The Legitimacy Exercise



You have no say in what you want.

Desire is something that arises within us.

We acknowledge its existence and decide what to do with it.

Acknowledging its existence is powerful in and of itself, but we can go further and deepen its power and legitimacy.

When there’s something we really want, what arises with it is the fear of not getting it, the fear of never being able to have it, the fear of trying to have it and offending others, the fear of breaking up relationships, the fear of being disloyal to our communities.

What we don’t want arises with it.

So in order to clarify the signal of what you do want, we need to move through stages of pulling apart what you don’t want.

If you’re speaking about what you want, but tapped into the energy of what you don’t want, the bracing, the fear will come across and make you feel wobbly.

Your ability to ground yourself in your legitimacy will help you transmit a clearer signal, and guide the other person through these states.


This is the only tool in The Academy where we ignore the seemingly negative. 

In this exercise, you imagine only the things you want. 

If thoughts come up about what you don’t want, such as the debt that may be incurred, asks that are difficult to make, how people will react: imagine that these things don’t happen. 

In your imagination, you can find a world where it happens perfectly, to your liking.

When it comes time to actually ask, the tools you will learn at The Academy will prepare you to play with the resistance of others—their “no,” their shutdown, their counteroffers and counterattacks. 

But all of these will be so much easier— and effective— if you are armed with the full legitimacy of what you want.


Locate something you want that you may feel shaky about.

Hold the desire in your mind.

Close your eyes.

Imagine you already have the things you want.

Not what it’s going to cost you.  Not the responsibilities you’ll have as a result of having it.  Just imagine having the thing.

Note the physical sensations that arise.  Write them down.

Close your eyes.

Note the emotions that arise as you imagine having exactly what you want.  Write them down.

Close your eyes.

Note the thoughts that arise as you imagine having exactly what you want.  

What opportunities arise?
What experiences will you get to have?
What are the benefits?
What will this enable in the world and for others?

Write them down.

Repeat the cycle 2-3 times.

Some students find it helpful, though you do not have to write things down each time. Doing it is enough.

Make sure to include the body and the visceral sensations.

The reason for this is to avoid the thought-feeling loop that bypasses the body. Every time we pass through the body and the physical sensations, there’s a greater legitimacy that gets grounded.

With time, you’ll begin to see how people you are in a difficult dynamic with get stuck in a mind-body loop, disconnected from how their bodies feel, reaction crashing against reaction.