My good friend, designer Ayse Birsel, has taught me a wonderful new and fun way to make amazing changes in my life. She calls her process Design the Life You Love. If you’re like me and you really want to change, try her process. It will help you become the person you want to be and design a life you will love!
First, a little background, according to Ayse, “Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints — time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You can’t have everything, so you have to be creative to make what you want and what you need co-exist. This requires thinking differently, like a designer. Designers believe they can solve any problem and come up with a better solution. This optimism drives our creative energy.”
The Design the Life You Love process is a simple process and uses the same four steps that Ayse uses these steps when she is designing products for Herman Miller, or working on Design DNA for Harvard Business Review. The steps are 1) Deconstruction, 2) Point of View, 3) Reconstruction, 4) Expression.
- Deconstruction: the first step is to “deconstruct” your life to understand exactly what it is comprised of. At this step, you want to break your life into its basic building blocks, like people, places, projects, time, including the things you love and the things you want to avoid. Keep breaking these bigger blocks down into smaller pieces. As you put all of these building blocks down on paper, you will see your life “emerge in front of your eyes, deconstructed,” says Ayse.
- Point of View: the second step is to think of your heroes — people who’ve influenced and inspired you. Now, put their names down on paper and write the qualities that they have that are heroic. Now, cross their names out and put in your own. Those qualities that your heroes have are what you value, and your values are the foundation of your life design.
- Reconstruction: The third step is the other side of Deconstruction. It’s at this step that you decide what you want your life to be like going forward. What do you want to keep? What do you want to eliminate? What do you want to change? Focus on what really matters to you by picking only three things. You can always change and play with your choices later.
- Expression: At this last step, you get to design your life just the way you want it. It can be original, and should look and feel just like you. Says Ayse, Expression, “is about giving form to our original design, building on our Reconstruction.” To do this, write yourself a letter about the life that you love. Use what you learned from each of the steps, the deconstruction, your heroes, and your three choices. And, this letter to you expresses the design of the life you love.
Now that you’ve designed the life you love, you get to live it! Share your design with your friends and family. If you want to know more about how to design the life you love, check out Ayse Birsel’s book Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future, you will be glad you did!