People often ask me how I decided on the title for “Designing Your Ideal Life,” then they invariably want to know, “Becky, what is the difference between planning your ideal life and designing it?” It turns out that there is a big difference.
In my former career, I was in software development managing large teams. I learned early on that there are many logical steps in development. We went from design to build to test to production. As it is so hard for many people to visualize software as a product, let me give you the analogy of building a house. Let’s say I’m a builder, and you come to me wanting a four bedroom house.
In order to build, I would need to ask you many questions. For example, do you want a ranch-style home or a split level? Do you want a porch? How many cars will you hold in your garage? What are the dimensions of your lot? These are all questions that go into the concept of design. After we go back and forth many times, I can start to think about a plan.
The plan includes the steps we need to take to build the home.
Why many plans fail
Remember all of those planning books with the 5, 10 and 20 year plans? Isn’t it amazing how many of the plans failed? That was because there was no design upon which to base the plan. Again, if I am a builder and we envision the plan, you might say, “I would like a big picture window in the front.”
BUT, if we never share that design vision and I build a home with a lot of small windows rather than a picture window, it might be difficult to make those changes down the road.
The reason so many plans fail is that life happens. People plan, they get met by roadblocks and instead of finding their way around the roadblock, they get stuck.
Again, if I am a builder and as we discuss a plan I might say, “Do you want a basement?” You might initially say no, but if I remind you how small your plot of land is and how you will have very limited storage, I might suggest that in the master plan we consider a basement instead of the slab you wanted. In this way, as the blueprint unfolds you might say, “Oh, I see what you meant by limited storage; we’d better scrap the slab arrangement and go for a basement.”
A more human example
I know a young woman who always had the dream of becoming a fashion model. She loved clothes and fashion and had a terrific flair for design, but her plan was to wear French designer clothes down European runways. She went to modeling school and she just didn’t have the stuff to make it as a European fashion model.
She got so discouraged, she sat in her mom’s basement and cried at the fashion design shows, saying: “That should be me.” She was stuck.
Had she thought of a design for her life, she might have realized that if one alternative did not work in the world of fashion, there could be many others; design, costume design, apparel sales and on and on.
The person with the slab foundation rather than the basement might learn to live with the lack of storage, but far better that at the very beginning the design allowed for changes before the first shovel broke the ground.
In Designing Your Ideal Life, together we can allow you to view the possibilities and other routes if the initial plan fails. It is only a matter of changing steps of your life, but not necessarily the entire course of your life.