Last week we took a peek inside the new bestseller, Designing Your Life. I heard from many of you in the comment section that you were at an open point in your life, waiting to discover, but wanting to design, what’s next in your life. Today’s exercise from the book will help you push aside the negative, hyper-realistic thoughts that crush ideas as they come up in your brain while you’re wishful thinking or daydreaming. This exercise is built around ideation and you are expected and encouraged to come up with fantastic ideas, so bring on the wishful thinking and the daydreams.
At my last corporate job as the Marketing Director for a legacy newspaper, we called these type of exercise sessions BHAG meetings — BHAG standing for Big Hairy Audacious Goals. The gloom and doom of being a print publication in the digital age was especially heavy in this outfit at the time because they had recently retired an onsite printing press that had been operating since the 1950s. It was more cost effective to outsource the printing process to another location with a newer press than to keep this huge, beautiful, but aging, machine in operation. In fact, the modernist building that housed the newspaper was built around the press, with two-story glass windows facing the street where the press could be seen and admired by passing cars and pedestrians. When the press was in operation, you could hear the steady hum of the machine throughout the building. It was the sound of success, of pride and of freedom. Needless to say, when that sound disappeared, morale went with it.
I loved BHAG meetings. I was always the annoying one that would arrive early, grab a spot next to the white board and get pumped up with game show glee. After the press stopped, we met to brainstorm about how to boost morale and community interest in the company, and to just fight our way out of the grave. I suggested we start a TV station. And I suggested that we place it exactly where the press had been, where it would be visible from the street. You can imagine the looks around the conference table and the silence in the room.
Cut to a year later — the TV station is thriving, providing a welcome alternative to the local TV news station who produced all of their news from the newspaper’s stories. They’ve built a local audience, gained market share, successfully boosted their advertising all while having quality digital content for their website. Boom. And all because some annoying lady began to scribble on the whiteboard.
Click through for a five-minute exercise from Designing Your Life that will help you think out of the box, dream a little, and up your happy factor for the day. –Caitlin
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Designing Your Life. All words and experiences are my own and I highly recommend this book as a tool for moving forward into a thoughtful, considered life that you’ve designed.