Episode 02: How to Strive for Huge Goals While Staying Grounded in Who You Are With Danielle LaPorte

Melyssa Griffin

15 min



Pursuit With Purpose Podcast by Melyssa Griffin



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I’ve followed Danielle LaPorte for years (but seriously though, who hasn’t?), so it was a major honor to interview her for Episode #2 of the Pursuit With Purpose podcast.

If you don’t know Danielle, then she’s a best-selling author, creator of the Desire Map, and part of Oprah’s coveted Super Soul 100. She recently released her latest book, White Hot Truth, which is chock full of some of the deepest and most powerful lessons she’s learned in her life.

How to Be Your Own Guru and Define Success for You With Danielle LaPorte

You can listen to the episode right here:

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In it, I ask Danielle about things like…

  • How did her vision change about her book as she was writing it? What came up for her?
  • How to be a REAL teacher online vs. someone who just regurgitates information.
  • What “Conscious Optimism” is and how it can help us serve the world in a more meaningful way (despite all the crazy stuff that’s been happening lately).
  • How to strive for outer measures of success…while still staying grounded and not getting caught up in the “rat race.”
  • And which truth Danielle feels like she’s still searching for.

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This was a truly beautiful interview and Danielle’s wisdom had me fist pumping the entire time. I hope you love it, too!

Links from the interview:

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Loving the podcast? I encourage you to use the hashtag #PursuitWithPurpose to show our PWP tribe how you live your purpose everyday. Plus, you’ll get to sift through the hashtag to find other business owners who care about community and connectedness over competition and comparison. And I’ll be reposting some of my favorite images and stories, too. 🙂

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Click Here to Read the Transcript

Melyssa Griffin: Hey Pursuit with Purpose family. I am so excited about this interview today. Danielle LaPorte has been an inspiration to me for many, many years. So I’m just filled with gratitude of the chance to interview her and share this with you guys. This interview does not disappoint. One of the things I love so much about Danielle is just her honest power and she brings so much wisdom to us here. I know you’re going to leave feeling lighter, and yet more grounded in your own power. Now if you don’t know Danielle, she’s a bestselling author, creator of the Desire Map, and part of Oprah’s coveted SuperSoul 100. She recently released her latest book “White Hot Truth”. Today, we’re jamming on some of the biggest concepts Danielle discusses in our book, like self-compassion, spirituality, leadership, even politics and a whole lot more. You’re ready to listen? Let’s dive in.

Melyssa Griffin: Hey Danielle. How you feeling?

Danielle LaPorte: Oh I feel – right now, it’s all about like, a really peaceful and really powerful at the same time. So it’s not quite chill. It’s like it’s intense, it’s hummin’. I’m hummin’. Things are good.

Melyssa Griffin: Good. It’s like this silent power that you have.

Danielle LaPorte: I’ll take that, yeah.

Melyssa Griffin: So moving on, kind of talking about the book here. You went into writing this book I’m guessing, with kind of an overall vision and the kind of mission and ideas you wanted to communicate. As you wrote the book and as you finished it, what came up for you? How did that vision change or what did you learn that you weren’t expecting?

Danielle LaPorte: Well the book started off as something else. So it was originally going to be called “The Manifesto of Encouragement”. It was just going to be this, almost like my best stuff*, this kind of rah*, rah, rah, rah. I realized that in my own life, I don’t really need encouragement. I need inspiration. They’re very different things. I’m at a point where I believe in myself. I believe that I have something to offer. I mean of course, I need to be cheered on. All of that is useful, but to be who I am in the world, I just want to see other people who are doing it. I want to see other creatives with a capital C and be in that flow. I’ve said* encouragement, I don’t want to be known for encouraging people. I want to be known for what I must stand for, which is light and truth, and being of service. Sometimes when you’re in that conversation of light and truth and being of service, it’s actually not very encouraging. It’s really f**king sobering. And so, that was the shift. That was a shift. So yeah, I’m cheerleading you for the truth.

And then what did I learn from it? Since the book has been out, I’ve have been having conversations about it, there’s like refinements. This always happens with everything you make. Once you start talking through it, you go “ah, I just should have put that paragraph in the book”, “if I just would have put that one more clarifier in there, it would have been so much better”. So there’s some of that happening for me, but mostly I’m solid.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, that’s interesting that you bring that up. So I feel like the book is very much this, like being at peace with who you are and where you are, but still striving for these goals. You mentioned how you wrote this book, it’s beautiful, but there are still these pieces where you’re like “Gosh, I wish I had put that in that paragraph or I had phrased this differently.” How do you deal with that kind of dichotomy between I want to succeed and reach my goals, but I want to just be a grounded human being?

Danielle LaPorte: You know that refinement and just like putting stuff out and you think it could always be better, everything, everything, everything you do could always be better. Just launch, just put out there. I wrote “White Hot Truth” and nine months, and I essentially started a publishing company to put this out, which is not the same as self-publishing because it isn’t and isn’t. It’s a whole other business discussion, but I’m going to start publishing other people’s things. If I would’ve taken another six months to just make it perfect, who knows? So it’s great, just get it out. Now the dichotomy between what peace and ambition?

Melyssa Griffin: Yes.

Danielle LaPorte: We have to know what you’re hungry for. You have to be really specific about your hunger, otherwise, you’re going to spin and you’ll do things you don’t want to do, and you’re probably like in the space. You’re probably going to do a lot of stupid stuff for money. And then that gets baked into your brand and then you get attached to that, and then you don’t want to let your people down. So I know what I’m hungry for. I’m really hungry to be self-expressed. I’m really hungry to be of service. I want to know how life works and I want to talk to people about how life maybe possibly works. My business plan is broadcast light. That’s it. That’s why we exist. That’s not a flip phrase. So it’s not about broadcasting. If it’s not about mass communication, I’m not that interested. That’s why I’m not a one on one consultant. Some people are really wired for that and to really tend in that way. Not me. I mean I used to say to my therapist all the time, “How can you do this? It’s just like one person at a time. Don’t you just want to like talk to ten thousand people at a time?” He’s like “No, that’s what you do.” Yeah and then the light part is love.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah that’s beautiful. Do you feel like you started knowing this purpose? Did it just come out of you from the beginning? Did you know you have always wanted to communicate with lots of people versus one on one? How was that process for you?

Danielle LaPorte: The answer is just yes. I knew it, yeah.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. What would you say for people who don’t feel like they know it? They feel like there’s something there maybe, but they don’t really know what that purpose is, or something kind of blocking that realization for them.

Danielle LaPorte: Well I’m actually a big fan of staying in your comfort zone.

Melyssa Griffin: What do you mean though?

Danielle LaPorte: Do what feels natural. In this space, it’s like there’s so many different languages to speak in terms of multimedia. You can speak in video. You can speak in audio. You can build your blog. You can coach. You can be a public speaker. You can start a YouTube channel. What do you want to do? When I first started out in this, everybody’s getting a WordPress. I was loading up. I was doing the code myself. And then the vlogging came along and everybody felt compelled. Video wasn’t my thing at the time, it still actually isn’t my thing. I have no interest in having a YouTube channel that I populate with content. I want to write and I want to speak. So you’ve got to find your natural mode of communication, because if you’re not feeling like yourself and that medium doesn’t fit your message, you’re going to look disconnected. It’s actually going to come across. You are going to look inauthentic. So that’s one way, is what’s a medium that fits your message. When do you feel most – there’s a couple ways to put this, expanded, close to God, sexy, like yourself. That might be having a ninety minute one on one conversation with someone in your office. That’s a religious experience for you and nobody needs to know about it, or it might be on stage. It’s really personal.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah I love that advice. Sometimes when people ask me that question, I tell them from my experience, I’ve just always moved in the direction of what feels good. There’s no sparkly you need to do this tactical thing. It’s really just for me and it sounds a lot like for you too, is just do the things that feel good and natural to you. So I love that. For me, one of the most beautiful chapters in the book was about this idea that you are your own guru. Can you talk a little bit about what you mean by that?

Danielle LaPorte: That’s everything. That’s why I wrote it. I could’ve called the book that.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. Oh I like that too.

Danielle LaPorte: It’s that yes, go be devoted to gurus, and have a coach, and have a therapist, and obsessively ask your friends for their opinion and what they think. Go get all that. I still do most of that. At the end of the day, your decision. It’s got to feel right in your body. It’s got to be your yes. It’s got to be your failure. It’s got to be your success. The way that I have learned to do this, to really be my own agent, is to actually take less than put*. So I still get people’s opinions. There’s lots of people who I turn to as teachers, like I really think they’re the real deal, they’re tapped into how life really works, and I sit at their feet. It’s been a long time now, and a long time for me is like ten months that I haven’t had an astrology reading or a psychic reading. I currently do not have a coach. I have a therapist who I call once in awhile. I have an energy worker that I work with. It’s so ridiculous that – we all know we should be walking our own path, beating our own drum, but we’re looking for direction from other people about our own path. I tell you, I’m now testing it. I’ll be writing more about this I think, because now I’m like really living it. The lesson that* I take, less noise, more clarity, saving a ton of money on consultants. Go get an expert consult in terms of skill in your industry. Yeah, I just feel this spaciousness. It’s 50-50 that my decisions are going to lead me where I want them to go, whether I’m taking somebody else’s advice or I’m just going on my intuition. So really lightened up on the intensity of right way or wrong way to do things. It’s what feels good.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. That’s beautiful. Just thinking about turning off the input like you said and listening more deeply to what’s inside. I’ve been kind of thinking about that more lately, just that topic in general, and thinking like why do people do that. Why do we spend so much time on coaches and social media and T.V. or Netflix, and all of these different sources of input, or maybe just learning, like books, and like you said just different coaches and gurus? Is it this thing that we use as a barrier to block us from getting to our own core? Is it something that is kind of like this, like I’m safe, I don’t have to dig too deeply into what I really want because I’m listening to what all these other people want from me?

Danielle LaPorte: Yeah that’s a great layer. Well I think we do it out of a place of woundedness. There’s so many messages from like infancy that there’s a right way and there’s a wrong way, and this is how you fit in and this is what your test score should be. So there’s that. It’s like we’re indoctrinated. I think there is – it’s fear based, but fear can turn into laziness where it’s so much easier if we just follow somebody else’s seven steps. It’s just so much easier if our coach just tells us if we should break up or sign the contract or start a website. We don’t have to take responsibility. It’s unconscious lazy living. It’s actually an epidemic. You know what? Here’s the thing. You can live a mediocre life, never fully tap your own power and really not be in that much pain. I mean there’s no way to motivate someone who doesn’t want to be moved in this direction. Go ahead, be unconscious, be materialistic, don’t tap your depth. It’s certainly not going to tap your intimacy. You can go through this lifetime like this. Sure.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. Absolutely. In this same chapter of the book about being your own guru, you talked about how to be a true teacher and guru, is to rather than just regurgitating all the information that you find in the world, it’s about freely talking about your struggles and your vulnerability from this deeper place as a fuel for your teachings. How do you feel like – there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that I know are probably listening. How do you feel like they can do that better, being more true, vulnerable teachers versus kind of just seeing something that looks good and regurgitating that?

Danielle LaPorte: Okay. Stop trying to be an expert at shit you are not an expert about so that you can make money. Money is skewing a lot of how people in this industry are serving, which is of course, closely related to ego. Ego is skewing a lot; more popularity, more clicks, more followers, more likes – all of that. So there is that. You might not actually be a teacher yet, but you want to be of service and you want to earn your living this way, and that’s all cool. Then talk to us about your journey and talk to us about what you’re finding out. Tell us what you want to learn. Take us on the path with you and that can be of incredible service. Show us your hunt, and your discovery, and the questions you’re living right now. Let us know that it’s not all perfect and that you did actually – maybe you didn’t have money for a a boat and a ten thousand dollar website. Be a seeker. Take us with you on the seeking.

If you are an expert in something, which you know I think Malcolm Gladwell is onto something. You’ve put in your ten thousand hours. You’ve probably had some modicum of failure and success in that milieu. I hate to say this, I hated it when people told me this, but there is some earning. It’s not earning. Earning isn’t the right word because it’s not like – it’s not that you don’t deserve it, but there’s some work to be done man. You want to coach, coach. You want to write, write. I have so many people who come up to me especially after speaking gigs, and they tell me that they want to be a public speaker. Backwards. Live your life. Learn what works. Be of service. Suffer. Win. Succeed. And then package that in a really compelling way and then get on stage.

Melyssa Griffin: I think that’s great advice. I love what you said about the kind of newer person, who’s not yet a teacher, to talk about the questions that you’re living right now. I think that’s beautiful. That’s such a great way…

Danielle LaPorte: Yeah and we’re all in it together.

Melyssa Griffin: Yes. It seems to me, and what I felt is, is that’s where true community is spawned from, is being vulnerable. Here’s my journey. I don’t know everything yet, but I’m going to tell you what I’m learning and those questions that I’m answering for myself right now. Maybe it will help you and bring us together. I love that. So you talk about in the book, this idea of conscious optimism, and I love that little phrase, and as the solution to the question of how can I help the world in a more meaningful way. Now I love that chapter. Can you share a little bit about what you mean by conscious optimism?

Danielle LaPorte: Yeah. This is so relevant today. So in the context of today, I mean I think we’ve all read the headlines. There were twenty plus people killed last night in Manchester, England after an Ariana Grande concert, as an act of terrorism. So when I get up this morning, the best thing to do is not to deny how to – to try and not feel that. How can I make a nice green smoothie, and not be thinking about parents and Ariana? So you have to feel what’s happening in the world. You actually need to let your heart be broken. You need to get informed. I mean how I’ve grown up in the self-help space, is that I would listen to people who are so addicted to positivity and lightness. They’re like don’t read the news, you don’t want to ingest the negativity. That’s irresponsible. I am a global citizen. I need to know what’s happening in the world. Now at the same time, a lot of what is being fed to us is lies, it is fake news, it is corrupt at the fundamental level. I’m going to get as informed and as intuitive as I can about what’s actually happening right. What’s actually happening is devastating. And then, I’m going to choose – so I’m conscious about what’s happening and then I’m going to choose optimism or hope. They’re different words, but pick the one that works for you/ I’m going to choose to see where the light is, where things are actually happening, where solutions are being born, where entrepreneurs are putting good work in the world and they’re operating on a triple bottom line. I’m going to choose to see all the philanthropy. I’m going to choose to be just the very little me. I am nobody. Really, I mean we’re all just specs. I’m just one guy who is trying to be all that I can be to be of service and fulfilled and happy. I want to be in my joy and make a difference. That’s my idea of conscious optimism.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah that’s beautiful. One thing that you said in that chapter that I thought was such a great, little simple mantra, is “yes and…” It’s like yes this horrible terrorist act happened or this horrible occurrence happened and all of these other beautiful things are simultaneously happening that are still making the world a beautiful place. So I love that just from that perspective of getting back to that place of pain, but also love and hope like you said. Kind of going on that topic, so I run a Facebook group called Online Business BFFs. It has a lot of entrepreneurs and online business owners in it, and we are totally best friends in there. The questions come up, especially on days like today or just days where the political fire is fueling in some way, but the question comes up fairly often. There’s a very controversial debate about it. There’s very different sides where people ask should I share my political or social views with my audience. What would you say to a business owner?

Danielle LaPorte: Yes. I would say yes. Listen, stop it. Stop not sharing. Stop not being yourself and expanding because you’re afraid you’re not going to get the sale. So let’s just really break this down. This does get – it does get back to ego and money. I mean you can see I’m really – get fired up about this. You cannot create the future you want to live in if you are not sharing your ideals about what that future is. The universe, all the good things that life wants to give you, cannot find you unless you are being open about what you resonate with and your ideals and your values. You will not create change. You cannot call yourself a spiritual activist. You’re actually not in integrity if you are silent. If your clients don’t want to buy your stuff because of that, that’s okay. You’re going to survive. You actually – maybe it will really – maybe sharing your beliefs could really affect your bottom line. I mean I’ve been so hurting to see some major corporations and massive retailers, who in this political climate, have said we’re not going to carry Ivanka Trump’s jewelry because we’re not aligned with these values. I’m sure that’s cost them some money. This is what’s required. This is what courage looks like. It’s not convenient. It’s not comfortable. It might affect your prosperity, but it just reinforces your integrity.

Melyssa Griffin: I couldn’t agree more. I feel like if you’re creating a platform, and even if you just have an audience of your family and friends, like you said, it’s your responsibility to share those truths.

Danielle LaPorte: Yes. It’s not only your responsibility, it’s your privilege. I mean we’re living in a relatively democratic society. Our democracy is being threatened by darkness, and by blindness, and by bigotry, and false power. I could go on. But the semi-colon after this is how to do it in a way that isn’t divisive, that isn’t angry.

Melyssa Griffin: Yes, great point.

Danielle LaPorte: I think the answer to that is you can’t always. You might be angry, it might be messy. You might create, you might fracture some things, but ideally, you can share openly enough, you’re strong enough in your beliefs that you’re really okay if someone has a different belief. You love and respect yourself enough to share who you are, that you can still see the beauty in someone if they voted differently. Yeah just peace, peace out.

Melyssa Griffin: I love that you said that you love yourself enough to be okay with someone else’s different views, not just that you love them enough, but you love yourself enough to be okay with those differences. I love that.

Danielle LaPorte: Because if you have that, then you’re not threatened. You do not take offense. When you have that love and that esteem, you’re more expansive than contracted. You’re more fluid and soft than you are brittle. And so, things aren’t jarring. You’re just like hey man, wow, wow. That guy, that woman who sees things differently, different faith, religion, political, that might be the same persons who pulls you out of a burning house, or who will raise – who will school your children in a really mindful way. So you never know.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. Just having that love for yourself and other people. I feel like that was a big theme in “White Hot Truth” as well, is just that self-compassion leads to compassion in general for everyone.

Danielle LaPorte: Yeah if you ain’t got, you can’t give it.

Melyssa Griffin: Exactly. So this book is obviously filled with just so many different truths that you’ve learned and taught and experienced. Do you feel like there are any other truths, didn’t make it into the book because you’re still learning them right now, still searching…?

Danielle LaPorte: No, I’m still – I’m in White Hot Truth mode. I don’t know what else. I was just on the plane home from a launch event I had a New York, and I just thought what’s next. Not that I’m over it, I mean I am in this and so in love with everything that’s happening, but every writer is – there’s the book you wrote a long time ago that you relate to, then there’s the book that’s still on the shelves and there’s a book that came out, and there’s a book you’re working on, and then there’s the next idea. I don’t know what the next one is yet. I mean I got one long list, but I don’t know what’s going to make it to the top of the list.

Melyssa Griffin: I’m curious to see what it is. Just to wrap it up by – I have one more question to ask you. What do you feel like entrepreneurs or just maybe humans in general can do to live more meaningful, fulfilled, compassionate lives? What’s your piece of advice there?

Danielle LaPorte: A lot of things – I mean the tool, if you want a practical how to, you need meditation. You need to have some form of contemplation in your life, where you are still and you are cleansing your mind, just like you brush your teeth. you need to like get centered. So that’s like the practical, but the bigger is, I think that everything that everything that we’re looking for as entrepreneurs, the rush, the fulfillment, the recognition, comes through service. When you commit to impeccably serving your people, to creating product that is conscious on all levels, it’s respectfully harvested. Everybody who is involved in your supply chain, whatever that supply chain looks like, is paid well. Paying people well, I think you’ve heard me say is, actually an act of feminism, that you’re generous in what you give. That experience, that giving, there’s nothing like it. That’s what you want. That’s what everybody is craving, is that kind of fulfillment. It doesn’t come from great f**king branding. It comes from generosity.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah I love that. That’s beautiful. That’s a great way to end, service and sitting quietly in that reflection and meditation. So thank you Danielle. I hope you have a beautiful birthday on Thursday. I’m so appreciative. This conversation was not only helpful for me, but I know it’s helpful for my community too. I’m so grateful to be able to sit down with you. Now if you are listening right now and you have not ordered Danielle’s book, then get your little booty over to daniellelaporte.com/whitehottruth. I’ll link it down below.

Danielle LaPorte: I actually think the audio book is better than the written book. You get like the full experience. Yeah, you get like sonic D.

Melyssa Griffin: You get you and hours of content. I think that would be amazing. Okay, so audiobook, my friends, or if you’re a reader then regular book, but either way, definitely check out “White Hot Truth” by Danielle. It is a fantastic book. Thank you again, Danielle.

Danielle LaPorte: You’re lovely. Thank you and thank you everybody for listening.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, thank you. Have an awesome rest of your day.

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Melyssa Griffin

I believe that an unstoppable mindset can be your #1 business tactic. So, my job is to lead you back to yourself and to help you reprogram the limiting beliefs and patterns that are keeping you small. 

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