Designing Your Life–Life By Design: Part 1

Jann Freed Leading, Sage-ing Comments

If you are interested in having the rest of life be the best of life (regardless of your age), then this post is for you.  The next few posts are focused on using a design mindset in living our life with meaning and on purpose.  The goal is to be intentional about how you are spending your most valuable assets–your time and energy.  When will you have more time than you have right now?

According to Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, co-authors of Designing Your Life:  How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life:

“A well-designed life is a life that makes sense.  It’s a life in which who you are, what you believe, and what you do all line up together. … A well-designed life is a marvelous portfolio of experience, of adventures, of failures that taught you important lessons, of hardships that made you stronger and helped you know yourself better, and of achievements and satisfactions.”

What I find interesting about this book, it was written based on a class that Burnett and Evans teach at Stanford originally for undergraduates.  The purpose was to help undergraduate students better prepare for life post-graduation.  But their message resonated with people of all ages.  Hence, they wrote the book.

Since I blog about leading and sage-ing (positive aging), it is the perfect book.  At every age and stage of life, we should be “building” our way forward.  The book is organized around four main mindsets of  design that they apply toward life:

  • Curiosity.  Looking at things in a new way.  Invites exploration and discovery.
  • Bias to action.  Try things out.  Take chances.  Create prototypes.  Detach from pre-determined outcomes.  Be open to possibilities.
  • Reframing.  See situations through a new lens.  Encourage curiosity and creativity.  Examine biases.  Shift perspective.
  • Radical collaboration.  Life design in a team sport.  Involve others.  Get feedback and support.  Good ideas can come from others.  Don’t go it alone.

Ironically, these concepts are emphasized in both leading and sage-ing.  I often use the word “portfolio” when describing how to look at life holistically.  In a previous blog post, I talked about the “portfolio life” as a way of reminding us of our assets (primarily time and energy) and they often need to be reallocated and invested in different ways throughout life.

The book includes many tools and exercises and I will be sharing my favorites.  If the rest of life is to be the best of life (regardless of age), then the building starts now.

How are you designing your life?

Or are you drifting–letting others control your destiny?