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How Feelings Can Cure Our Obsession With Busy

Take a short poll on an average morning in the office and you’re likely to get a 90% hit rate on the response from “how are you?” with “busy.” With the World Health Organisation now recognizing burnout as a diagnosable condition on a global scale, the obsession with busy as a measure of success is fast expiring. […]

Leading with feelings can improve physical and mental health, and improve productivity.
Leading with feelings can improve physical and mental health, and improve productivity.

Take a short poll on an average morning in the office and you’re likely to get a 90% hit rate on the response from “how are you?” with “busy.”

With the World Health Organisation now recognizing burnout as a diagnosable condition on a global scale, the obsession with busy as a measure of success is fast expiring.

Yet still it takes its hold. At the core of busy becomes a need to push away any other feelings—of any stress and discomfort.

Feelings aren’t just personal

“Feelings” seems to be a word confined to personal spaces, kept for inside relationships and the therapy room. Yet when feelings aren’t expressed, it can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, autoimmune disorders, problems with memory, anxiety, and depression.

Bestselling author and creator of The Desire Map series, Danielle LaPorte, says this disconnection from feelings is partly driven by trying to separate our personal and professional selves.

This tension causes people to get stuck in that busy cycle believing they need to perform more in a professional setting, whilst burning out their “personal” self. Yet the separation is futile.

Speaking with her before her London talk on “Sourcing Our True Power And Joy” in the summer, she said she’s always surprised at how many people approach her after her events—sharing how much they’re struggling at work and feel they’re unable to express it.

This “feelings” side is almost hidden from view within the professional setting. LaPorte says part of the struggle is that people are desperate to have control in their lives, so they think they need to show up in a different way in different settings.

What they’re missing though is that the “real power is in the flow.”

Being more heart-led increases productivity

LaPorte is not the only one advocating for more heart. Science continues to show the benefits of being more in flow and leading from the heart, with reductions in blood pressure and decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression. And this practice of being more heart-led or expressing emotions translates to increased productivity and performance too.

Mentioning the heart or feelings in a corporate setting might feel at odds with business-speak of benchmarks, targets and improving results. However, when it comes to peak performance, the most successful people in the world say their habits include being able to determine their feelings.

In his book, High Performance Habits, world-leading high-performance coach, Brendon Burchard, identified this as a core habit for producing consistent, sustainable results.

Brene Brown’s decades of research and over 400,000 pieces of data continues to galvanize the need for more “wholehearted leadership” and people who “lead from their hearts.” In her most recent book, Dare To Lead, she also reinforces there’s no separation between personal and professional, saying “who we are is how we lead.”

Feelings aren’t just “nice to haves,” they’re good for morale, energy, productivity, and success—however you choose to define it.

Integrating feelings into business and life

LaPorte has been approaching business (and life) from this perspective for years, initially publishing The Desire Map in 2013 after having integrated the process in her own life and realizing the benefits.

The book—which guides people through a process to create “goals with soul”—has since been translated into ten languages, a planner system, multimedia course, Top 10 iTunes app, and workshop and coaching programs in over 15 countries.

In LaPorte’s own company, which has a core team of ten, feelings are embedded in the culture. The principle practice of LaPorte’s Desire Mapping process is to get clear on what she calls your “core desired feelings” (CDFs).

In her team, these CDFs are central to their culture. Saying she’s constantly asking “how can I lead, manage, and create an environment that enables my team’s CDFs?”

Culture is a big word when it comes to corporate change, however, LaPorte says there are the simplest of changes that can have a mega impact. It all starts with being willing to have the conversation (yes, about feelings) and it doesn’t have to just be led by management. Anyone can start it.

With the obsession with busy and rise of burnout, people are craving to reconnect with their heart. Over 5 million people a month visit LaPorte’s website—a loving hub of wisdom to guide people back to their feelings, from poetry, to opinions, #TruthBombs and courses on clarity.

Wonder what the world could look like if everyone woke up asking “how do I want to feel?” and then led from there.

First published on Forbes.com on 18 July 2019.

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