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Mindful : February 2018
And what he learned in the process was that “making it up as you go along is actually the only thing that we have available to us. You just want to get really good at it. To be a competent person at winging it.” That’s particularly true in the shape-shifting world we live in today. “The only job we all know we’re going to need someday is the job of getting the next job,” he says. “ You could make the argument that life design is what life is. We’re all designing our life all the time.” All of this sounded fine for twentysomethings making their way into the workforce for the first time. But what about the rest of us? Would Bill and Dave’s life and vocational “wayfinding,” as they called it, work for someone stuck in a stifling midcareer job? Or, in my case, someone who had held big jobs in the media industry but was now searching for creative ways to find fulfillment in the next phase of my life? That was the question tugging at me as I walked onto the set of Bill and Dave’s online workshop at the CreativeLive studios in San Francisco. The diverse mix of participants was encouraging. At my table, for example, were two entrepreneurs in their 50s, Diane and Patty, who’d recently launched a tech startup targeting women re-entering the workplace, and three thirtysomethings: Matt, a project manager for a large construction firm; Louise, a freelance event planner who dreamed of starting her own media company; and Derek, an Iraq war veteran, busi- nessman, cartoonist, and all-around free spirit. To kick things off, Burnett proposed that it was time to reframe the age-old question: What do you want to do when you grow up? The real issue, he said, was: What do you want to grow into next? In Burnett’s view, one of the most common obstacles people face trying to make that leap is the widespread “dysfunctional belief ” that once you find your “true passion,” everything else will magically fall into place. But research by Stanford’s Center for Adolescence shows that only 20% of people age 18 to 26 have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish in life and why. For most of us, Burnett observed, “Pas- sion is an end-product. You discover passion by working hard on something. If you have a pas- sion, that’s great. But this passion thing leaves eight out of 10 people out of the conversation.” Another motivation killer is the idea that if you haven’t figured out your life by a certain point in time, you’re already too late. “That’s → For most of us, “passion is an end- product. You discover passion by working hard on something.”