Over the last few years, I’ve completely transformed my approach to business planning and goal setting. Instead of focusing exclusively on outcomes and other measurables, I now always start from two questions: what do I want my life to be like (i.e. what do I want to do, have, or experience) and, even more crucially, how do I want to feel?
How do I want to feel each day? How do I want to feel when I sit down at the computer to start work? How do I want to feel when I interact with clients? How do I want to feel physically? Emotionally? How do I want my relationships to feel?
I spent the last ten days traveling (driving, beach, more driving) and had some time to reflect:
I want my client relationships to feel friendly and easy. I want them to feel mutually beneficial. I want them to feel confident and smooth. I want to feel competent, helpful, appreciated, and appreciative.
I want to feel freedom in my work — the freedom to say yes, the freedom to say no, the freedom to charge what I’m worth or to work for free when I want to, the freedom to work while I’m on vacation or to take ten days completely off, and the freedom to take on side projects.
I want to be asked questions that make me feel smart and ones that make me feel confused. I want to be asked questions that force me to make new connections. I want to feel like an expert and like a student.
I want to feel like I’d rather be working than doing laundry. I want work to be something I'm driven to do.
I want making money to feel guiltless. I want it to feel natural and easy. I want to feel like the exchange of money for services and goods is always a fair exchange that makes both sides feel good.
I want to feel as confident as a star athlete. I want to feel that graceful assuredness that comes from being well-practiced and well-skilled.
I want my writing to feel creative, soulful, and generous.
I want marketing to feel like helping. I want it to feel like sharing.
I want sitting in my studio to feel focused and invigorating. I want to feel flow. I want to feel relaxed. I want to feel present.
I want creating to feel more like water flowing than like waves crashing. I want it to feel like a favorite song coming on the radio. I want it to feel like the breeze from an open window or like warm socks on cold feet. I want creating to feel at once comfortable and new — easy and challenging at the same time.
I want it to feel good. And when it doesn’t feel good, I want to know myself and my creativity well enough to know how to make it feel good.
So tell me: how do you want to feel?