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    Designing an Intentional Life

    The exact system that I used to go from midlife crisis to intentional living.

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      Picture of Vaughan Broderick

      Vaughan Broderick

      I had a mid-life crisis at 48.

      I had started and grown a successful business, life was good (on the outside), but I knew things weren’t right. Then, my Dad died and that was the catalyst to make a drastic change.

      For me, that change would mean selling the business, taking a sabbatical and then starting to study for my MBA.

      Thankfully I had my family to support me.

      While I admit that taking on the study may have added unwanted pressure, I was able to take time to explore if I enjoyed it. Much like the sabbatical enabling me to take time out to think, feel and learn about myself.

      What I learned was that:

      • I want to live a life spending more of my time on what I want, when I want, and with whom I want. A life where I do less of what I don’t like and more of what I do. A life with less constraints and more freedom and fun.
      • That I connected with the way entrepreneurship and design thinking looks at the world and brings value to people. I was intrigued, it excited me and I wanted to continue.

      My MBA consulting project was to transform the way life storybooks are enabled for thousands of young people in care. My desire to connect with people using design was deepening.

      I knew that I did not want to return to my old life.

      So, over the last 2 years I have been building my design thinking, innovation and strategy skills while coaching entrepreneurs and leaders that are looking for a way to transform their business. Including, not for profits, SME’s and public sector organisations.

      The impact has been immense.

      What began as panic, has resulted in clarity and confidence of purpose.

      And, when I reflect on this journey I believe that we all have the ability to live life more intentionally. While it can be difficult, it is also achievable.

      It is while on this journey that I learned about the Japenese concept of Ikigai – ‘life’s worth’.

      It’s only when we understand ourselves and the world around us that we can move closer to our Ikigai and the intended outcome: an intentional life.

      The four areas to move towards are:

      1. Do what you love
      2. Do what you’re good at
      3. Do what the world needs
      4. Do what you can be rewarded (paid) for
      Ikigai even diagram

      Here are the 3 steps I took, that you can too:

      Step 1 - Explore

      Start by exploring what interests you.

      Make an exhaustive list of everything you want try. It could be music, a new hobby, bungy jumping, it’s totally open and up to you.

      Write them on post it notes and put them on to the wall – this is your discovery wall.

      Then, over a 1-3 month period, try as many of these interests as you can.

      You will be bringing intuitive and practical feedback to help inform what brings you joy.

      Step 2 - Choices

      You’ve just had a thrilling time exploring, it’s time to focus on what purpose feels like to you.

      What was most thrilling? What was your least favourite? What surprised you? What would you do again?

      Remove all the least favourite interests from your discovery wall.

      Now write a story about each remaining interest. How did you feel? What did you notice? What lifted you up?

      Step 3 - Reflect

      Now, just let things sit for several days or weeks and let your subconscious work for you.

      Go for a walk. Take yourself to a movie. Soak in a tub.

      Your job here is to ponder and let thoughts come to the forefront.

      You don’t need to make a decision, just to write down anything that comes to your attention.

      Write that thought down and place it on the wall. Write it as a verb ie To connect, To teach ….

      What resonates the most with you?

      Now write a story about each remaining interest. How did you feel? What did you notice? What lifted you up?

      Next steps:

      You may have found one or two interests that appear to be your purpose and may eventually fulfill all the Ikigai areas.

      Next, is to create your strategy and take small action steps towards the interest.

      Much like innovation, it is about testing and learning. Then, investing more as you build confidence of the direction.

      For example:

      • I started with just one course at university before committing to the full MBA
      • I volunteer my time to be involved in startups and coaching
      • I collaborated with my mentor to write about design thinking and innovation (published soon)
      • I took a role as a design thinking coach specifically to learn from an expert
      • I invested in books and courses to improve my skills and knowledge
      • I frequently meditate and reflect on where I’m at and where I want to go

      In 2022, I’m doing more of the same to improve my life and the lives of others. This newsletter is a big part of that goal.

      If you have found that you want to impact others and grow your business. Then, design thinking and innovation skills may just be a what you need (as I found out).

      In Summary

      The journey towards designing my life with intention will likely never end, but I feel excited to continue learning and growing.

      If you’re interested in finding your Ikigai then I recommend these 3 steps:

      1. Explore – go wide and try everything you’ve always wanted to
      2. Choices – narrow your most exciting interests down to 1 or 2
      3. Ponder – let things perculate to arrive at more clarity

      Design Thinking can be applied not only to entrepreneurship but to your life too!

      If this resonates with you, feel free to shoot me a DM on Twitter or LinkedIn. I do my best to get back to everyone.

      Thanks for reading.