“Empathizing” - Life Designing Part 1
In my last article I wrote about my own personal story and how I turned from being a Life Planner to being a Life Designer.
Being able to design the life you love, the life you deeply connect to and the life that feels aligned with all that truly matters to you is an amazing ability.
Who wouldn’t be in for this.
But the big questions is: Where do I start?
Do I start with the future I want to create or do I start exactly where I am right now?
The future is that place which we can design in the brightest, most beautiful colours. The place where everything is possible and the place we often cannot wait to get to.
The present on the other hand is sometimes that place we want to rush out as fast as possible because things just don’t seem or feel the way we want them to. It’s the place we often consider to be the stepping stone for something better.
Putting it this way the future definitely seems more appealing.
I personally love to visualise my dreams and wishes because it is crucial for me to have a clear picture of the future that I want to create so I can align my actions with this image and, step-by-step, work on turning them into reality.
And it’s joyful, inspiring and motivating to allow my imagination to run wild. The sky is the limit!
On the other hand I am such a pragmatic go-getter that I always need to know what I can do right here and now, that will help me to move forward.
So, coming back to the initial question of where to get started with designing the life you love, my personal answer would be: Somehow, with both!
We need a visions of the future we want to create. We need it as our north. We need it as our motivator especially for those days when things move so slow that they appear to move backwards or days when we face obstacles or setbacks. We need it not to lose faith and we need it to stay on track.
But when it comes to getting things started, really started, then there is no way around the present moment. The present moment with all that is in it, joy, fear, love, pain, struggle ease, balance and bias is the key to starting our design for the future.
It is the only place where we can discover how to move forward in practical terms.
And it is the only place where we can discover what is holding us back or why we are not yet there, in the future we desire.
True, sometimes it is so much easier just to jump to the future image of the ideal life, the ideal job, the ideal relationship,etc., and to remain in this day dream as long and as often as possible.
I also catch myself from time to time looking for that magic short cut to happiness trying to avoid getting down to the nitty-gritty of the present moment and instead only focusing on the desired outcome.
But often it’s exactly these short cuts that cut us off from the most valuable insights and learning experiences.
Staying in the moment, taking an honest and deep look at what is happening, even if it is difficult and sometimes painful, is an indispensable precondition for becoming a successful life designer.
In the design process this step is called “Empathizing"
It is the process of tuning-in and relating in a deeper way to yourself and your life.
It is about creating a meta-view of your current life situation, so you can shift your perspective and allow yourself to see and sense things from a different angle.
It is about re-connecting with yourself, with everything that is essential in your life, with your dreams and your wishes.
Empathizing, as the starting point of the life designing process, means tuning-in and relating deeply to your current life situation, re-connecting with yourself and joining the vision of the future you want to create with the present moment as the key for how to move forward.
The present and the future, both equally important and both designed around the most valuable and most important point of reference: Yourself.
So this is exactly where you get started. With yourself!
*Life designing is a methodology based on design thinking, a human centred design process to create new and tailor made solutions. Developed at Stanford University, life designing quickly became one of the most popular classes for students and is now an approach used to solve wicked life problems across all age groups and life circumstances.