In this episode, I talk about the importance of writing a personal and professional mission statement. It helps you clarify your values and this will help you decide what job or career to pursue. I then discuss how to use methods from design anthropology to map out your next steps.
Friends, happy Friday. Okay, so, day one, day two, art. This is day three, I am offering this workshop with really great content on burnout, stress, and creating slash designing the life you want the life slash job you want. And day one, I talked all about stress and burnout, how to address the stress itself, and not just the stressor in order to prevent and reduce symptoms of burnout. Day two, Yesterday, I talked all about noticing red flags at work. And he questions to ask yourself to learn to manage your mind. In preparation for day three, today, we're going to talk all about creating and designing the life slash job career that you want on your own terms using design methods and anthropological methods. Okay, so, and each of these days, there's just so much information that's packed. And each day the content could be a whole workshop series on its own, and I plan to bring that to you down the line. But for now, it's just going to be condensed versions, with a lot of information that I hope you'll find useful. So, alright, so I'm gonna just go quickly, because there's a lot of information to cover today. And I don't know if I'll get through all of it. Because I don't want this to be to end up to be way too long. But today I'm going to talk part one, I'm going to talk first about overarching questions to ask ourselves on the kind of life we want in the systems to deconstruct and question in our lives. Second part, I'm going to discuss the importance of crafting a mission statement for yourself in to do that, on a regular basis could be each year, every six months. Part three is going to be about designing the life you want using design methods and anthropological methods. And that's going to include ethnographic observation and collecting life history and really understanding the context and culture of an organization and industry. Okay, so we go into these questions to ask ourselves when we're talking about what kind of life we want. I remember years and years ago, when I was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Reverend, Reverend Peter gums was you know, he was a he was a reverend over Harvard University. And he was asking questions about what is the good life, right? And he said that happiness is the byproduct of striving to be good. Right? And all his questions were about what what does it mean to live a good life? Right. And in these books that I've been reading lately about designing your life, particularly this one is called Designing your life, how to build a well lived joyful life. The authors call it a well designed life. They describe it as a marvelous portfolio of experiences of adventures of failures, that taught you important lessons, or hardships that made you stronger, and helped you know yourself better and have achievements and satisfactions right and, and for them. It's not about living a good life. It's living a coherent life a coherent life is one lived in such a way that you can Clearly connect between three things, right? It's who you are, what you believe, and what you are doing. Okay, and Reverend Peter gums, who I just referred to right now, in the beginning, his fifth life, the acting this idea was it's about practicing virtues that helps you to live the good life, like faith, hope, love, fortitude, perseverance. So there are definitely different conceptions. Viktor Frankl talks about finding meaning in your life, and that you always have the choice to decide how you want to respond to an event, no matter how dire the circumstance. Alright, so research has found when it comes to leading a meaningful life, that meaning can come from three sources. Go Hi, Bob.
Hi. Hello, just want to say hi to people, thanks for showing up. Okay, research and couple of resources. Number one is achieving goals that leave a legacy. Right? Like, for example, finding a cure for cancer, being a coach, right? I'm helping people you're leaving a legacy behind, right. The second thing is service to a higher power, whether you want to call God or a spiritual being, but a spiritual calling, can furnish that meaning that we are searching for right. And then number three is connecting with others that can provide and give us a sense of meaning in life, connecting with others, that could be raising your kids, loving your spouse, supporting your spouse or partner, being a part of close friendships and networks. So these three things can give us meaning in life, right, achieving goals to be the legacy service to a higher power, spiritual calling, and connecting with others in a deep way. When we think about what is the good life for us, right, we want to also think about some systems and practices that we can question in our lives, right? Because systems or collection of beliefs, they can obstruct our ability to tap into our inner selves, but what we really want in life, right, they can also reinforce codependent tendencies and all kinds of self sabotaging behaviors. And we're not always necessarily aware of them. So as we're asking these questions of how do we live the good life or meaningful life or purposeful life? We want to be aware of these overarching systems, and question how they operate, where they could be operating in our lives. So let me give you an example. Right, let's say you want to make it your life's mission to serve others. Now, that sounds really wonderful, in theory, but if you're a woman who has this mission, then we have to first uncover and challenge some of the larger belief systems that influence that mission. Right, the idea of serving others doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's an idea that could be imposed upon certain groups of people. And that gets reinforced through our culture. Right. So while it seems like it could be a neutral mission, just simply being aware of larger forces at play, that can influence you to want to serve others, can really help you achieve clarity, when you're thinking about what your over arching mission in life is, and how to live the good life on your terms. Right? When you start thinking, Oh, I should do something that's out of obligation. And that's something to really start to question like, why am I shooting myself? Where does this mission I want to serve others? Where does that come from? What is the source? Right? It's going to be a much powerful mission statement if it's coming from a place where we would have reflected, and we are aware of the outside forces that influence us into that particular set of belief systems, right. And I think it's kind of like in The Hunger Games, when Katniss is reminded over and over again, remember who the enemy is right? She realized that her true enemy wasn't other people. And it wasn't herself. But these larger oppressive systems in which we all kind of live under right and, and what I want to say is just it's just to be more aware we have to we have agency and control navigating these systems, but the awareness is so key as we're trying to craft our own mission statement and design the life that we want. Right? So for us as women and you're also from a resilient, marginalized group of people. The system is is rigged, it is rigged, we are operating within these systems that are inherently unequal. Okay, and we have different experiences based on the body wouldn't have it and other kinds of categories that we've been assigned. Right. And so let's go over some of these systems that have sort of regular overall experiences. Okay, a couple of them I want to talk about.
The first is capitalism, okay? And whether you want to call capitalist or not, okay, I want to just talk about it as a sort of nonstop production. Okay. And, and we don't even have to use the word capitalism, I understand. It's a very loaded term. But really, it's a set of beliefs and thoughts that doing is better than just being right that our worth is defined our ability to produce by, you know, our work our job, our titles, and it's so funny, because in the US, I think you go to events, and it's just so common, the first thing that people want ask is, what do you do? What do you do for a living? Like, that's such a big part of who you are? And also how much money you make, right? I mean, people make certain snap judgments based on that, right. But it's just this idea that your worth is defined by your ability to produce and by your job title, and your income, right, that falls under what I call capitalism, you could call other things, right. And so this collection of beliefs is something that we should be aware of, as we're crafting our own life. And we're also examining our own thoughts that we have. The second thing I want to talk about the second sort of system, okay, is the patriarchy. And now you don't have to be a feminist to, to talk about the patriarchy. Okay? Really, let's just talk about the set of beliefs, that is grounded on this idea that women are inferior, and they're not good enough. So from that, there's a lot of other sub beliefs that operate. And what I call the patriarchy is just based on this notion that women are inferior to men is a system that promotes these ideas that hold women back. And so many of these ideas have been internalized within us. So that's why it's so important to be aware of also, our thoughts, is some of our thoughts is internalized. Patriarchy, you know, ideas we receive from the media, about how to look how to dress, how to behave, or even outside of a sport could be any other external things, right? we internalize these ideas, and that influences our thoughts, and then therefore influences our mission statement, and what we consider to be a good life, how we want to craft our life. So I think an example is let's go back to that idea that say your mission is you want to serve others, right? But it's good to be aware, where does that source come from, to be aware, capitalism, patriarchy, or just a set of beliefs that can influence that particular idea? In it could be that that belief that you want to serve others comes from your another thought that you have, that women should sacrifice for herself herself for others, right. And that's a thought that could be passed down from generation generation, maybe it's great grandmother passed on to grandmother pass on to mother and now pass on to you. Right, but that idea, it comes from these cultural historical contexts, where policies and norms were based on women having less power and rights than men.
So it's good to be aware of where this comes from. Because a lot of our thoughts and beliefs are not just neutral, right? They're shaped by outside forces, but the more aware we are, then that's more power within us to be able to decide which thoughts we want to keep, and which ones aren't really serving us and that we're just going to let pass through our brain. Okay, so now, this also gets to the heart of my coaching, which is that we want to question our thoughts. We have 40,000 plus thoughts a day. And we'll be curious about them, but not necessarily believe them. Right. So many of our thoughts are there because of conditioning, social conditioning, and culture, different cultures and subcultures? We want to be able to discern which one's service and which ones don't serve us. So now I'm going to go over now that this is just kind of part one asking the deep questions all in preparation Part Two, which is crafting our mission statement. As I said crafting mission statement is something that is your your overall mission in life and it's not actually permanent, you can do it from year to year, I do a mission statement from year to year and it changes ever so slightly, but it should capture your values and what it is that you are on this earth to do. Like, overall, what you're here to do. And I recommend going to the Franklin Covey mission statement builders, you just Google it, or I can send you the link. But it is so useful. Franklin Covey, you know, comes from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Great book. But in that book, you know, a Stephen Covey talks about writing your mission statement, and he talks about doing one for personal or work for home life, you know, and I would say just just put one mission statement for everything that's integrated, right. And on the Franklin Covey mission statement site, they actually build it for you. And they asked you these key questions. So I will just go through them, you know, and go, and then they ask you questions about, like, a go through a section called performance, you know, think about when you're at your best, what tasks are you performing? What environment are you in, you know, I am at my best when and you would fill that out, I am at my worst when that's performance. And then there's talents, right, my natural talents and gifts are. And then there's another section about if I knew I had unlimited time and resources and knew I could not fail? What would I choose to do? And then my life's journey is, as you fill all the stuff out, and then there's also what do I consider my most important contribution to important people in my life. And then there's so much influence and balance in these particular dimensions, physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual. So your mission statements that include all those dimensions, that what it is, you're here on this earth to do, it's like the North Star, if you're into that, we're just your overall mission. So I would go through all of that. And actually, the the mission builder statement goes through and helps you refine it, you actually can refine it over and over until it becomes one simple statement.
So super helpful. So that's what we would start with first in terms of designing the life that we want on our own terms is craft that mission statement and go through and answer those questions. Then, what to do next, this part three, this, this final part is going to be all about using methods to design the life you want. And the first thing that I would recommend is to start a dream journal. I love this idea so much. And I have a dream journal. It's a dedicated journal for recording your dreams that just stays by your bedside. You know, it doesn't really travel if you have any other purposes. But just it's like when you wake up in the morning, or you go to sleep at night, when you want to think about when you wake up in the morning, record your dreams. No, don't wait, just record them, write them down, you know, play with also the symbol Association, right. So all the major objects and characters in your dreams, the car, the bird, the woman or a statue, write all those down. Okay, and think about what kind of associations come with each just write all that down. This is just to kind of get your juices flowing and do this for about a good month starting up. And this is actually from the book I use a lot of ideas from the book break that the girl myth how to dismantle outdated rules, unleash your power and design a more purposeful life. But I've been doing dream journals for decades, right? And it's just powerful. And it's meant to be a creative process. The second thing I highly recommend doing is to keep an activity log and it could be a separate journal, but something where you start tracking, tracking things, okay. And so, what you want to track in this particular journal is just activities in which you are in flow. Now, flow has been described by psychologists, as when you're so deeply engaged with an activity or you're not nervous, or anxious or scared, you're immersed in doing something, and it's often described as a euphoric state. People in flow. They talk about experiences having these attributes experiencing total involvement in the activity, feeling ecstasy or euphoria, having great inner clarity. You just know what to do and how to do it. Being calm and at peace, feeling as if time was standing Still, no, we're just disappearing right in an instant. So those are the qualities of flow. If you have any of those in your life, jot them down. And it could be also in the current job, you want to assess, do I state this job do I leave, track how many activities you're in flow in your job, it will be really insightful. Now remember, designing the life you want on your own terms isn't necessarily about creating a major change in your life, right? It can be about just fine tuning or improving certain areas, or certain aspects that are already there. We spend about 90,000 to 125,000 hours during during our lifetimes, just in our job, you know, so it's important to really do due diligence and do research and study it, and make it as meaningful and purposeful as possible that we can, right. So you're going to go back to your activity log, you're going to jot down each day the activities in which you are in flow, and you are using your strengths are deeply engaged and energized that what you're doing. And for those activities, also make note what the context is, right? Like, where are you? What role are you playing when you're in flow. And this is where you kind of use your observational skills like an anthropologist, you're going to write down the dynamics of the people around you, what they're doing, what the interactions are, like, what your role is, what people are wearing, you know what that context is likely to jot down those details. And here, you're you're logging in, you're logging, those activities have flown engagement. And in the meantime, you're doing that you're also completing the stress cycle responses on a daily basis, like I've talked about in day one of the workshop. And so now we try to bring it together. And the next step, the next step, this is all about creating the life that we want, right? We've kept a dream journal, we're now logging activities of flow, whether it's in our job, or maybe it's outside of our job, whatever it is. This now now we move on to mind mapping, mind mapping, and this this I took from the book, designing your life, how to build a well lived, joyful life.
So this mind mapping is such a fun exercise, it is so fun, right? It is just about going through your dream journal, your activity log, and you find patterns, you know, you find patterns and key words that keep showing up, right. And then you're going to do a mind map, just that, just as it is, it's going to be mapping words based on associations, okay, and I'm going to actually give you an example. And Michelle, here, you're going to pick the topic, right? The key words, something that you enjoy about being in flow, and that's using your strength when it energizes you. You don't want to think too hard about the process, when you're doing the Mind Map, because it's gonna be really quick, it's going to just be like, you're going to write it out. And you're giving us about two, two to five minutes you timed on your phone. And so let's just say for example, that you one of the recurring themes is being outdoors, because you just find you're in flow, and you're energized when you're outdoors. You put that down, you brainstorm them, and you create a whole bunch of words connected to being outdoors that come to your mind in that instant. Again, don't think too hard on it, just let it flow is meant to be a fun and creative and juicy process. And I like to do a ritual before I do the exercise. You know, maybe I get my I get my tea ready? No, I liked some incense. I dance around and blast music and I pray a little bit or meditate. And then I just let my mind go. Okay. And so what words come to mind when you think about being outdoors, like for example, right? And you can look at the word associations and you find the key you have to choose at the end three key words or patterns, that's going to then give you lead you on to the next step is creating your alternative futures. I'm gonna give you this example of being outdoors. And so what I have here is for example, we use the noisy mind
when you're outdoors, you can outdoors, there are associations, right? So for example, whatever just comes to mind is just an example. Travel, surfing, nature, camping, and for each of these just follow the trail right for travel. I think about Africa, I think about Madagascar beach, and suddenly just comes my tourism sustainable Tourism, I love that right? Surfing, ocean Sam tides, real life turtles, conservation, Animal Rescue, you know, just came to mind, nature hiking trees, explorers, you know, we're exploration. And for camping, I want to cook, tents, bugs, kids singing, somehow singing came to mind. Right. And so at the end of this, this mind mapping and you can do this with with multiple words that you find from your dream journal and your activity. But I found, you know, I look over to get in stillness. And I circled, the ones are really struck to like, they really resonate with me that really stuck out for me as animal rescue, explorers, and sustainable tourism. So that way, for a second, coming back here, so mind mapping, so fun and powerful and creative. Okay, so now, as I told you, I came up with animal rescues is evil tourism explores, these are just, these could be just three areas. If you're looking at a new career, or a new job, or a hobby, something that you want to volunteer with something that's going to give you energy in life, right? That could be three areas to explore in this next step, because after the mind mapping, this is where you start to come up with three alternative features for yourself in the next five years, so this is imagining yourself in five years. Now, for each of these alternative versions of yourself, you're going to include it's a visual graphic timeline, like what are some milestone events that happen, right within this future? A title for each of the paths, like a strong headline questions that this particular path is asking, like, if I go down a sustainable tourism path? What kind of assumptions will it reveal to me? What kind of insights will I have? Possibly? What kind of growth would I be going through what I'm experiencing? And then you can think about all the practical stuff, this is when we start to lay out the plan. Again, this is going to be full days of exercise in itself, just this part after mind mapping. But the practical stuff includes like resources, you know, assuming we have limited resources, how can we be creative to make this happen for us, right? For example, if I can't go to Madagascar, to go to the beach, but maybe I can go locally, or I can do a virtual experience where I am, you know, helping out with sustainable tourism, right, you can create those experiences with very limited resources, and still energize yourself and create meaning through to experience it's about being creative. So creating your life. From a designer, and anthropologist perspective. It's just about trying different things, experimenting, coming up with ideas, when you reach a dead end, try a new idea and pursue that path. You keep doing that you keep iterating until then you stop somewhere where you you're like, I'm really content here, I feel really good about staying here.
But don't be afraid about trying new things, and also being creative with your resources. Okay, so now another example, is this some examples? You know, I think one of the ones that kind of came up from the book is someone that wants to work in the nonprofit world, as they're designing this alternate future vision of working in nonprofit, what I what I know, this person says, I love to help kids. You know, and they've given three important questions that come up, you know, for them about their growth experience pursuing this particular path. And then they rated the plans, right, so all the different plans that they had, based on the questions given, they would rate them, like I feel pretty strong, confident that I can pull this off, you know, if I use this resource, I can make it happen in this way. So when you've done this for each particular vision of yourself, and in this case, like sustainable tourism, say, I've done explorers and animal rescue, I might do a vision for each a particular path for each path. I'm gonna go through a timeline instead of plan, look at resources I have to make it happen for each of those items. This is really what's called prototyping, right? Prototyping is coming up with a plan, but asking good questions and being You're aware of our biases and assumptions as we are creating these visions for ourselves. And then finally, once we've done that just make these plans for three alternative future visions of ourselves, the next step is to narrow down to two paths, okay, two of those paths. And then we're going to be an anthropologist, again, this method is, we're going to study the culture and do interviews of those two paths. So might be that you want to pursue ecotourism, right. And you're going to find an organization that you respect and admire. And you're just going to go to them and different ones that we do that you really want to reach out to, but you're going to go and ask them and just say I'm, I'm really just, I'm wanting to explore pursuing this career switch this option. And I love it, if I could just spend a week here. And in that week, what you're going to do in that environment is you're going to be it's called participant observer, and you're gonna participate in the activities for that week, to be as a volunteer, right. And you're also going to be the anthropologist, the scientist in the background, noting dynamics, trying to understand the culture, trying to understand what happens on a day to day basis. What is going on here? You're gonna take thorough notes about micro interactions and the overall context of that particular organization. What does it tell you about people's work there? What does it tell you about dynamics and culture? And also, what does it tell you about the industry itself? The purpose is to understand the context. Okay, now, this is different than just shadowing someone, right? Because you're immersed in activity, you're actually been engaged in doing things. For that week, it's a short period. And you're also taking really deep and detailed notes is called Deep Dive. In you're trying to understand culture, broadly, cultures, everything, people's belief systems, certain trends, you know, the dynamics that are going on the history of the organization, where the organization is located within that city, that larger context you're trying to understand. And then you're going to pick one to two people in the org, preferably, someone you know, who has a role or position you want to take on, you're gonna collect that person's life history. What you want to know, is what drives this person to come to work and do what they do. Who are they? Right? How do they get here? And what keeps them going?
What you're trying to understand here, is the culture of the organ, the history, and where would you fit in? Where do the other people fit in that you were collecting life histories from? And it's also just a great way to know people, right? People love to share their life stories. In the best case scenario, you've made a professional contact, and you've also made a friend, right? It'll give you a sense to like, is this the right one to work? Is this something I do want to pursue? Right? Would I be surrounded by people like this with these life histories. It's just a fascinating study in a deep dive into where you could end up an alternative future vision for yourself. Now, I do want to emphasize that after this whole process, okay, and you do that to alternative vision paths, and you study organizations or companies in those two paths, a few minutes. So something major might emerge. Like you might find out, I really want to pursue this one thing, you know, and if not, I want to make this change or to be in your current organization. You're like, I want to stay, but I want to pursue like this project within my organization. Now, if something doesn't emerge, that's okay. You just iterate like the designer or like a UX designer or software designer, and iterate the process and just do it again. Because failing is not a problem for designers. That's part of the process. That's how you learn and you keep prototyping, you keep failing. And you just keep experimenting. Now remember that there isn't just one path to happiness or meaning or purpose. There's no perfection. So at the end of the day, you know, once you've done your due diligence and your research and mind mapping, it comes down to also you choosing to live Like, where you are at that moment? It's a choice that you commit to, to like, your path. Right? There's not going to be any moment where you're suddenly like, Aha, yes, in like Morgan Freeman voice beaming down, right? You have arrived? No, no, no. I mean, you know, I'm sure that happens. Sometimes it's very few and far between. But I think the main thing is that you've done your due diligence, you've done your research, you've done the experience of it, right. And now it's your choice to decide how you want to think about your decisions. There isn't a right choice, only good choosing, and learning to manage your mind. And learning to trust yourself in that process. And remembering that it's not permanent, you can always shift. But give yourself the opportunity to go down and commit to that decision. And remember, when people say, oh, you know, let's get some some ideas in the mind mapping. And these future alternative vision for yourself, if you want to run a business, you want to create your own business. And someone says, You can't make money off of that, oh, you know, these voices? Again, those are thoughts, other people's thoughts, we can't control. And they come from conditioning from capitalism, patriarchy, other forces at play. But remember this, right? The possibilities are endless. I mean, there are people and there's a coach, Susan Hyatt who's written on this, and I just love her so much. But, you know, she has said there are people who make money training penguins at the zoo, for people who make money selling handmade Ruby dolls on Etsy. And there's like, they're running. I mean, they it's a successful business, making handmade voodoo dolls. There are people who make money, successfully reading Tarot cards, or doing astral cartography to determine where you ought to be based on the stars. Whatever you do, no matter how peculiar or obscure, or unconventional, there is a market for it, right? So no ideas off limits. And for the designer, and for the anthropologists, that's the great part. Because from those perspectives, nothing's off limits. That's why we do the mind map. We do the journal and we do the dreams, because it's all possible. Right? And that's innovation. This is innovation right here is in your ideas and allowing yourself to explore these alternative vision paths. All right, well, it was so good to see you. Thank you for joining. And again, as I said, each of the workshop days can really be a full fledged
workshop in itself. And I'm going to provide more of these for each of these of burnout and stress when it comes to creating the life you want. And also being aware of larger systems. So I plan to be more in the future. But this is just a condensed version of some techniques you could apply now, and some questions and ideas to think about to get your creative juices going. Alright, thank you, my friends.