Can you design your future?

by Jun 20, 2022

Look, none of us can predict the future but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps now to help steer it in a direction that #sparksjoy. How can you do that, I hear you ask? Well friends, let me introduce you to this delightful little theory of Life Design.

Drawing on design thinking principles, life design articulates a methodology for figuring out where we want to be and how we might get there. Based around five core mindsets and a series of explorative activities, it provides a repeatable process to help self-direct our lives. (X)

Life Design can be utilised to help overcome the inherent chaos that life throws our way. As Sam Berry mentioned in a previous blog post:

Bright and Pryor’s Chaos Theory of Careers introduced us to the notion that today’s world is constantly changing, and one event can influence another unexpectedly, making our lives and careers unpredictable. To navigate through this chaos we need to develop strategies to embrace unplanned events, to be aware of what’s happening in the world so that we can be alert to changes and respond in a positive way. It’s helpful to know ourselves, the value we have to offer, and to constantly adapt based on our changing environment and personal needs. (X)

First created at Stanford by Burnett and Evans, the Designing Your Life program has become a wide reaching theory of practice helping people figure out how they can first determine what they want in their lives and careers, and then how to make it a reality.

It’s even sparked a virtual workshop series at UTS! The Career and Life Design workshops are kicking off next week, with each workshop tackling a different element of Life Design to help you start working towards a future that brings meaning and joy to your days.

If you’re interested in giving this whole idea of Life Design a shot, here’s some top advice from an article we posted back in 2020 called ‘Can I design my life during a pandemic?’ I strongly recommend you give it a read if you’ve got the time. In the meantime however, here are a few top pieces of advice from that post to help whet your appetite for design thinking.

Facing a challenging situation? Here’s where to start: Acceptance

Most design thinking models suggest that we observe, empathise or somehow gather information as an initial step of the process. But when applying design thinking to life design, there’s an additional step that must come first: you must accept where you are. Not where you could have been, or should be, or wish you were, but where you are in this moment. It’s about acknowledging constraints – personal or situational. And more than that, it’s about recognising that some constraints cannot be influenced by you. 

Under pressure? It’s time to take a breath and tap into our awareness

Life Design makes use of the idea of a compass which can lead us through turbulence and keep us directed towards our end goal of leading a coherent life. An awareness of the harmony between what work means to you (your work view) and what is most important and meaningful to you in life (your world view) can help form your compass. In times of change or upheaval, we need this self-awareness to help steer us.

Best skills to navigate life’s big problems (like a pandemic)? Creativity, curiosity and collaboration

We are all creative, says David Kelley, Founder of Stanford’s But creativity takes focus and collaboration. If we accept the constraints that the current global crisis will place on the job market, we must also accept that many people will need to adapt, reskill or redirect their careers in a challenging environment. This will require us to have a mindset of curiosity to engage in activities that will uncover creative solutions, to explore and plan alternative options. We all have a role to play in this, whether we are displaced ourselves or not.

If I’ve managed to spark your interest, be sure to register for one (or all!) of next week’s Career and Life Design virtual workshops and start navigating your future opportunities, pathways and ideas.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey

Communications Officer

Mia is a Sydney-based communications professional and content creator for UTS Careers, and ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years from its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
By Sam Berry

By Sam Berry

Learning & Development Manager

Sam Berry is the Learning & Development Manager at PwC Australia, and has a background in career consulting, recruitment and education. She is passionate about empowering people of all ages to find fulfilling careers through developing self-awareness and employability skills.