Discover values & strengths.

Design life & career paths.

Develop skills to make it real.

What is Life Design?

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans created the “Life Design Lab” at Stanford University to “help you figure out what you want to be when you grow up”. Approaching one’s life like a product design problem they started to apply mindsets of the innovation methodology Design Thinking to life and career planning.

Get to know the person in the mirror

One approach to create meaning in our daily life is to connect the dots of “who you are”, “what you believe” and “what you do”. Gaining clarity about these points and finding out what your values are is a prerequisite for making good life decisions. Therefore it might be worth to take a step back and consider where you come from, how you became who you are and what is truly important to you. On this basis you can best choose how to spend your lifetime.

Don’t search but develop passion

‘As soon as I “found my passion”, I will choose the right job and live a happy and meaningful life.’ – This dysfunctional belief builds pressure on many of us, facing life or career decisions. Burnett and Evans reverse this logic: most of us don’t know (and neither have) their one passion, but we develop passion for activities by trying and practicing them. Therefore, passion is the result, not the origin of a good life design.

Ideating different future scenarios

Another basis of life design is that the challenge is not to create and execute the one right life plan, but instead to choose from a large variety of possible great life scenarios. Imagine you could live your life in three different parallel universes and look at how those different lives would unfold in, for example, five years.
  • Scenario 1: continue the thing you’re currently doing. Assume that it’ll develop well.
  • Scenario 2: you can’t pursue your current career. What else? Make a side-hustle your main thing.
  • Scenario 3: how could your life be completely different? Assume that money or your image are not an issue!

Prototype your life

It can be scary to let everything go and fully dive into new life scenarios – therefore, test them.

Connect with people that might already live a life you would like to live as well and ask them questions. How did they end up here? How do their days look like?

Adopt a “bias for action” mindset: many of our actions and decisions are reversible and can be evaluated more effectively by experiencing and testing than by imagining and thinking.

Try things by diving into a potential new environment for a short time. Considering to start new master studies? Just drop by a lecture hall on a free day.

metaFox deep pictures

Postcards for life coaching

The metaFox deep pictures card set “Design your life” is loosely inspired by the concepts of Burnet and Evans. Following the proven deep pictures approach of combining images with questions, the 52 cards guide you through a three step life design process.

Discover

Get to know yourself better, look at how you became who you are and what you value in life. Gain a new perspective on your situation to ‘get unstuck’.

Design

Cards from this category help you ideate your future life: dream about the future, and gain ideas for what you could do and become in different areas of your life.

Develop

The only way to do it is to do it. Adopting the Design Thinking mindset of “bias for action” this category focuses on concrete action and daily habits – because life is not in the future, but every day.

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How to use the deep pictures

The deep pictures “Design your life” can be useful to different people in different situations: at the crossroads of life, when it is time to make a decision; when struggling through everyday life, or to regain sight of the bigger picture.

If you want to make a change in life…

…the ‘Design your life’ card deck can help to get unstuck: choose one card per week to reflect and look at your situation from a new perspective: answer the question and use the image as an anchor on your board or desk.

If you are a trainer or coach…

…you might want to help your clients get to know themselves or spark their creativity: chose certain cards, for example one of the categories described above and use them in an exercise. Invite your clients to write their ideas on the back of the card and take them home after the session. Read more on this method here.

If you want to spark meaningful conversations…

…you can use the cards as a game for your next evening with friends. Spread the cards on the table and select cards by choosing which pictures appeal to you. In a second step, discuss the questions on their back. Read more on this method here.

Accessories and other decks