Bill Burnett, me, and Dave EvansI traveled to San Francisco in late July for what I call my “middle schooler at a Justin Bieber concert” moment. Yes, I’m so much of a Designing Your Life nerd that meeting Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, the authors of the Designing Your Life book, made me a little giddy. I did manage to refrain from shrieking with delight.

I was one of the 45 coaches in the inaugural class of certified coaches. It was a thrill to spend a day with like-minded coaches, and it was fun to have such an international cohort (17 of the people there have an international presence). Together, we geeked out on Odyssey Plans, dysfunctional beliefs, and mind maps. We learned about Failure Maps and Impact Maps, which aren’t in the book but offer a new dimension of career exploration.

It was a useful behind-the-scenes glimpse of the DYL process, and it inspired me to integrate this work even more into my practice. A few more highlights:

  • Wicked problems, the ones that we use design thinking for, are those that even after we solve them, come back. Career definitely fits into this category.
  • You are the agent of your own life. Many of us look externally for solutions, but that’s rarely where relief lies.
  • Epiphanies, passion, and plans are touted as the pathway to fulfillment, but they’re red herrings. Instead, curate your curiosity.
  • Good decisions are deemed “good” NOT because of the outcome, but because of the process.
  • Most people fail because their aim too high with their behavior change. Incremental change sticks.
  • Integrating logic and creativity offers great ideas (most of rely solely on analysis and disregard imagination).
  • If you’re not missing out, you’re not paying attention. Flip from FOMO to JOMO.
  • People don’t want a job, they want a life, so it’s important to approach career as part of a bigger picture.

There’s so much more – about discarding superpowers for the sake of being human, about determining where we want to have impact, two key questions to get the heart of any matter, and about maintaining humility in this tender territory of designing our lives.