Design for life

Like everyone else, I get a lot of ‘stuff’ coming through the letter box – leaflets for this and that, the parish magazine, the county newsletter telling me what they’ve spent my money on (ahem, fancy newsletters for one!), and all those catalogues from companies of which I was once a customer.

Photo © Marie Buyens, Flickr CC

Photo © Marie Buyens, Flickr CC

They mostly go straight in the bin unopened. But this week I had one from John Lewis – their ‘design’ brochure – and it did catch my eye.

The cover is attractive, and I congratulate their graphic designers, because the 'look and feel' stop me from consigning it to the bin. I even opened it.

Inside were lots of those lovely things, displayed beautifully, that one day I might get round to buying, and I’ve actually kept the brochure.

So that got me thinking. Why have I kept it? Why did I even open it?

Good design draws us in

It's because it had real visual appeal, as well as being a trusted brand. And I realise the same applies for the new car I bought last month – a Citroen DS3 Design plus. I've long been a Citroen fan, but more than anything the design really appealed. It’s grey with a maroon roof. The seats are in maroon leather. The dashboard is glossy, sleek, and very easy to read. Apart from all that, the controls are completely familiar, and I love it. Once the weather improves, I shall drive round with the windows open and loud music playing - I never got to do that when I was eighteen!

So again, I’ve been attracted by design. And the relevance of all this, you may be thinking? Well, it’s about taking that attraction and applying it to business and life. How many of us consciously do that?

Designing your business – and your life as a whole – is a very conscious thing to do. It's intentional. Some find the idea scary, but if we don’t design, then at best we just respond, drift, and don’t get what we want.

Life by design

Do you find that happens to you, particularly in business? Your diary gets filled by projects and deadlines, and you go along to networking events that you probably don’t need to attend? You take on tasks that aren’t really your passion... you fiddle with easy admin bits and pieces, and feel soothed. But you know you haven’t tackled the big things. The design, the plan, the strategy - the intention for your day, your month, your year.

Designing your work life isn’t quite the same as putting goals in place. Its about more than that – taking into account your values, matching them with what you really want to do; and taking into account your home life – where you want to live, for example. It's as fundamental as designing, intentionally, what you want to do for a living.

Me? I’ve got a yen to live by the water, and I will get there because it’s a deep-seated belief that this will support me in other things. And that’s a relatively easy thing to design in.

Wouldn’t you like to have a ‘design for life’? A blueprint? After all, it is spring. Time to think afresh, and time to take into account the design that will benefit you; not just in your possessions – although they're undoubtedly lovely – but in your work, and your life as a whole.

I’ve found the 'design' process really helpful and inspiring; the 'drawing' phase I've gone through with my own coach is thought provoking, taking me to ideas and places that I really didn’t have at the front of my mind. And the goal setting comes next – that’s where you can get concrete and focused, narrow things down so you have specific steps to follow that will take you there.

How have you designed your business?

Have you ever gone back to the drawing board - literally or metaphorically - and thought about how you'd like your life and business to fit together? What did you find? How do you think approaching your business with a view to its overall design could shift your perspective on your task list this week, or today? Let us know in the comments. 

Finding your blueprint

I have to say, going through the design process - be it for business, or life - is much easier with a guide; they provide a prompt, and new ideas to really test your thinking. And that's where Hello Potential can step in. We’ve had great feedback from clients who’ve really appreciated a re-think. They get huge value from the challenges we pose.

If you would like that support and challenge, a Clarity Session could be just what you're after. Click here to find out more. Imagine: this time next week, your design could be coming to life. 

PS: Spread the word

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This post is part of our Vintage Lyn Bicker series - powerful strategies drawn from decades of experience that form the foundation of our business.