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Creator of The SELF Approach™ and Life Design Coach

I help go-getters, decision-makers, get-shit-doners, have-it-all-ers, personal-development-side-eyers go from falling asleep wondering if this is all there ever is to living a life that has them jumping out of bed excited to do it all over again.

Don't leave your future to chance. Intentionally create the future YOU want starting NOW!

Love Your Damn Life

Love Your Damn Self

Love Your Future Self

Do The Damn Work

I'm Jen Vertanen

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Start with Desire; How Do I Want to Feel?

Start with Desire is the first S in the The SELF Approach™ and a client favorite. I mean…who doesn’t want to live a life led by desire and possibility?

Yes – even in midlife! Especially in midlife? I’m going with it.

One of the tools we use is identifying our core desired feelings. Core desired feelings is not a new concept by any means. It was first made popular by Danielle LaPorte over a decade ago in her book, The Desire Map.

I’ve put my own twist on it which you’ll find below.

The work of identifying your core desired feelings is asking the question:

How do you really want to feel?

Deep down, in your bones…what makes you come alive, feel safe, lit up by your life?

Regardless of your to-list and hard relationships and chasing things that make us feel “happy”, what is your soul craving, begging to feel?

Your job is to listen and lean into those desires and I’m going to show you how but first…

My Own Core Desired Feelings

Every day I spend about 5 minutes (seriously – that’s all it takes!) in the morning, reflecting on my own core desired feelings.

Mine currently are:

✨ Lit up from the inside out

✨ Nurtured + nourished

✨ Emotionally, mentally, + physically well

✨ Vibrant + alive

✨ Cherished + supported

✨ Safe enough to take up space

Each of these has been carefully chosen to help support the best version of my current and future self. Every morning I check in to make sure I’m aligned to these desires, or not and if not, what do I want to incorporate into my day to move me towards my desires?

This has me always orienting back to my desires which is a much more…pleasant way to live. Less auto-pilot, more intention FTW!

Let’s get started identifying yours.

1. What Do You Truly Desire?

Forget what others want for you. What do you want for you? Put on some focus music, set a timer for 15-30 minutes, grab your special pen and journal, and stream-of-conscious riff on whatever comes up for you.

No judging and no editing. This is your soul speaking and it’s hardly ever neat and tidy. Don’t let your dick brain trick you into thinking there’s a “right” way…there isn’t.

If it helps, you can think in terms of these five categories:

  1. Livelihood and lifestyle
  2. Body and wellness
  3. Creativity and learning
  4. Relationship and society
  5. Spirituality

If these don’t resonate, you are more than welcome to identify your own categories. Get creative and have fun with this!

2. Look for the Clues

Set the timer for 10-15 minutes and go back through what you wrote. What stands out to you? What are the breadcrumbs to follow…the threads to pull?

Highlight these…they’re important. Breathe into them…take a deep breath and repeat each one in your head (or out loud!) and see how it feels in your body.

Does it make your heart leap? Your pulse quicken? Give you butterflies in your stomach?

Take note of these somatic feelings…they’re additional clues on what your soul most desires to feel. If you read one and it feels rather flat in your body…hard pass and move on!

3. Get Specific; Why Is This Feeling Important To You?

Take those clues from step 2 and start drilling down. Ask yourself:

  • Why is this important to me?
  • What does it really really mean to me?
  • What becomes possible in my life when I feel this way?

For example, you may have highlighted the word adventurous a few times. Why? And then why? And then why one more time.

My definition of adventurous is going to be different than yours. Your definition is what matters here…not mine or anyone else’s. The more specific you can get, the better you’re able to use these core desired feelings to orient your life towards feeling good and desire.

Keep going until you’ve identified 4-6 core desired feelings for yourself.

4. Make a List; What Is Going to Help You Feel That Way?

Take your list from step 3 and start getting specific. What does it look like to practice each of these? What activities support each feeling? Where might you need support from someone outside of yourself?

For example, one of mine is to feel nurtured and nourished. I know that I feel both when I do at least 10 minutes of yoga during my day and don’t drink wine every night.

Seriously – that’s how simple doing this work in your day-to-day can be.

Get creative and have fun. You’re going to hear this a lot from me. Give yourself the gift to dream in possibilities and then find things within the context of your life that are the next best thing.

5. Living Your Core Desired Feelings

The last step to unlocking your core desired feelings is to actually live them, i.e. incorporate them into your day-to-day life. Make your choices and decisions by checking in – does this align with my core desired feelings…or not?

It’s time to be specific and realistic and experiment.

Like I said above, I check in with myself each morning to see if I’m living my core desired feelings and if not, where I might need to make an adjustment or two for the day.

I use my core desired feelings to help me make decisions – both in the minutia and in the bigger picture of what I want from my life.

I then check in around quarterly to see if my core desired feelings still feel true for me or if it’s time to find some new ones.

Taking This Work Further

I have a Pinterest board with my core desired feelings but you can also make a fun collage, put reminders on your phone, use your fave red lipstick and put them on your mirror, whathaveyou.

Do whatever is going to help you keep these front and center because I PROMISE – living intentionally trumps living on auto-pilot each and every time.

Action Time!

It’s time to take some action now! Spend some time coming up with your core desired feelings and then come share them with me on Insta so I can help support you!

What Do You Desire? 5 Steps for Unlocking Your Core Desired Feelings

Future Self, Love Your Damn Life, Love Your Damn Self



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Jen Vertanen is a Life Design Coach for action-takers who are ready to "do the work" to fully love their damn lives

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