Book Recommendation for Self-Assessment: How to Design Your Life

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Many soon-to-be MBA students and recent business school graduates have been reaching out to us for help in understanding how to best identify and achieve their career goals. Although we have previously blogged about this topic, recently we came across a book that resonated with us because it presents a process for moving forward that mimics what we have seen work for our clients.  

The premise of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans is that to achieve change, people need a process to help them figure out what they want and how to create it. The authors suggest adopting the mind-set of a designer. Here are five mind-sets to consider when designing your life:

  • Curiosity: Invite exploration.
  • Bias to action: Commit to building your way forward. Prototyping is required to find your career goals; it necessitates getting hands-on experience, not just reflecting on an idea.  
  • Reframing: Get unstuck. Step back, examine biases, and move to a solution.
  • Awareness: Recognize that your life does not have to be perfect; it is an iterative process.
  • Radical collaboration: Ask for help. You do not need to do this on your own.

Finally, we wanted to share a few of the book’s reframing concepts that really spoke to us. We believe these are relevant for succeeding in the career exploration and job search process:

  • Instead of thinking about “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” think about “Who or what do you want to grow into?”
  • Remember that it may seem like you are stuck, but you are not. You can think of a lot of good ideas for moving forward.
  • Stop thinking there is one “right” answer. Focus on finding many ideas that you can investigate and explore.
  • Do not make any problem bigger than it has to be by holding on so tightly to a solution that is not working.

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

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