Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

11. Building a Team

  • While you may think that you are designing your life, at no step are you doing it alone. If you think back on previous activities in this book, you will recall that other people are involved along the way. Life design by definition is an act of collaboration. People are key to all of your prototypes. While some people along the way are more important than others, everyone matters. Your team will contain supporters who are people you can count on to care about your life. Their feedback is of real use. Players are more active in your life design. These are people you actually do things with. The closest members are intimates. They are your immediate and extended family and your closest friends. At times the can be too close as they have their preferred results. They are also the best helpers you could ask for. Don’t keep them in the dark.
  • There is also advice about mentors here that is useful for both mentees and mentors. We should all seek mentors, but we need to pay attention to what they say. Advice usually focuses on what the mentor would do if she or he were you. There is nothing wrong with listening to advice. Just be careful about taking it. If you do take it make sure it’s coming from an expert on the topic. Counsel is aimed at helping you figure out what you think. Good counsel should leave you with a clearer and more settled state of mind. Mentoring should be centered on giving counsel. It should feature lots of questions and paraphrasing your answers. Good mentors spend most of their time listening.

Conclusion: A Well-Designed Life

  • Imagine your life as a pie with four slices for your career, your family, play, and health. Each day has its own pie and no pie is perfect. A main point is that you never finish designing your life—life is a joyous and never-ending design project of building your way forward. The authors also point out that chasing more money may not lead to a better life so don’t automatically accept a promotion. You might get more money for a job you don’t like. Also, note that the design purpose here is to bring out a better version of you and not make you into someone else.
  • To review the things you need to do from the top of this summary, be sure you: 1) Be curious, 2) Try stuff, 3) Reframe problems, 4) Know it’s a process, and 5) Ask for help. You need to keep track of your compass, which deals with the big organizing ideas of your Workview and Lifeview. Also, pay attention to your personal practices from chapter 9. Finally, your goal is to have a life well lived, which is all you can hope for.
  • Now it’s time to go to The Designing Your Life Web Site for additional resources and a short [3:06] video that pitches this fine book.
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