How to design a life
Life is a journey and, believe or not, so is this post. If you wanted, You could easily jump straight to the part where I talk about the life design tool. Alternatively, come on the journey and take the time to reflect on your life.
The first step has two parts: a) Listen to the Tim Ferris Show, the Debbie Millman episode. b) Listen to Design Matters, the Tim Ferris episode. By doing this, you will gain perspective on your own life. They are both pretty different individuals but both have taken conscious steps on designing their own futures.
Step two: use this guide from Clarice Gomes to design your future state. It summarizes the points made by Debbie Millman and gives you a handy template. In saying that, see the next point before jumping in. Back in June 2016 I decided I had to live New Zealand. My future state was very short term and lacked detail but still helped me execute my plan. Working through Debbie's exercise will give you enough information to do the next step
Step three: write a plan up. I'm a big fan of dotted Moleskines (I wrote the draft for this post in one of them) but you can use whatever you feel like. I don't recommend going digital because the the physicality of having to write it up will actually have a positive impact on the success of the plan. I'm also a fan of Bulletjournalling, but you can use any structured or unstructured note taking approach. For your plan ask yourself: who should you be talking to? Who has the right contacts that can help? Should you be taking time to try your future state (e.g. by doing a short trip)? What are some interim steps that will get you there? when can you make them happen?
Back in 2016 I decided I wanted to leave New Zealand, designed my future and came up with a plan to achieve it. Having gone through the experience, I wish someone had written a better step by step guide.
You must be wondering; "Why is he writing about this in a blog about managing people?". As a manager it's our duty to help our teams progress with their careers. And it's not uncommon for young tech professionals to not know what do they want to do. You can use some of the tools on this post to help them paint that picture before creating a career plan.