Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 7 

1. How many of you are currently looking for a new job?  None?  I thought so!

- Over the years what specific process did you utilize to get hired, either in a paid or volunteer position?
- How was that process different or similar to the advice from this chapter?

2. Imagine that you are 30-something again…

- What would you have to do differently to get hired today?

3. Lutheran clergy participate in an ELCA-wide call process.
(Pr. Mark now explains the process in mind-numbing detail.)

- How is the call process for clergy unique and beneficial to the church?

4. Expanding the scope of this chapter, many “seekers” today “shop” for potential church homes in similar fashion to their seeking the right job, using the internet as a key tool for exploration.

- What does St. Mark offer to “seekers” looking for a church home?

- How would you, as one of the “owners tasked with hiring,” persuade seekers to consider joining our congregation?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 5 - Do an Odyssey Plan

In preparation for our morning meeting on February 22, please do the following in advance.  Then bring your worksheet with you to Panera for discussion.

1. Create three alternative five-year plans, using the worksheet provided.

2. Give each alternative a descriptive six-word title and write down three questions that arise out of each version of you.

3. Complete each gauge on the dashboard — ranking each alternative for resources, likability, confidence, and coherence.

4. Present your plan to a small group at our Panera meeting.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 3

1. Wayfinding is the ancient art of figuring out where you are going when you don’t actually know your destination. For wayfinding, you need a compass and you need a direction. Not a map - a direction. Think of the American explorers Lewis and Clark. Wayfinding your life is similar. What you can do is pay attention to the clues in front of you, and make your best way forward with the tools you have at hand.

- Where has “wayfinding” proven useful in your life?
- Where has it proven unsuccessful?

2. Flow is engagement on steroids. Flow is that state of being in which time stands still, you’re totally engaged in an activity, and the challenge of that particular activity matches up with your skill— so you’re neither bored because it’s too easy nor anxious because it’s too hard. People describe this state of engagement as “euphoric,” “in the zone,” and “freakin’ awesome.”

- When are you most apt to find yourself in the flow?  Why?

3. After engagement, the second wayfinding clue to look for is energy. Human beings, like all living things, need energy to live and to thrive. Men and women used to spend most of their daily energy on physical tasks. Nowadays, many of us are knowledge workers, and we use our brains to do the heavy lifting. The brain is a very energy-hungry organ. Of the roughly two thousand calories we consume a day, five hundred go to running our brains.

- What ratio of daily energy is physical vs. mental for you? 
- How do you prepare for both of these energy demands?

4. Here’s another key element when you’re wayfinding in life: follow the joy; follow what engages and excites you, what brings you alive. Most people are taught that work is always hard and that we have to suffer through it. If it’s not fun, a lot of your life is going to suck. Now, what makes work fun? It’s not what you might think. It’s not one unending office party. It’s not getting paid a lot of money. It’s not having multiple weeks of paid vacations. Work is fun when you are actually leaning into your strengths and are deeply engaged and energized by what you’re doing.

- Please offer an example of when you’ve experienced such joy.

5. There are two elements to the Good Time Journal:
* Activity Log (where I record where I’m engaged and energized)
* Reflections (where I discover what I am learning)
The Activity Log simply lists your primary activities and how engaged & energized you were by those activities. We recommend that you make Activity Log entries daily, to be sure to capture lots of good information.

- How might this exercise benefit you in surprising ways?

6. After a week or two, when you’ve got a decent body of entries in your Good Time Journal and you’re starting to notice some interesting things, it’s time to zoom in and take the exercise to the next level. Typically, after you start to get the hang of paying more detailed attention to your days, you notice that some of your log entries could be more specific: you need to zoom in to see more clearly. The idea is to try to become as precise as possible; the clearer you are on what is and isn’t working for you, the better you can set your wayfinding direction.

- What will it take for you to look at your life more closely?

7. Your past is waiting to be mined for insights, too— especially your mountaintop moments, or “peak experiences.” Peak experiences in our past— even our long-ago past— can be telling. Take some time to reflect on your memories of past peak work-related experiences and do a Good Time Journal Activity Log and reflection on them to see what you find. Those memories have stuck with you for good reason. You can make a list of those peak experiences, or write them out as a narrative or story.

- What is one major peak experience you can share with others?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Designing Your Life

Chapter 1

1. Usually, we define our problem by what’s missing, but not always. And the bottom line is this: We’ve all got problems. Sometimes those problems relate to our job, sometimes to family, or health, or love, or money, or any combination of these things. Sometimes our problems can feel so overwhelming that we don’t even try to solve them. We just live with them - like an irritating roommate we constantly complain about but never get around to evicting. Our problems become our story, and we can all get stuck in our stories. Deciding which problems to work on may be one of the most important decisions you make, because people can lose years (or a lifetime) working on the wrong problem.

- How have you tended to define the problems in your life thus far?

2. These are all gravity problems, meaning they are not real problems. Why? Because in life design, if it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. Let’s repeat that. If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag, but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved.

- Give examples of what distinguish problems from situations.

3. The key is not to get stuck on something that you have effectively no chance of succeeding at.  The only response to a gravity problem is acceptance. And this is where all good designers begin. This is the “You Are Here” or “Accept” phase of design thinking. Acceptance. That’s why you start where you are. Not where you wish you were. Not where you hope you are. Not where you think you should be. But right where you are.

- Why is this such a difficult recognition for us? 
- What is required?

(For the remaining questions, please discuss in pairs.)

4. Your Health Gauge - As we said, healthy to us means being well in more than just your body; you might want to take into account your mind and spirit, too. The relative importance of each area is entirely up to you.

- Make a quick assessment of your health and then fill in your gauge. Are you a quarter full, half, three-quarters, or really full?

5. Your Work Gauge - Make a list of all the ways you “work,” and then “gauge” your working life as a whole. We are assuming that there are things on your list that you are getting paid to do. This will include your nine-to-five job, and your second job if the first isn’t enough, and any consulting or advising you do, etc. If you are a regular volunteer in any organization, figure that in, too. If you are a homemaker, like Debbie, make sure you remember that raising children, providing meals for your family, taking care of aging parents, and doing housework are all forms of “work.”

- Make a quick assessment of your health and then fill in your gauge. Are you a quarter full, half, three-quarters, or really full?

6. Your Play Gauge - Play is about activity that brings joy just for the pure sake of the doing of it. It can include organized activity or productive endeavors, but only if they are done for fun and not merit. We contend that all lives need some play, and that making sure there is some play in our day is a critical life design step.

- Make a quick list of how you play and then fill in your gauge.
Are you a quarter full, half, three-quarters, or really full?

7. Your Love Gauge - We do think that love makes the world go around, and when we don’t have any, our world isn’t as bright and alive as it could be. We also know that we have to pay attention to love, and that it arrives in a wide range of forms. Our primary relationship is where we go first for love, children typically come next, and then it’s a flood of people and pets and community and anything else that is an object of affection. And it is as critical to feel loved by others as it is to love— it has to go both ways.

- Where is the love flowing in your life, from you and from others? 
- Make a list. How full is your gauge?