According to The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, when we’re expressing our unique gifts and talents in service of humanity, we expand abundance, joy, and peace in our own lives as well as in the lives of others. This is the spiritual law of “dharma” or purpose in life. As the Chopra Center’s Human Resources consultant, Traci Porterfield uses her gift of matching the right people with the right position so that they can in turn experience the bliss of living their own dharma.
Naturally intuitive, warm, and empathetic, Traci is also a master matchmaker in the realm of love and romance. In addition to serving at the Chopra Center, she is the president of Love by Design, a personalized matchmaking and relationship coaching company that she founded after many years of informally matching friends and acquaintances with great success. This month we had the opportunity to sit down with Traci as she shared her life experience as well as wisdom about finding a partner and expanding love in our lives.
When did you start giving friends advice on dating and romance?
I started helping friends with dating in high school. I grew up with a strong, independent mom who made it very clear what was acceptable in the dating world for me, and her guidance gave me a lot of confidence in successfully navigating the world of dating. My friends kept coming to me for advice, wanting to know my “secret,” and I was happy to help in any way possible. I think they could see that I was having so much fun dating, and when they looked at their own less than stellar experiences, they wanted to know what I was doing differently.I was always a problem solver, with an ability to quickly assess and evaluate an issue and move towards resolution. In giving my friends advice, I was subconsciously honing my listening and guidance skills, which ultimately contributed to the creation of Love by Design.
What are some of your proudest success stories in the matchmaking world?
I am exceptionally proud of what I have taught all my clients, yet some success stories that are close to my heart involve my family. I helped my Dad find his current love of his life, and he says he’s the happiest he’s ever been in his entire life! I also introduced my ex-husband to his current wife. Some might find that a bit “different,” yet they are both amazing people who deserve to be crazy in love, and they are. It’s a win-win for everyone! Also, when my very first client got married, and hugged me, saying “I owe this all to you!” . . . THAT’s what I’m proud of and passionate about!
What are the top five dating tips you would like to share?
The key is gratitude, then attitude. I tell my clients this all the time! Here’s what I mean:
First, be grateful. Be grateful for the journey you are on. Be grateful for all the wrong people you’ve dated. Appreciate the lessons, notice your patterns, and don’t keep making the same mistakes. Evolve. When you meet “the One,” you’ll understand why none of the others worked out.
Next, be your best self so you can attract the best. If there is a proverbial hole in your life, another person cannot fill it for you. When you are whole and happy, you will find a love that complements you, not completes you. You need to complete yourself. When you have self-esteem and come from the place that Deepak calls “self-referral,” you won’t make someone else responsible for your happiness or responsible for your pain.
Third, play hard to get. I know many reformed skeptics who rejected this approach as old-fashioned or anti-feminist until they tried it. Modern women who used to scoff at their mothers’ or grandmothers’ wise advice are discovering that in reality, men do love the chase. My advice to women is to be assertive in the work place and discreet and “unavailable” with the opposite sex. I am not telling women to play games – I am simply reminding them that men are full of testosterone (not estrogen) and are hunters (not nurturers). They want to pursue.
Ask any guy and he will tell you that if he is interested in a woman, there is nothing that will stop them him from contacting her. If he asks her out without a couple of days’ notice, she needs to be unavailable. When a prize is too easy to claim, men will not work hard to attain it. If you’re a woman, live your life, and a man will work to fit into yours. Bending over backwards or canceling your plans to fit into his is never a good idea. That said, there is no set formula. Everyone is different, yet the philosophy of the chase absolutely works.
Fourth, be pragmatic. If a date or relationship doesn’t work out, move on. With any breakup, don’t demand closure and don’t obsess on what you did wrong. Focus on your positive qualities, accept where you could have improved, and start to plan your next exciting adventure. There was nothing “wrong” with you; you were simply with the wrong person. Go out and find the right one!
When the negative inner voices start shouting, say, “thank you for sharing,” and focus on something else. It’s like in meditation – when you notice your mind has drifted away from your mantra or object of attention, you just need to gently let that thought go and bring your attention back without criticizing yourself or getting upset.
Finally, design a plan and TAKE ACTION! If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Every time you get out of the house is a dating opportunity. Take risks, try new things. And when your current plan doesn’t work, rather than getting discouraged, change your approach! Dedicate yourself to finding love.
What do you tell people who ask you, “How do I find the love of my life?”
Start by getting crystal clear on what you are looking for. Know your own core values and make sure they align with the people you date. This is a must for successful, long-term relationships. Use your head and your heart!
There is someone for everyone. Unfortunately, most people are impatient or they have an artificial time line for finding their perfect companion or they want instant gratification. This clouds their perspective and leads to anxiety and negativity when they don’t immediately find what they’re seeking. Finding love is a process that requires patience and the understanding that each experience and each lesson we learn strengthens our character and draws us closer to what we desire. We need to change our paradigm to enjoy the journey and to understand the path of love.
It takes time to find what you want, and it makes it that much more worthwhile if we relish the journey and enjoy the in-between time living our lives. It is not a waiting game, for those who wait on love rarely find true love. Think of yourself as an onion, and each dating experience as the process of unpeeling, to find the truest, deepest layer of self, to perfectly present to yourself and your future mate.
You’ve mentioned that one of your favorite books is The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, where Deepak Chopra explains how to harness the power of coincidence and intention to manifest our desires. Could you share what drew you to this book and what insights it has given you?
The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire might be my all-time favorite book for so many reasons! It is filled with lessons that have shaped my life, and content that I share with clients daily. Simply put: We are all responsible for expanding our consciousness. Enjoy the journey. Practice positive inner dialogue and focus on spiritual development. Consciously create your own “good luck,” listen, pay attention to clues, ask for what you want, and be aware of the vibrations you are putting out into the universe. What we put our attention on, blossoms. Attention and intention are the keys to transformation!
As Deepak writes, “Inspiration, enthusiasm, passion, and excitement give energy to our intentions and thus accelerate the spontaneous fulfillment of our desires.” I do believe, as the Chopra Center teaches, that we co-create our lives with the universe. We need to set our intention and take action – and then leave the details up to the universe.
What do you think has contributed to your success as a matchmaker in both the world of business and the world of romance?
My insatiable curiosity about what “makes people tick” and propensity for problem solving led me to obtain a psychology degree in college, and the next natural step in my career path was the field of human resources, recruiting, and coaching. For the past twenty-two years, I’ve continued to develop what I consider my single biggest talent – I know how to read people.
I’ve learned countless systems for profiling personalities, for understanding interpersonal dynamics, and for creating teams of people who work really well together. Before coming to the Chopra Center, I spent over four years as a vice president for motivational speaker and success guru Tony Robbins. In that time, Tony taught me invaluable lessons about people, what motivates them, and what potential hides within each individual. I view this as a special sort of “secret weapon” that helps me really see to the core of people and understand what works for them.
Were you always a successful dater?
I will answer that question by telling you that I strove to make dating as simple a process as possible, and that I always had fun. I viewed each date as an opportunity to meet someone new and interesting, and left my expectation at that. This attitude enabled me to enjoy the “experience” and get to know the person without the layer of anticipation over the outcome. You could say that I was practicing the Law of Detachment long before I’d learned about it from the Chopra Center’s teachings. I simply presented my best self, had an open heart and mind, and trusted that things would work out as they were meant to.
This philosophy truly worked to my advantage. While many of my friends dreaded dating and viewed it as a project with a timeline (when would they meet “the one”) I was out making new friends and potential future colleagues while having the time of my life. I didn’t worry about how long it might take. Each new experience helped me grow as a person and discover new, important things about myself. I actually cherished that time as a period of excitement and discovery. My attitude defined and determined my outcome without me having to “plan” a thing.
Was there a key personality trait or behavior that made dating work for you?
I’ve always been very pragmatic in all areas of my life. That attitude absolutely dominated the way I carried myself in the dating world. If something worked out and had potential, I was happy, enjoyed the moment, and left it at that. I still had my own life to live that extended far beyond the scope of dating. Friends often made the mistake of crazy fantasy planning that accompanied a series of positive dates. They were already imagining the proposal, the wedding, the dream honeymoon, and so on. This behavior belies a sense of urgency that men can sense a mile away.
On the other hand, if things did not work out with a potential suitor, I was determined to spend all of three seconds lingering in sadness or regret, and instead focused my positivity on the next adventure to come. Being a matchmaker, my next step was always to go through the “database” in my head of potential, better-suited matches! Each disappointment comes with a lesson, and a smart dose of introspection is our responsibility as healthy, growing individuals. Introspection doesn’t mean obsessing over what you might have done “wrong.” I believe very strongly that if something does not work out, then it was not meant to be. And for every man or woman who does not like you, there are a thousand more who will.
My friends have always jokingly referred to me as a “guy” because of my ability to move on. It just does not make sense to linger in self-doubt when life is moving on – with or without you. If you make a conscious choice to be positive, focus on where you can improve, and then close that chapter in your life, you will be amazed at how your self-esteem and self-acceptance will grow.
What led you to create Love by Design?
Quite simply, a close friend told me that I should be doing the “love advice” thing for a living, and these simple words had a resounding impact on my life. I love to hear people’s stories, and I gain incredible satisfaction when someone reaches their goal. The advice I was giving was not only accepted, but when successfully followed, led to some incredible pairings – personally and professionally.
My own positive (and negative) experiences helped shed light on my friends’ romantic challenges, lending greater understanding to their own frustrations, and in some cases resetting their mind-set to a positive outcome. All of this spurred me to transform my passion into Love by Design, and I have now made this my life’s mission: to help others find clarity about who they are, who they need to be to find their soul mate, make better decisions, and ultimately find the love of their lives.