Author, Danielle LaPorte Inc.
Described as confidently contrarian with a lust for writing, Danielle is author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide for Creating Success of Your Own Terms and creator of the online program, The Spark Kit: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs. Honing her experience as an inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and READ MORE »
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: My professional journey began selling lemonade, being class president, making my own prayer books in grade four. Then I got a real job, co-running The Body Shop Canada’s Department of Social Inventions. Did a tour as the Executive Director of a Washington-DC think tank where I managed a team of brilliant analysts to create future scenarios for the likes of the Pentagon, IBM and the State of the World Forum. I hung out with Navy Admirals and signed NDAs every other day. Trippy.
Before that, I ran my own communications and business development agency, “promoting visionary people and projects,” including a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a philosopher-physicist, a rogue economist, the Pulitzer-winning co-founder of Greenpeace, and a few old pop stars.
And now, now I’m here: DanielleLaPorte.com, and here, and I’m releasing THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS: A SOULFUL + PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CREATING SUCCESS ON YOUR OWN TERMS with Random House. Yeah, baby.
Q: Innovation requires creative thinking. How do you tap into the creative thinking resources within your business?
A: For starters, I make it an intention to be innovative. Innovation is not everyone’s raison d’etre. Some people are built to maintain, to uphold, to nurture systems. All of which is good and necessary. But if you want to innovate then you need to have that intention at the forefront of your consciousness. It doesn’t happen by accident (well, sometimes it doesn’t but even then, you need to be aware enough to notice it.)
To get to my own creative edge — which is the most rewarding, and risky place to be — I’m always asking:
Am I being useful?
Is this as sincere as can be?
Does it feel thrilling to make this?
If the answer is yes to all three of these questions, then there’s a good chance that I’ll come up with something original.
Q: It’s hard to focus on the “big picture” sometimes because we can get caught in the weeds of work and life. When does visioning come clearest or easiest for you? Or what inspires your vision?
A: Almost all of my ideas come in solitude. Driving, in the bathtub, late at night when the house is asleep. There’s a meandering of my mind and that’s when the best stuff comes in. I’m wired for strategy, my brain thrives on execution planning. But before that, I’ve got to feel swept away by an idea. In love with it. Then the how-to’s of it are just like throwing a party for each idea.
Q: I don’t feel like this topic is talked about enough in business news. Professionals get laid off, fired, resign or change careers all the time–which can obviously be a difficult transition at first. What was the hardest career transition in your life and how did you grow from it?
A: I got canned from my own incorporation. Ousted from the company I co-founded. It was grizzly and liberating and divine. It opened the road to creative sovereignty for me. I stopped shrinking, I found my voice, spread my wings, had better ideas, more laughs. I don’t believe in destiny (I think reality is what you make it,) but going through the eye of the needle got me very clear on how I want success to feel. And to me, it feels like freedom and devotion.
Q: What do you believe makes a great brand?
A: An excerpt from THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS:
Here’s what brands with integrity and true character know for sure:
TRANSPARENCY IS SEXY
Care more about being accurately, precisely who you are than caring what anyone might think about you. Be daring enough to tell us—your customers, your fans, your people— about your ambitions because weʼll be the ones to help you fulfill them. Expect to offend some people. If youʼre not having some polarizing effects, then youʼre not fully showing up.
ONLY THE SELF-REFERENCING THRIVE
The starting point is Who am I? not What will sell? Your foundation has to be built on your
real passion. The rest of branding is about accurate packaging.
Keep on being yourself, relentlessly. We can count on Apple to innovate. We know that
Ford trucks will always be tough. We could rely on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to deliver his
vision with strength. Being consistent doesnʼt mean you donʼt change or evolve. Look at
Madonna. Sheʼs consistently reinventing herself. Reinvention is her brand. When you
consistently and genuinely show up, you build trust.
PRIDE IS POSITIVE
I have never met someone who is living a bold and successful life—and by successful I mean prosperous, kind, and in touch with the meaningfulness of what theyʼre
doing—who has apologized for being perfectionistic, mercurial, unrelenting, or whatever
their slightly controversial hallmark characteristics are. You will always be too much of
something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges,
you lose your edge.
EMOTIONS ARE MAGNETIC
If you donʼt emote, youʼre remote. Emotion is the chemistry of resonance. People, clients,
customers, and audiences say Yes! when they can relate to your vibration. True character is having the courage to defy your position and express your emotions. We stand up and say things. We lean forward. We risk. We laugh out loud, show our true colors, and speak our minds. We make declarations. We are charming. Weʼre not charming to everyone, of course. Not everyone is going to fall for our shtick or want to buy our goodies. But weʼll charm the people who relate to us. And you know what that is? Thatʼs love.
ON Starting Out
Q: If you had a young sister or a daughter who was a senior in college, anxious about landing her first job or unsure of what she wanted to do, what would your advice be to her?
A: You’re important. The universe has got your back. Know how to give a good handshake. The divine feminine is the greatest power you have. Forget what you learned in college.
Q: What or who in your life gives you the strength to persevere?
A: You need to have a literal and a psychic nest in order to go out in the world and do great things. My literal nest is my man, our seven-year old wonder boy, and a house that is part temple, part mother ship. And then I have my nest of sisters and advisors. Girlfriends who know my soul, a business intuitive, a creativity instigator, an astrologer, an idea maven. And my right hand assistant. And then I have my own inner tools. Meditation. Prayer. Yoga. Disco dancing in the kitchen. And a lot of green smoothies.
Q: Oprah has that great section in her magazine “What I know for sure.” What do you know for sure?
A: Your soul is rooting for you.
ON Self Care
Q: What do you believe is the secret to finding the right person and maintaining a long term, good relationship?
A: Be the person you want to fall in love with.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Rock n’ roll monk.