Three Ways to Jumpstart Your Life Design

By Amy Zehfuss

If you’re stuck in a rut, going through a transition or haunted by a sneaking feeling that your life or career doesn’t “fit” anymore – Spend the next week working through these three steps and jumpstart your life design:

1. Catch Yourself Having A Good Time

How can you gauge what comes effortlessly? Think about your core activities over the past week — two clues to pay attention to; engagement and energy.

Engagement: When you’re engaged, you are mentally and emotionally involved – time flies!

Energy: Some activities feed our energy, and others suck the life out of us and leave us drained for what comes next. 

When you “catch yourself having a good time,” you learn what engages and energizes you.

Pro tip: Find some ways to offload the pains in your life. Hello Instacart!

 

 

2. Generate Scenarios: There Is No One Perfect Life

Spend 5 minutes each on the three prompts below to get started (from Designing Your Life and Bill Burnett’s TED Talk). Imagine how these three lives would play out over 3-5 years.

Scenario 1: The life you live now, played out in success! 

Your business grows, you get that promotion, meet that partner, take that trip.

Scenario 2: The thing you’d do if Scenario 1 weren’t available to you anymore. 

This may be your current reality. The job, career, and life you had may no longer be available. What’s your plan B? Time to get creative!

Scenario 3: The Wild Card. 

What would your life or career be like if money or image were no object? If you knew you could make a living and didn’t care what other people think, what would you do?

You just made a fifteen-minute investment to imagine your future(s)!

3. Prototype to De-risk Your Life

Pick one of the lives above and generate a list of questions: Will this make me happy? Do I have the skills to pull this off? Will my partner, kids, mom approve? Can I earn a living? What if I fail? Am I crazy?

Sort your questions in priority order – “deal killer” questions first.

Deal killers are the questions that set you back on your heels – but are the most important to explore first (Is this a fit for my life? Will someone pay for this service?). Use prototypes to stress test these questions.

Prototype conversations and experiences

A prototype can be a conversation or experience that helps you “invest a little to learn a lot.”

If you think you want to be a veterinarian, volunteer at a shelter for a weekend. Were you engaged and energized? Did the experience help you learn something about your deal-killer question? Could this be a fit for your life? Sounds like common sense, right? It’s not. It takes intention and effort and is well worth it.

Keep your prototypes simple. Be imperfect. Fail fast and iterate quickly. Take small risks now to avoid big ones later—prototype to de-risk your life

Amy Zehfuss is a strategy, innovation, and design thinking expert and the Founder of Springboard Strategy, a business that helps companies and individuals disrupt, rebuild, and transition towards meaningful growth. She teaches problem-solving in Emory University’s Goizueta Business School’s MBA program. Are you interested in Amy’s online Life Design workshop this fall? Get more information here.

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