Weekly Wayfinder – April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018.jpg

Welcome to the Weekly Wayfinder, a curated list of wayfinding-related inspiration, ideas, activities and fun stuff to click on and learn from. 

WHAT WE’RE READING: Getting comfortable with ambiguity (great tips whether you’re a designer or a job seeker).
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO: Be the architect of your own work.
WHAT WE’RE PLAYING WITH: Creating Untouchable Days.
WHAT WE’RE CURIOUS ABOUT: 5 counterintuitive lessons from 5 very creative and successful people.
WHAT WE’RE TRYING: Morning pages
THIS WEEK’S MANTRA: What does it mean to live a good life?

I’ve got some lofty, big questions swirling around in my head this week - chief among them this one about living a good life. While our individual definitions may be different, I’d argue that universally we’re all searching for that one, singular answer.

Work, relationships, money, purpose, learning – these elements and many others might make your definition of a good life. Jonathan Fields from Good Life Project talks about Vitality, Connection and Contribution as the components he believes make up a good life, and in his podcast each week he asks his guests what their definitions are.

Back in August 2017, as I was walking around the Portland airport waiting for a red-eye flight, I listened to Jonathan’s interview with Liz Dolan, former head of marketing for Nike, as she answered the question. For whatever reason, this week I chose to listen to it again.

How does Liz Dolan define a good life? Choice. 

The way Liz sees it, living a good life means being able to make the choices you want to make. To choose to be brave and bold when you’re ready to forge ahead, and also to choose to stay put or maintain status quo when you’re not interested in or capable of shifting or changing. 

This theme of choice popped up time and again for me this week, and it got me thinking. Sure, choice sounds like a good thing, and generally I think it is. But having a choice and taking action to live that choice are two very different things. Where the rubber meets the road is in the hard work of putting that choice into motion: applying to that job out of state, raising your hand to take on a new project, saying yes to a first date, deciding to try for a baby.

There’s another, somewhat nuanced element of taking action on a choice that’s tough, and it has to do with the public declaration of the decision. Very rarely do we make a choice quietly; rather, most of our life choices eventually become public: moving cross country for that job, doing the tough work in front of your coworkers, becoming ‘Facebook-official’ in your new relationship, even showing off your new pregnant belly. 

In re-listening to Liz’s interview, I was struck by how she seemed to make choices – especially unconventional ones – over and over again, seemingly without any concern about what other people would think or how they would react. How confident and self-assured she sounded to me. 

For everyone in need of a dose of courage this week, Liz Dolan is a surprising and inspiring model for how we might all listen to our hearts and act on the choices we want for ourselves. After all, we only have this one life to live, and we want it to be a good one, right?

What choices does your heart say it’s time to take action on?