this… it's like this little silicone lemon that you…
D: So you cut your lemon in half and then you put your lemon in there and you just squeeze it and then it's got all these little holes at the bottom where the lemon juice comes out.
D: But it keeps the seeds. And it's like so fantastic because it's not… you know, with the old-fashioned learners, you know, fruit grinders.
D: You still got to get to separate the seeds in the juice anyway. So that's my favorite thing.
J: Oh yeah.
J: I'm going to have to put a link to that on the show notes page; I haven't even heard of that. Awesome.
D: Hard to find.
J: And your favorite book or books.
D: Oh, my favorite book. I'm really into Krishnamurti; so he is my philosopher crush, so there's always one of his books around on the house. Right now, my son and I are reading ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ together.
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
D: And it's probably the third time I've read it; it's… it's a work of art. And one of the books that I still go back to once in a while, really helped me as an artist and business person, actually 2 books, ‘The Creative Habit’ by Twyla Tharp.
D: And then ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins. That was biblical for me as… as a business owner.
J: Nice. And the best advice you've ever received.
D: The best advice I've ever received is, it's not my responsibility to make them feel good. And this was… there's a context for this. This was in the middle of a business deal that was going sideways.
D: And I was really being pressured to, you know, do what they wanted, “Sign here and come up with this and push it through.”
D: And they didn't want to wait, but it wasn't my job to make them comfortable; it was my job to take the time to make the decision I needed to make.
J: Mm-hmm, to take care of yourself, mm-hmm.
J: Yeah. Well, I'm going to remind our listeners that they can find links to everything we've been discussing, including that amazing lemon squeezer at jenriday.com/68. And now, let's hear your happiness formula. If you had to create a formula of 3 to 5 things that maximize your happiness, what would that include?
D: Other than meditation and cuddling?
J: Hmm, you can include those; whatever they are. (Laughs)
D: Okay. Number 1, meditate. Number 2, obsessively text my girlfriends. (Laughs)
D: So, yeah, my girlfriend relationships are everything. So, yeah, I get on the plane, I go to the wedding, I choose my friends over money on my home renovations. Friends are first; friends are everything. Number 3, just be with my kid, no phone, have a conversation.
J: Mm-hmm, yeah, alright.
D: Be with anyone I love, no phone, have a conversation.
J: Great. And a challenge for our listeners and then remind us where we can find you and then we'll say goodbye.
D: Okay, so I'll use a different word than challenge; I'm going to say invitation.
D: My invitation would be, do a list for yourself of all the things that you're doing to be better, to improve, and stop doing one of those things. (Laughs)
J: Uh-huh! I love it, I love it. (Laughs)
D: Do the one… stop doing the one thing that isn't lighting you up, that really isn't getting you the results of freedom and joy and the vitality; retire it.
J: Mm-hmm, excellent. Okay, I'll remind our listeners they can find links to everything we've talked about, including all your books, ‘White Hot Truth, and everything you will talked about that you like at jenriday.com/68. And if they wanted to find you on Facebook or social, I assume it's just Danielle LaPorte, am I right?
D: Yep, I'm everywhere.
J: Awesome. Well, we really appreciate you being on the show and thank you so much.
D: Okay, thank you; love to everybody.
J: Take care.
J: I had a good time talking with Danielle. And I think her advice to trust yourself and show self-compassion is so important in this day and age when we all have the internet and can find answers to everything outside of ourselves. Let's each commit this week to go inward and listen inside of ourselves to find some of those answers. I'll be back next week talking with Dana Malstaff, all about how to be a boss mom. Dana was a stay-at-home mom for a while and she found it wasn't fulfilling. She realized she had more to contribute than just being a mom. Now, granted, being a mom is fantastic, but Danna says that all of us are more than just a mom and we can't place our entire identity in motherhood. Maybe it's starting a non-profit or volunteering or working like Danna does, we all have something more to contribute. So you're going to love that episode, I'll be back with that next Monday, and I'll also be back on Thursday with a happy bit. I will see you soon, and until then, make it a fantastic week.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.