Designing Your Life – Chapter 4 Summary

[This is a part of a series I’m doing with a group of people using the “Designing Your Life” Book by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett.]

Book Purchase:  Amazon


When I was in my teens, we belonged to a church denomination that had lots of young leaders.  Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that my life was to be in service to the church alongside my wife.  We were going to be a team that changed the world.  

Fast forward and instead of working at a church, I work as a chaplain at a car dealership.  I’ve had to let that teen dream go and in some ways, it’s made me get stuck a few times.  

There are so many people who feel stuck in their jobs or life situations, without realizing that they have options.  Most of us don’t realize our first ideas. If I did, I’d be an aeronautical engineer or church pastor. But Wayfinding brought me to a different place in life.  And I’m sure glad I’ve listened to the clues.  

You are never stuck.  It might feel like that and I actually encourage you to acknowledge the stuck feelings.  But the truth is that you can generate so many options and ideas so that you don’t feel stuck anymore.  

Most of my counseling sessions with people are about exploring options.  This chapter is about the process of generating ideas to not be stuck anymore.

One misconception is that there is one specific, right idea.  This may come from a fantasized reality based in fear. We might be afraid of trying something new so we want the assurance that this idea is the right one.  We avoid disappointment and want to hold on to a dysfunctional belief that says there’s only one way.

The truth is that you can generate many ideas to explore and test out.  It’s ok to get stuck. It’s part of life. But it’s the indicator to start coming up with new ideas.  This is about the “might want” idea generating phase.  

Dysfunctional Belief: I’m stuck.

Reframe: I’m never stuck, because I can always generate a lot of ideas.

Designing Your Life, Dave Evans and Bill Burnett

I saw a New York Times article the other day about the myth of optimization.  We want better, faster, and best ways. But it doesn’t exist. We all have a few different  lives in us. I could have easily been a church pastor, therapist, or software support specialist.  

So the goal in this chapter is to ideate!  Get crazy and wild about coming up with different possibilities for your life.  For example, here are some of the ideas that run through my head:

  • Professional studio drummer and live drummer for artists that I connect with
  • Executive Leadership coach 
  • Be a CEO of a business that cares about people, profit, and planet
  • Spiritual director and retreat speaker
  • Author and speaker
  • Therapist
  • University professor
  • Executive Pastor
  • Business owner offering my services to multiple clients
  • Community organizer in Oceanside

In counseling sessions, when we are coming up with ideas, I tell people there are no right or wrong answers.  We have to silence the inner voice of judgmentalism and criticism. Let your mind wander!

The chapter closes with a great exercise called mind mapping.  You’ll have to buy the book to explore it! There’s a purposeful, joyful life calling out to you.  Way is trying to get your attention. Start ideating!

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