How To Apply Design Theory to Life and Get Unstuck

by Caitlin Kelch


I could not have discovered this book at a better time. I’ve reached a peak in my self-care routines — they’re now actual habits — and I’ve found my brain wandering into scary “who do I want to be?” territory. I’ve built a strong foundation that allows myself time away from mothering, work and volunteering. I’ve mastered breath and patience. But, of course, once you master one thing, you’re ready to be a novice at something new and I can feel myself wanting to grow into something lately.

Designing Your Life, written by Stanford professors William Burnett and David. J. Evans, is a catalyst for life changes, big or small. And it feels like a natural progression to incorporate into my self-care practice since I’ve developed the ability to let go when I need to. In our Beauty of Self-Care column, I’ve talked about my personal struggle as a woman to rein in my empathy and not try to solve everyone’s problems. One thing I haven’t shared is that I actually love to problem-solve, just not so much with my own issues. I think this is true of a lot of us. While my self-care practice has helped me detach emotionally so I can move forward at a steady pace, I sometimes miss the adrenaline rush of a intensely applying methods to solve problems and that invincible feeling one has when they come up with “a plan.” That’s exactly where this book comes in.

Designing Your Life started as a course at Stanford University, where students apply design theory, which is essentially problem solving, to some of their life issues. Using concepts and techniques that designers of all kinds use to create an optimal design (with practice), it becomes second nature to reframe all the “pain points” we experience and then take actionable steps to move past them into a more fulfilling and positive experience. In my life, this sounds something like, “If I can get my daughter to enjoy math, I will be happy.” I realistically should be thinking, “True happiness will come from my joy watching my daughter find her passion.” So, how can help my daughter find her true passion? This is the point where I stop. I do not move forward. I do not jot down steps I could take towards that goal. I tell myself I will start figuring this out when everything else is more settled, more stable. And that day never comes.

Designing Your Life actually gives me a roadmap and tools to answer some of my big life questions in a detached, academic way that is extremely human-centered. I just happen to be that human. Designing your life means you have so much more to do, consider, prototype and experience before you lay out “the plan.” The plan, in its most idealist form, is kind of a sham. Designing your life is much more about getting to a place where you’re comfortable throwing out a lot of ideas, acting on some and trusting your intuition to notify you that this feels right, this is resonating with me. I love how this book has encouraged me to be more curious about myself, enough that I’ve stepped out of my new comfort zone of cocooning self-care to see what else might be out there for me. Or honestly, what else might just be inside me.

If you’re feeling stuck in a certain area of your life right now, or have been stuck in the recent past, take a moment to identify that one pain point you wrestle with frequently. Write it down. Share it in the comments if you feel comfortable. Next week, we’re going to apply some design theory to some common issues and share some methods from the book that help boil down the issues so we can come up with solid, actionable ways we can move forward to get “unstuck.”

I’m very happy to be giving away three copies of this important book! It fits so perfectly into a new or existing self care practice in such a seamless, helpful way. Even if you haven’t had the time to make self care a priority, reading this book and working through its exercises will help push you in a positive direction in a way that works best for you. If you’d like to be entered to receive a copy of the book, please say hi in the comments and let us know you are ready, willing and excited to design your life.  –Caitlin

P.S. This book is already number one in its respective category on the New York Times Bestseller list!

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.

Suggested For You


  • I’m recently married and a couple years out of college and am pondering where I want my life to go and what I need to do to get there. I’d love to read this!

  • Hi! This sounds amazing. I definitely would love to read this book. I feel like a lot of similar books get thoughts floating around in my head with no actions to know how to push though. This sounds more actionable. I’m intrigued!

  • Thank you for the recommendation! I’m currently taking steps toward changing careers from academics into different creative work, and I’ve felt so paralyzed by the fear of the unknown, my lack of business expertise, and my desire to not just master one thing. Your comment about this book being “more about getting to a place where you’re comfortable throwing out a lot of ideas, acting on some and trusting your intuition” really resonates with me. I’m finally throwing out some ideas, but it sounds like this book would be really helpful for me to keep moving forward. I’d love to be considered in the giveaway!

  • Wow, this book sounds like something I desperately need. I’m constantly trying to organize, time manage, etc. my very busy life of two full time working parents, a toddler, and a baby. This post seemed to speak right to me. Looking forward to reading the book and future posts. Thank you.

  • As a designer, I practice design thinking everyday. However, I hadn’t even considered that I could use design thinking to design my life! I’ve got to get on this!

  • I would love to read this book. I’ve made progress in building a stable family and professional life, and I am working very very hard to figure out the next steps for me. This sounds like a great resource.

  • This is what I need right now. I will be very happy to read it to help me find out what to do with my lite. Thanks!

  • Hi DS Team,

    Looking forward to reading this as a way to navigate some things I’m struggling with pertaining to my blog and where to take it. I love the site and what you all promote because transparency is always encouraged – and sharing this book with us is the perfect example of that.



  • Hello! Currently I’m at a certain crossroad where I know what I want but I don’t know exactly where to start. So this book would be something that could provide me with guidance to achieve that. Thank you :)

  • Hi! I am excited and ready to design my life! A former designer and creative person, who is now a mother of a 2 yr old toddler. I lost my own mother a couple of years ago, and I feel like I am off track and need guidance to get back on the right path.

  • I listened to their interview on the Diane Rehm show this weekend and loved it! I already use design thinking processes at work and have applied IDEO’s Human Centered Design methods to challenges in my personal life. This would be the perfect next step in my life’s design. :)

  • Would love to read this book. My partner and I seem to be stuck under a black cloud at the moment, and every attempt to improve our lives we seem to hit a barrier. Would like to read this book as it would enable us to regain hope for our future and give us direction.

  • I recently finally came to terms with where I want to take my design work that is more true to who I am, but I’m still fuzzy on the details of what that exactly looks like. I would love to see what this book can teach me to guide me through this new phase in my work! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Hi! As a design school graduate and having my Masters in Design, I’m always excited to see/read/hear ways in which design thinking can effect and motivate other parts of our lives; especially for those who are not in the industry. I’m ready, willing, and excited!

  • I´m at a cross road in my career path and after a disappointing rejection from a recent job application, I think I need this book to refocus my goals.

  • Yes. Please. Been at a dead-end design job for 13 years, have a mentally ill teen at home and just started pulling myself out of depression. Scared to change but scared to stagnate.

  • Hi there! I’m a single parent of a small child and I’m stuck in a really unforgiving job while trying to get past cancer treatment with a brain that no longer functions like it is supposed to. Lest that sound too grim, I’m relentlessly optimistic. This book sounds like something everybody needs so I will happily buy it for myself should I not have the luck to win it. Thank you for spreading such a positive message!

  • Really unhappy at work, getting older and wanting to make the best use of the next 30 or 40 years. I can see mistakes I’ve made in the past, but making a plan to not repeat them feels impossible!

  • Hi! I’m ready, willing and excited to design my life, I’ve hit a stagnant few years & would love some help with action steps.

  • Wow! This is just what I need right now! I have been feeling stuck for so long, and can’t seem to get to the action part of my ideas. Being overwhelmed is exhausting. Glad to know of this book! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  • I would like to apply for the giveaway of the book. I am very interested in reading it and pretty stuck in my life.

  • as a designer, i’m so excited about the idea of applying design thinking to life in general :) i feel like i’ve hit a point in my career that “where do i go from here?” is becoming more and more of a question for me – this book sounds perfect for situations like this!

  • oh yes please! I believe it’s so important to have a ‘plan’ and this book sounds like it would be a great helping tool with that.

  • This is timely! I just successfuly navigated one of my pain points this week–not asking for help when I really need it. Instead of wallowing in anger/guilt I said “Yes, please.” and “Thank you!” when someone offered to help me. :-D

  • I have this book in my wishlist since I read about it in NYT. I need it. Since being a mother of my first child my mind keeps wondering what should I do, as I do not love my job after all this time and effort. But I have not found any answer yet.

  • Hi! I’d love to read the book. Lot of life transitions have me in a place where life is a blank page, waiting to be planned and written.

  • I definitely need this book! I am a new empty-nester who is finally confronting so many parts of myself that have been neglected for far too long. I was so busy raising my kids post-divorce I didn’t think about myself and now I don’t know who I am anymore. As a frustrated artist, addressing this in terms of design really excites me!

  • Perfect timing. My birthday is next week and I was just musing at lunch about why I resist presents. Don’t get me wrong – I love presents; who doesn’t. But I seem to place too much meaning in them. Why can’t I simply accept a ghastly ceramic goose vase (I kid you not) without being offended. I think it gets back to an early “pain point” when my mother, whom I didn’t live with, would occasionally forget my birthday or miss it by a week or so. Clearly painful for my junior high self. I’ll be curious to find out if I’ve disarmed this pain point. Maybe I’ll even start collecting ghastly geese… but probably not.

  • This post found me on the perfect day. I’ve just returned from a short vacation and am reassessing how I navigate my media-intake, social circles, and creative practice + balance family life. This book would be an extremely helpful tool! Good luck to all who are entering! Cheers.

  • Ready, set, and GO! I think this may be the tool I am missing to hone in on change and not dwell in the stuckness!

  • What a synchronicity that literally the title was flashed in my mind yesterday! Absolutely looking forward to the alignment force and signals!

  • Hi! After moving across the country for my husband’s job and then focusing on elderly parents these past several years, I am so ready to focus on me and figure out the next phase of my journey.
    (& I’m also thinking this book will make a great gift for a niece who hasn’t yet found her niche in life)

  • I’ve been searching for a way to bring together all the pieces of a successful life. And as an avid reader, I’m excited that a book like this exists!

  • Sounds like such a great book! thank you for bringing to our attention ! I think like so many things your life ends up creating itself, and it is important for me to remind myself that I can design my life and help guide the path… instead of just trying to hobble together what is around me into the best possible assemblage!

  • Such perfect timing for me. Yesterday I was made redundant from a job with the best organisation I’ve ever worked for. A truly altruistic & highly effective NGO, The Hunger Project. I now have to reconnect with my creative, designer self & plan my way to a creative new life & job. Would ❤️ this book to kick start me on that path.

  • This sounds like a great book–I’ve been contemplating where to begin fixing up the home I just bought and feeling a little overwhelmed and stuck. Plus trying to figure out how to tackle all the things I want to do in this new home…creative projects and more meaningful work.

  • I’d love this book! I’d like to focus on how to get “unstuck” in my relationship with my husband. We’ve been together almost 11 years (married for three) and we’re all-around best friends who love each other deeply. We’re in a rut right now and I’d like to find a way back to being more intimate than we currently are- while we’re still “going through the motions,” we don’t feel that deeper connection at the moment. I’m wondering if this might help me get back there! :)

  • This is EXACTLY the book I need to help me build the life I want. I totally have that academic brain that needs real steps to follow and am so hungry too get on my way!

  • Hi!

    As a young, newly graduated designer/tinker-er I’d love to get some good advice on where to go from now. How do I set myself up for a career/lifestyle that makes me happy?

  • I have also been working on my personal development and think this book would be a great next step. Can’t wait to check it out!

  • OK, so I have taken lots and lots of self-help tests. I’ve read stacks of lifestyle/positive mindset/turn-your-life-around books. I’ve spent lots of money on coaches. None, and I mean none, have been better than this book. I’m not kidding. I just started reading it from the library. I was perusing my library’s new books, and this called out to me. It’s so good that I need to get a copy and keep it as a life-long reference text. I am in the second chapter at this moment. Thank you so much for serendipitously writing an article on this book.

  • I’be spent a lifetime trying to learn how to do this. I just didn’t realize it until I saw it explained here. I see why so many people want to read it, or have read it. It sounds eminently practical and useful.

  • I’m at a point in my life where I’m asking myself on a daily basis about what kind of life I want to strive for and what kind of person I want to be. I’m in the military and now that my time is nearly complete I’m confounded about whether or not my sense of self is connected to this organisation or if I can stand on my own. Thank you for recommending this book, I’m hopeful that it can help me connect to myself again and plan for my future :)

  • HI! I just left a job that I thought I loved. Eight years with no regrets but I finally listened to that voice telling me I deserve more and now I am given the opportunity to design my next life. This book would be a great road map for my new adventure.

  • Just starting a PhD program while attempting to mother, wife, and work. I could very much use some help designing my life!

  • i Love the idea of applying design concepts and techniques to life issues! I too love problem solving for others – but when it comes to me, I feel stuck and it always comes back to believing that I am not good enough…

  • I desperately need this book! I’ve had a lot of serious health problems over the last year and a half that have changed the parameters of my day-to-day existence. I’m trying to figure out a way to craft a new, meaningful and genuinely awesome life out of the shards of my previous one, where I imagined wanting and needing entirely different things than I do now…

    No matter what, I can’t overstate how inspirational it’s been to read Grace’s descriptions of being diagnosed with and working to manage type one diabetes– as always, Designsponge is just the best!!

  • I just listened to a podcast review of this book and I am definitely in a place where this could be really helpful.

  • Oh how ace, it sounds like a great book and just what I need right now, grappling with some stuckness. Fingers and toes crossed!

  • As a Creative and Social Media Manager on a break… Ready to plunge into first-time motherhood over the next few days I see this book and the insights it has to offer as perfectly timed! It will be interesting to see how I can apply the learnings into this new phase of my life.

  • I too have had the nagging thought of not only who do I want to be, but also am I moving in the right direction? I’ve felt restless and not known how to articulate why and how it can be tamed. As a designer I can see how problem solving techniques can help provide direction for most problems, but too often it’s hard to put a finger on the solution for one’s own challenges. I would love a guide to help push me through some of my own personal roadblocks and on to figuring out next moves in my life.

  • So excited to learn about this book. I’m in a good place but defintely a bit stuck. I’ve been wondering how to move forward a lot lately and this sounds like a good place to start. Thanks!

  • I’m always on the lookout for good book recommendations, so I’ll add this to my list! I tried to take a designer’s mindset when we moved in January so that I can set up my new home in ways that make sense. It’s been so helpful to remember (for example) that I can just move the scissors to a new room if I never use them in the office! Ya know? So anyways…this would be my jam.

  • This could not have come at a better time. I was laid off from a well paying job two weeks ago, and am gong through many internal “what do I want to be when I grow up?” questions lately and could use some guidance.

  • It’s time to figure out the path from at-home-mom to include something else personally fulfilling with a bonus of a little more room in the budget.

  • Hi! This looks like a very lovely book. As I’m concluding my last semesters in college, I’m working to prepare myself for a full-time career. I’ve recently just accepted a new job in banking and this book looks like a wonderful aide for myself and others in similar positions.

  • This sounds amazing and like exactly what I need for where I am in my life! I’m so glad you featured this book, and I’d love to win a copy.

  • When I read the title I literally jumped from the chair … I’m in a point where I feel I need to do something to move to the next step in my life … It sounds really interesting!!! Thank you for the present!

  • I have heard about this book and its intriguing approach to life focus. I’d love to win a copy and delve into my pain point — fear of failure. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can succeed in landing a copy.

  • Hi! I’m about to embark on a new phase of life and this would be a perfect road map to help plot my direction down a new path.

  • I am a photographer and textile designer and recently moved to a new area where I know nobody and live alone. I am currently at the stage where I am not selling any of my work, do not know where or how to get past this. Daily I think ‘what is the point’ when thinking of creating something new. Huge blockage. Think this book may help me along the way. I am 64 and do not want to feel that I am past it!

  • I read this post on my phone and before I even got to read the article I snapped a photo of this book because I know I need to read it and walah what a surprise that you are giving away three copies!wooot woot!

  • Hi! Fortunate to be able to redesign my life after a necessary divorce and finding myself anew! Life is good! Loving yr writings, all the best, Deborah

  • Such serendipity. I discovered this book while browsing through a local bookstore, and the title and cover immediately caught my eye. I’m in a huge moment of transition in my life – 39 weeks pregnant and taking a year off work for maternity leave. I intend to use this time off to focus on my new identity as a mother and to also do some deep diving on how this experience will transform me and my next life steps – be it with career or new creative endeavors. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book. It’s definitely on my list to read!

  • I will be retiring in a few short years and have begun thinking about the next phase of my life. This book sounds like it would be an invaluable tool to have.

  • This would be a great compliment to my professional focus on design thinking in my field – would love to win a copy! Thanks.,

  • What an interesting concept. I’m on the verge of a lot of changes and this might just help to make these changes go as smoothly as possible and keep my life running smoothly.

  • Yes please! I would love to read this book as I do too need a plan as a mother of 2, freelancer, sister of a cancer patient, wife etc and by etc I mean me.

  • This is the time to bring some sanity, love and peace into the world and to shape up what my part in helping that to happen will look like…
    I’m thinking that a design angle on things could be just the creative route to help things come alive
    Thank you all for the everyday, design into lives features that you share… I’m for the everyday peace into lives side of things… a sort of attentive zero tolerance for violence in words, thoughts or deeds and gently attending to finding or creating ways to do things non violently.
    A bit like the police zero tolerance scheme on the small street issues like littering because they build and lead to the bigger issues… this is no warring words because they come from warring thoughts and lead to warring actions and create a climate where it’s normal and seems just like ‘the way things are’…
    Ah… didn’t mean to get quite so far into that : )
    Anyway… the book would be a lovely support in creating a way to do all that : )

  • Hi, I would look to read this book! Feel a bit stuck in my ways and hoping this would give inspirastion on where and how to start designing my life forward :)

  • Marianne

    I would be thrilled to read your book. Sounds like it would help me to organize my thoughts and set me off on a plan of action. Thank you!

  • ohhh the dilemma. knowing you’re not living a life that is GOOD for you but not knowing what life would be good for you and how to achieve it! yes, a book to help layout a roadmap to fulfillment would be a true gift!

  • Hi, I think this book might really help me get through this stage of uncertainty I find myself deeply embedded in. Since purchasing it is out of my budget right now, I’m grateful you’re having a give-away opportunity! Many thanks,

  • Caitlyn, your story speaks into my SOUL. I have gone through some major changes both personally and professionally over the last few months and am feeling as though I’m finally ready to redesign anything in my life that needs to be reconsidered. This is a growth edge. Thank you for sharing. Love & peace x

  • I read an article recently talking about this Stanford course and how it was the most popular and attended class ever! My interested was piqued immediately! I would love to get my hands on a copy of this book and do some dirty life work.

  • Wow, what a nice review!
    My everyday routine is just as the cover of the book with thousands of those little colorfoul spots representing different facets of my life: work, volunteering, sports, cooking, social and family life, being an Airbnb (super)host, and moments of calmness.
    Being at the end of my 20s I’m not sure whether I can already detect (or create?) a pattern out of them. So I’m very much open to external sources, just as this book to guide my hand finding a way of self-fulfillment, inner peace and outer joy.

  • h e l l o, I NEED this book and would love to share it with my ladies book club. Many of us are transitioning in our careers right now and it’s beautiful to watch. I, on the other had am stuck, like cement shoes stuck! I have no problem starting over but I just don’t know how, ugh!

  • Working at being an adult, but it feels so hard! Would love some help from this book to help guide me in setting up a smart framework for making the very important decisions.

  • Hi! I’m currently going through a whole personal transformation and I think this would totally help me out. I’ve started a new diet and a 6-week Krav Maga workout challenge. I’m also quitting my job in search of something bigger and better!

  • Self care is an area that I will always want to grow more in! The approach of the book fascinates me as I love finding connections between the human psychological&spiritual fabric and art&creativity. I believe healing and creativity go hand in hand. I covet any insight into self growth I can get.

  • Hi, I saw the article about this book in the NYT and was instantly interested in it. I love that you wrote about it and are trying it yourself. Yes, please sign me up to possibly get a free copy!!!!

  • HI. I would love to be entered to receive a free book. This books sounds like just what I need right now. In all reality I have needed this for several years now. It does sound like it is so me and so needed.

  • I saw Professor Evans speak at a presentation over the summer and can without a doubt speak to the amazing ness of his work. As a recent graduate, I’m feeling pretty lost and scared about the future. I would love a copy of this book!

  • ‘Tis the season to look inward and move outward !!! I can’t wait to read this book and use it to navigate this phase of my life, season, spirit!

  • This book looks very cool. I am a midlife point and thinking about how the next little bit will go. Design theory is right up my alley!

  • Hello! Would love to read this curious book. After two years of being sidelined from a concussion, getting my life back has been a hard road to navigate.

  • This book sounds delightful! I’ve been following along with the Self Care series here and have been making some great headway – I really am feeling more positive lately. I have a long list of books to check out to help keep me on the right path, and this one has officially been added to the list!

  • I am constantly looking for tools to help myself and others design the life I/they want. This sounds like a perfect resource.

  • Hi! I saw this book at the bookstore and quickly placed it in my “to read” list (I have two books I’m trying to finish first!). It’s cool to know so many other’s are working on this too. Thanks for the opportunity for a free copy!

  • Intrigued with the notion that there is no “right answer” but you design it around what you need/or is important.

  • Can’t wait to read this book. I want to change (diet, hoarding habits, living more meaningful) but finding it hard to get my act together!

  • This book sounds like a fascinating read.
    I have retired earlier than I expected to, from Primary School teaching. I have a gorgeous 1 year old Grandson, I’m thoroughly enjoying and time to do so much more now…but I think I need to unlock a lot more of myself. I’m just not sure how to as yet!
    I thought this book might have some keys!

  • Interesting to think that if I can make my pain work for me, use it to create something positive, then I don’t need to fear it. And I think the responses to this post reveal that none of us is alone in our plight to grow and learn.

  • So glad I read this post – will definitely keep following this subject. It looks like based on all these comments this is a hot button. Count me in!!! I’d love to read this.

  • Hi! I heard them on the radio (The Diane Rehm Show) and became intrigued by the book. I am looking forward to reading it. I’m a SAHM and could definitely use some ideas to make my life rewarding outside of the children and husband realm. Thank you!

  • I would love to read this book! As a practicing architect AND a flower farmer AND the mother to a one-year-old, I’m in desperate need of some creative consolidation and career inspiration. Understatement!

  • Sounds like a great book, as a scientist and physician in training I can’t wait to explore this book to see how I can apply it to my surroundings!

  • Hi Caitlin, I’ve actually never won anything! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. Sounds silly, but never applied thinking from design background to life — love this concept! Currently considering life direction and job hunting, so this title is calling out to me. And my job hunt budget would so appreciate a free copy. :)

  • Hi Caitlin! I’d love to receive this book! I have grown children, am recently retired and, sadly, lost my husband two months ago – just as we were getting ready to re-begin our future and figure out what we were planning to do with the rest of our lives. Now it looks like I’ll be taking that trip by myself and despite having been a full time worker, plus having had a weekend flower business and a love for decorating, I’m stuck as to which direction I’d like to go at this point. My home is decorated, I can’t lift buckets of flowers in water anymore, and I’ve retired from my job in a law firm. – I think this book might be very helpful! Thanks for the giveaway. Bev

  • Hi! Turning 30 next year, and have started taking myself out on mini “me” dates (to a museum, little cafe, bookshop, etc.) to journal and really dig into who do I want to be in the next ten years. This couldn’t me MORE perfect for that exercise. Thanks for the consideration!

  • I really enjoyed reading this article and am even more intrigued in reading the book itself! I’m definitely at a time in my life where I’m trying to figure out where to go next – coming back to myself after an intense job wiped out all balance and self-care habits. Thank you so much for bringing this resource to our attention.

  • I have had a lot of changes happen in my life lately that feel like I cannot control. I am ready to take back that control and design my own life!

  • Hi, this book intrigues me and I’m very interested in reading it, not only for myself, but for my students as well. We are all striving to be the best person we can possibly be, no matter what place we are in the journey of life. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention!

  • This couldn’t come at a better time. I’m at a crossroads with almost every aspect of my life: personal, professional, spiritual. I wish this had been available twenty years ago, but then I don’t know if I would have been ready to do the work. I certainly am now!

  • You make it sound like such a helpful book! Good and helpful self-care books are not easy to find, so it makes me extra interested in what it has to offer. I feel like everyone could benefit from its insights, so I’m very curious to find out for myself ;-)

  • I just read the Amazon reviews in addition to your review, and I want this book in my life! I’m wondering if it would work as an audio book? It’s available in that format and would be nice for my long commute, but it sounds like there are lots of exercises that might better be done in book format.

  • I’m currently on a very long library waiting list for this book – would love to have my own copy! I’m approaching 30 and so in need of a resource that will enable me to start designing my life. This column is so inspiring.

  • I need this book! I get stuck in the coulda, shoulda, woulda phase & this book sounds like it would be great inspiration to get me moving from thinking to actually doing something.

  • It sounds like a great way to figure out those next steps – and working to make sure they’re effective in my life as an advocate, farmer and mother to a 2 year old!

  • Hi! I am willing and ready to redesign my life! I’m a designer by day, hot-mess by night, and about to have a newborn seven years after our first child, and after just receiving a big promotion. Mama needs balance! I am so much more organized and effective in my work life than I am at home, and could use some motivation and direction before life gets even crazier than it is already.

  • Hi. :) I am ready, willing, and excited to design my life. I have a friend that took the class in school at Stanford and loved it. He recommended the book to me a few days ago and now you’ve recommended it too.

  • I would love to have this book – I just lost my job and have lost most of my self confidence. Unfortunately can’t afford to buy the book now but would love to have a copy to help me get back on track plus figure out if I want to seek positions in my regular line of work or seek out doing something new.
    Thank you,

  • Hi, I would like to redesign my life. I’m in the middle of figuring out what I want to do in life. It would be great if I can get some guidance in this book. Look forwards to read this book!

  • Looking towards the future I am starting to consider what my life in retirement will be, this sounds like a wonderful tool to help me re-design! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  • Hi! I’m excited and ready to design my life! So many of my life decisions were made based on what was the most practical at the time. I am ready to be more intentional about my life decisions, just need the guidance!

  • I’m excited to design my life. What I have been doing so far hasn’t been working for a long time. It’s time to fix that and make the rest of my life the one I want to live.

  • As a self-taught student of design thinking and human-centered design, I’m aiming to double down on using design frameworks to create a life I love. Very timely as I’m on the precipice of both a career pivot and entering my late twenties. Here’s to a great new adventure!

  • Hi! I am so SO ready and willing to design my life. I’m at the tail end of finishing an entire grad program in a year and I need to hit the ground running and get unstuck!

  • I am so intrigued! I am in the process of redesigning my life, as a mother of an 8 year old and a dance professional. Would love to read this!

  • Hi! Your post really resonated with me, particularly the part about over empathizing as a woman and solving other peoples problems. I’ve been there so many times! :) Currently, I have a business idea that would actually help me express my creativity in a healthy while serving others at the same time. I’m trying to decide if it is the right time to leap. This book sounds terrific! The business idea I have is in the creative realm as well so I think that the design perspective of the book is a perfect fit! Thanks so much for your post. :)

  • As a high school teacher and mother to a teenager about to set off in the world, and a toddler who is just about ready to start his own journey, this sounds like an essential read!

  • Hello, my name is Minerva, this book is an ideal opportunity to get some insight on a new beginning. I would love to share with a group of women all survivors of Dosmetic Violence as I am the oldest and been elected as a leader, it would help us a lot!

  • I’m getting ready to retire in January (early retirement at 62). I will be having knee surgery in January as well and my plan is to start an online business through etsy with my sister-in-law. My job will be sewing bags and pillows while my sister-in-law will be creating lampshades. I was supposed to start on the bags this year but found other “things” that took my focus away from the task. This book, and its academic approach, seems to be something I desperately need to help reign in my “creative self”, focus and get to work.

  • Hi! I’ve made some AWESOME changes to my life, and I am mow more than ready to start looking at a creative business venture. I’m currently reading “in the company of women”, and I think that this book would be an amazing tool to have in order to build the habits necessary for me to thrive both inside and outside my studio.

  • Hi! Very interesting take on personal life management. I’m a business consultant by profession and use problem solving in my job, but never considered I could apply it in my personal life. I’ve been down due to an ankle injury and a surgery for over 1.5yrs 1.5yrs still rehabilitating. Does this book suggest approaches to deal with bottlenecks.

  • Hi there! I’m so excited about this book. It seems like this is what I need now. I definietly have to take some steps to move forward with my life and this book will be very helpfull. I want to design my happy life!

  • I also heard about this book on The Diane Rehm Show! As a new mom, I’m both adjusting to my new reality and deciding what I’d like my life to look and feel like going forward. It sounds like this book could help make that process much easier.

  • Hello from a fan in British Columbia, Canada! I would love to read this book, as I have a couple of “pain points” that never resolve despite effort… interesting to try a design approach over a traditional therapy one. Thanks!

  • Hi Caitlin! I am ready, willing and excited to design my life. Professionally I’m an engineer but I’m always looking for outlets to be more creative, I’d love to apply that creativity to designing and living my life! <3

  • Hi! I would love to read this book. I have been feeling trapped in my life lately. Stuck on one path and not sure how to find another, or what I would even want that other path to look like. I’m also totally overextended thanks to graduate school and 3 littles.

  • Hi Caitlin, Thank you so much for recommending this book. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I have just finished (another) contract and am in two words, feeling stuck. I don’t want to feel stuck anymore and am ready to problem solve to get towards a life of fulfillment and happiness. Natalie

    • Oh good Natalie! I’m so, so glad.
      Do the mind map – you may be surprised where it leads you and then you can through the important process of testing things out for yourself and building on the positive experience you have. I once thought I wanted to leave NY and be a Kindergarten teacher. I spent a few days in the classroom observing and knew immediately that there was no way I truly wanted to do that. But it was that (and other moments of testing clarity) that led me to supporting, preserving and protecting creative businesses :)


  • I’d love to win this book! I heard about this course in the book “Essentialism” and thought it sounded amazing!

  • I would love to be entered to win. Although I’m so intrigued by it I might need to order it right away. But don’t worry, if that happens I’ll share the free copy with someone worthy!

  • The title is apropos to the stage my life is in right now. Just turned 47; trying to dig in a little deeper to find out who I am and what are my strengths and weaknesses as an individual, wife, mother of 3 very busy boys and a full time career. A great time to re-evaulate and work from a clean canvas! Thank you for your column.

  • Hi ! What a great column. The book sounds fantastic. I keep moving from place to place hoping to find the right space to do what I need to do is sit down somewhere and figure out what exactly it is that I need to do! I’d love to read this and hope that it would help put things in perspective for me!

  • Hi! Is it still possible to have one copy? I would love to have it! I’m just looking for my own way to have a business. I think this book can help me a lot!

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