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Spark Your Creativity: The Power of Ideation in Designing Your Life

drawing of brain with left side in black and white and right side in color

In a previous article, I showcased the "Define Story" stage of Design Your Life (DYL), where you crafted a vision for your ideal future. In this article I want to dive into the exciting world of "Ideation" - the brainstorming phase where you unlock a universe of possibilities!

Why Ideate?

Ideation is the playground of DYL. It's where you break free from limitations and generate a multitude of creative solutions to bridge the gap between your current reality and your dream life. This abundance of ideas fuels the next stage of DYL: prototyping.

Think: Quantity over quality of ideas at this point (don’t worry, there will be time to evaluate your ideas - just not now.  Hold tight.).

Who Can Help You Ideate?

  • Your Inner Circle: Bounce ideas off trusted friends and family. Their perspectives can spark new avenues you might have yet to consider.  I remember being in a mastermind group before I went full-time with Orange Slice. This included about 6 other entrepreneurs I met at an event.  We all were looking at building our businesses to get to the “next level.” This inner circle helped me with my ideas and challenges and allowed me to find inspiration from what they were taking on in their business, too. 

  • Experts and Mentors: Seek guidance from professionals in your desired field or life coaches who can provide valuable insights and resources. I invested significant money and time in July 2011 when I hired a business coach.  We had a weekend of plotting and planning what Orange Slice could be, what the revenue streams and products I’d focus my energy around, and anchored in on the “why” behind it all.  I created what was known as my “freedom plan.” Since apropos since it was the July 4th weekend.  And every July 4th since that weekend I look back and am thankful for the gift this coach gave me.  (BTW…the investment paid off 10-fold in the first year! I don’t share this to impress you, but to impress upon you the value a mentor or coach might have for you.) 

  • The "Unexpected Network": Connect with people from diverse backgrounds. Their experiences can introduce you to new possibilities.  The first mastermind group I was involved with consisted of two advertising execs, a recruiting professional, an IBM analyst, and me.  At the time I was working in Higher Education. The idea of Orange Slice Training hadn’t even been hatched.  These were a very uncommon and unexpected crew of folks to be connected to. 

Experiments to Fuel Your Prototype:

  • Life Interviews: Talk to people in your target field to learn about their day-to-day lives and challenges. When I first thought of leaving teaching in early 2019 I started to talk to people. LOTS of people to see what LIFE might be like to go back into an organization doing leadership development.  These conversations + connections helped me understand more fully the organizations and the work I wanted to pursue. 

  • Shadowing: Spend time observing someone in your dream career to gain firsthand experience. I’ll be honest, at almost 55 I’ve not done this.  Heck, I didn’t even have an internship when I was in college.  But, I “shadowed” my former coach and volunteered to help at events they put on.  This did give me a glimpse into what that work was like. It might even be the reason I haven’t pursued to the whole “live event” space yet.  That seems like a lot of work. A lot of hustle. Not quite sure that’s where I want to be putting my efforts + energy.  So, glad to know this - so I can be interested in other things! 

  • Volunteer Work: Test the waters of a new field by volunteering at an organization that aligns with your interests. Early on in my career, as I began Orange Slice Training + Coaching I volunteered my own time to some organizations to get a chance to work with them.  They were typically in the non-profit space or even some professional associations.  It’s a bit of a different twist to the idea of volunteering - but I had something to give, and I was just getting started. Learning.  And that’s what volunteering can do for you.  It’s like a Learning Lab.  Try it on. See if it fits.  ew

Embrace the Power of "What If?"

Don't be afraid to ask "What If?" questions during ideation. What if you took a class? What if you started a side hustle? Explore all possibilities, no matter how unconventional they may seem.

Remember: The goal isn't to find the perfect idea, but to generate a variety of options that will inform your next steps - prototyping!

So get creative, explore different paths, and keep moving forward in designing a life that ignites your passion. If you want a partner by your side check out my DYL Coaching Programs where I walk you through the process and provide you the opportunity to have that one-on-one coaching and support that just might catapult you to the next chapter of your life.

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