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Life Design Theory
We’re all loaded with Blueprints that determine the way we think about the world, and our place within it. The curious thing is that we didn’t actively choose most of the mental models that rule our lives. In fact, we may not even be aware that they are part of our unconscious operating system.
What we’ve been taught to believe is so powerful, it can literally shape our destiny.
These blueprints come from a variety of sources, and are often (but not always) passed on in a sincere effort to keep us safe and secure. Some of the primary influences that formed our blueprints include:
- Parents & Families
- Dominant Culture
- Peer Groups
- The Media
We may not question the definition of reality that we’ve been handed. And even if we do, there are powerful forces that keep us from straying too far from our blueprints.
We might fear that stepping off our prescribed path will lead to failure. We may risk losing the approval of friends and family if we choose a different lifestyle than theirs. Or we could be just comfortable enough with the status quo to not want to risk rocking the boat.
Living from other people’s blueprints is an abdication of our own power. But an alternative is available! It is possible to actively choose how you want to live, on your own terms.
If you accepted fully that you are the author of your own existence, what story would you write? - Noelle Cordeaux
Life By Design
In coaching, we utilize Life Design Theory to help people deconstruct their blueprints and intentionally create the life they want.
The first step requires a shift in our underlying beliefs about “how life is.”
- Blueprints tell us that there are limits to what we can do, have, or accomplish (Scarcity Mindset)
- Life Design helps us see that there are no limits (Growth Mindset)
Here’s how Life Design Theory helps us make this mindset shift:
Phase 1: SUBJECT
When we’re subject to our blueprints, we’re stuck inside them. We’re adhering to a learned set of rules, set forth by our families and the dominant culture around us. We may be surviving, but if we’re not living from our truth we’re not thriving. We may not be conscious of the box we’re living in at this stage, though we can feel the uncomfortable edges of it and may long for something different.
Phase 2: OBSERVER
This is where we get curious about our definition of reality, and the rules of how we’re “supposed” to live our lives. We begin questioning where those rules came from, and if they are absolutely true. We might wonder:
- What if I don’t choose a conventional career path?
- What if I don’t get married and have 2 kids by the time I’m 30?
- What lies beyond what I’ve been taught to believe I should accept?
Phase 3: DESIGNER
In this stage, we step into the process of consciously writing our own rules. We assemble the pieces of our life in new configurations, ones that feel increasingly more authentic to who we are and what we want. This requires both courage and grit.
Fun fact: Goal-setting theory tells us that an effective goal lies just beyond the scope of what you can imagine.
A great way to get into "big picture" goal setting is to ask yourself one simple, yet powerful question:
What would you do or try if you knew you COULD NOT fail?
We know it’s hard to choose the path of risk. This is why so many people stick with their blueprints, whether they’re satisfied inside them or not. It is challenging work to say no to the status quo. It is difficult to come to terms with your own potential to deal with the discomfort and heavy lifting that is required to really design your existence.
The good news is that you do not have to eat the elephant all in one sitting!
You can start by breaking your Big Goal into manageable sub-goals:
- What do you need to learn?
- What do you need to do?
Swapping someone else’s blueprint for one of your own doesn’t happen overnight. It also doesn’t equate with boundless freedom.
What it does mean is that you become accountable to yourself rather than outside authorities. You become free to pursue your vision. Your priorities. Your definition of the good life. This will require hard work along the way - but it’s your work, on your terms.
That’s the beauty of Life Design.
Ready to Help Others Live By Design?
If you’re curious about how to use evidence-based tools like Life Design to support yourself and others as a coach, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a force for good in the world.