Your Big Life Redesign: The First Steps

So you want to redesign your own life?! Great - I hereby give you permission to do so - ready? GO! 

WAIT! What does that even mean? I suppose it means something a little different for each person. Designing a life you love can be a struggle, and there are a million questions along the way. What are you passionate about? What is important to you? How do you want to spend your career? What is the perfect work-life-balance? 

Our thoughts can look a little like this:

“Today I am passionate about food and wine, but last month I was passionate about hiking and water sports.”

“The most important thing to me is building my career, but two years ago the most important thing was planning my wedding.”

“My dream career was to work at HQ of Anthropologie and now that I’ve tried that, I want to try opening my own spin studio but I also want to try event planning.”

“Work-life balance to me is having the flexibility to schedule my personal life and work inside a 12 hour day instead of blocking off the traditional 8 hour work day, but I also don’t really know what that looks like….”

Why is it so confusing to be given the power and permission to design your own life? The bottom line is that everyone wants to be successful in their life and at their career. The thing is, we also want our careers to be based in a “passion”.

How do you find that passion when there are so many creative options to choose from? How do you create a road map to living a life of your own design? 

The answer is simple: Find your passion.

The journey however, is not as linear.

I started working my senior year of high school - I didn’t have to work but was also bored with my after school activities and I liked shopping more than sports so I got a job to fund my closet. With 12 years of employment, I have a background in retail management, restaurant hospitality, start-ups (and failed start-ups), fitness, event planning, and zero years of actually knowing what to do with my life.

At year 13, I found myself in retail, and was given an opportunity to work on the community events team. Our goal was to create marketing events to drive consumers to our shop while creating sense of community. That job eventually helped me to land a position with a local event planning company, and from there I started my first year planning for the mega-conference known as SXSW.

I was living my dream - figuring out logistics of an event, learning how to budget, finding creative solutions to achieve the client's goals, the whole nine. Event planning was my truer than true passion, and I was never leaving… Never.

Then next summer came, and I was recruited back into retail - but this time the dollar signs were calling my name. The job description was vague, but had emphasis on event planning and learning how to run a business, and that was enough for me. More money plus planning and designing my own events - the dream! The highlight of my new position was when I got to plan the events - my heart sang when I didn’t have to re-merchandise the store and was instead coordinating catering for the week’s dinner event. I knew I wanted back in events full time. 

So, I started back at that same event planning company a year later. It has taken 14 years, but I finally know this is the passion I want to make my career.

But how? Because of the messy journey. 

In High School, I was on the prom planning committee, in retail I was most successful planning community events, in restaurants I always signed up to coordinate and plan pop-up dinners, in start-ups I planned meet-ups to promote the brand…

Do you see a trend?

The first step to designing a life of your own design is to follow the trail. Take a look back into what may seem like a mess of unguided career decisions and find a trend. In every job position I ever had, I have always carved out the event planning position to satisfy my passion. It might not be as obvious right away, but that is okay. 

The key is to trust the process of the redesign. It won't look pretty for the first year, or two, or three. You will run into setbacks, and once your creative juices are flowing the world will feel right open. Almost too open. 

Anyone else hate going to a new fitness studio for the first time? It is the actual worst for me - I feel like I’m walking into a private party I wasn't invited to. But I was bored with running so I went to my first spin class 2 years ago. Damn. It was really hard and I loved it. I loved the sweat, the feeling of pushing you self past the limits, the energy of a class and the amazing sleep I got that night. Naturally, after 3 months, I wanted to open a spin studio. My brain was “spinning” - I had a call with a consultant to open and build a studio, research the best bikes, found the location and was brainstorming branding. THIS WAS MY NEW PASSION!  

*slams on breaks* 

I needed to take a step back and realize there were aspects of that venture I didn't want (like the 5AM classes).

But I didn’t give up on an idea - I tried it. Even though opening a spin studio might not be what I want to do, the process of trying a new thing, developing my knowledge and making a decision to side bar the project, are all actions to design my life how I want it and not live by default. You must know that there will always be other creative paths for you to take, but trusting the process will help you turn your true passion into a long-term career. 

There are three main ways to living a life of your own design:

1. Find you passion.

2. Trust the process.

3. Remember, you are the designer, so you can change it whenever you want! 

Stay tuned for another installment on finding your "why"! 


MORE IN CAREER: