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Life Changes: Risking it all for happiness

Is a major life change on your horizon? Or maybe just a few tweaks? Perhaps you weren’t thinking of changing things up, but if you were really honest, there’s a lot more ‘same-old’ than ‘amazing’ in your day.

“Take the risk. The only thing you’re holding onto are things that might not actually be working for you.” – Colin Macrae

Change can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know where to start, how to dig in. How we view change can be a barrier, if we believe it to be an all-or-nothing approach. Like a January resolution to go to the gym Every. Single. Day. Have we failed when we choose a leisurely brunch with old friends instead of our morning gym routine?

Fresh perspective needs a new approach. Colin Macrae, Communications Consultant and Leadership Coach, found exactly what he needed to work through a career challenge, through the creative minds of designers Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Their book, Designing your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, applies design thinking concepts to the larger topics of career and life. Through the book, he came to accept that “change is an iterative process. It’s not about getting it right.”

“Using design principles to examine your work, your joy, your life—is incredibly freeing. The experience was very creative, using visuals and a lot of collaboration with others,” says Macrae, who was introduced to Designing your Life by a development coach. “The real magic came from working with some trusted colleagues and opening up the process of evaluating my career to benefiting from others’ input, just as you’d work through any problem in the workplace.”

Traditional career exploration and development tends to be a solitary pursuit. Designing your Life uses the elements of design to broaden exercises of evaluation and idea generation into a collaborative approach to problem solving. As others got involved to support Macrae in his pursuit of career happiness, they also dove into the book’s principles and started designing their own lives. Working together on this “problem” removes the self-doubt, the blame for career missteps, and becomes an enjoyable process in designing the next chapter(s) of your life.

Macrae found using the design process for planning your life makes it okay to try new things – and more importantly, makes it okay to fail at them. You can always try something new. Don’t worry about what was supposed to be, or what might have been. Start planning what might be, and give that a try. Says Macrae:

“There is no best. There’s only better.”


Smart, Savvy + Associates finds high-calibre marketing, communications, creative and sales professionals with proven track records and in-demand skills for companies who need them, across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto. We also provide leadership and training development programs for workplace programs, corporate retreats and individual growth opportunities. Contact Peter Reek to discuss your organization's training needs.


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