Alexandra Regan was part of our second virtual workshop community and shares her experience after participating in the January 2021 one-month virtual journey. Before the workshop, Alexandra wanted to add decision making to her tool kit in order to move forward and not be stuck in a myriad of possibilities. One outcome of the virtual workshop is the conviction that community and radical collaboration are hugely helpful as women support each other in making changes in their lives. Another is the realization that we need that community to continue to hold us accountable over time.
I was in a very uncomfortable place when I began the “Designing Your Life for Women” virtual journey. Like so many others, due to the pandemic I was furloughed from my job with lots of time on my hands.
Prior to the pandemic I was mostly enjoying my work. It was varied and unique, and in a field I find interesting. However, being furloughed forced me to face the part of myself that has, and always has had a bit of career FOMO (fear of missing out). After furlough, I found myself faced with the same myriad of career options I always returned to. As long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with career (and life) possibilities. Often, I would start down one path and immediately find myself questioning that decision or spending my time dreaming of the alternatives. This lack of commitment haunts me whenever things get a bit too safe or on the flip side…really uncomfortable. In the midst of career uncertainty and a global pandemic, I found myself trying desperately to analyze and think my way through my next career move.
A few years back, a friend gave me the book “Designing Your Life, How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The concepts were fascinating, fun to explore and the tools helpful, but I never finished the book. While I found a bit of relief from the merry-go-round in my head, I was ultimately still stuck. In the desperation I felt in the spring of 2020, I sought out their website again and found the DYL for Women One Month Virtual Journey. I knew I needed some sort of structure and bought the ticket without hesitation.
I could detail many ways this journey changed my life, but I will focus on three:
1. Life design with an amazing community of women. I was blown away by the amount of support and validation I received in the first breakout session. Spending too much time trying to figure things out in my head had left me feeling alone in my struggle. I was wrong. Women in all phases of life and from varying backgrounds were feeling the same nagging “what’s next?” or “is this really it?”. We learned how to engage in a “radical collaboration mindset”, and I have since developed and maintained a group of women I am in contact with weekly or monthly. A small group of us are even working through aspects of the program all over again!
2. Odyssey Planning in Community When the facilitators of DYL for women instructed us to choose three life plans, I was stumped. As you might expect, I wanted fifty life plans. Being forced to narrow down and then share each one in a small group led to realizations that never would have revealed themselves without this course. I learned valuable tools about decision making and the power of speaking out loud what would normally have remained stuck.
3. Prototyping with a Bias to Action I used the insights from Odyssey Planning and Energy Mapping to direct my next steps — staying in my current field of wellness but incorporating teaching, which gives me energy and brings me into a state of flow. While I still don’t know exactly what that looks like, I now have the tools, thanks to this workshop, to prototype potential life plans and continue moving forward. It’s all about trying things out, learning, and refining my prototypes.
As women, I believe it can be hard to invest in ourselves. I know I felt guilty for not using the money for something that would be of service to others. I now see that giving myself the gift of this month-long immersion to explore my life path has ripple effects that will benefit not only my personal growth but those around me.