Designing Yourself

At some point along the way, I realized I was putting so much energy into growing my business that I was stunting my own growth. All of the decisions I made were to benefit the work, not the woman. I’ve designed hundreds of digital experiences, I’ve designed dozens of organizational experiences, but what effort have I put into designing my life experience?

A year ago I decided that I wanted to make a change, a drastic change. Regardless of whatever financial success and stature I had achieved, I didn’t feel whole. I wasn’t sure if I’d lost it or if I never had it. And I wasn’t really sure what was missing, but I was determined to find out.

It’s been a long journey, the most challenging and rewarding year of my life. I live in a new town, have a very different lifestyle, and am adapting my business to allow for much greater balance. And it’s just beginning. For the first time, I’m doing it all on purpose. I am actively, presently designing myself.

Like with any design project, this isn’t the kind of thing you can do alone. It is only possible with the support of friends and partners.

I’m proud to call Paul McAleer one of those special people. We met initially via Twitter and shared a few back-and-forths, but it was only in April of this year that we met face-to-face at the IA Summit in Baltimore. From the moment we were in each other’s presence, we seemed to connect instantly. We were thinking about the same things, desperate to make the same kind of changes, and eager to share our stories with one another.

It began with a few phone calls, but we soon realized that what we were sharing privately with one another could have a much greater impact if we could overcome the trepidation to share it publicly. The topics of our conversations were about the human condition, and the personal progress we crave is universal.

So we’ve started a podcast. The very first podcast for either of us, but we’re figuring it out. We have two episodes live so far. We’re aiming to post one a week or every other week, as life demands. They’re an hour-long and unedited. Just an eavesdrop into the conversations we’d be having if no one were listening. And we’ve called it Designing Yourself.

If you are so inclined, please have a listen and share your thoughts with us. We are always open to feedback on format and suggestions on topics. And please, if anything we say makes you think, care, act, worry or feel in any way, will you let us know? We love connection.

Thank you to Paul for all of the tireless work he has put into this. And thank you to you all for helping us along the way. Namaste.

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  1. says

    I love the phrase ‘Too much future’, what a great way to address anxiety. I use the idea of the ‘eternal now’ in parenting. Without it I would drive myself crazy worrying about what needs to happen, or worse, what might happen. That worry prevents me from actually enjoying the present moment with my children (and from actually ‘parenting’). In some ways, being a parent has forced me to embrace the present because the alternative, worry for the future, is far too scary.

    And there is a great deal of joy in the ‘eternal now’ with my children.

    • Emily E Sapp says

      I agree, John. I just had my first baby last September and the book Buddhism for Mothers has been a lifesaver. I knew parenthood would push me into better personhood, but it’s surprised me just how much. If you want to actually enjoy your children, you have to get all zen about things. There is just too much to panic about. In a way, I’m so thankful for that. I think I used to do a pretty good job about worrying about everything—now I’ve given up!

      • says

        Thanks Emily. ‘Buddhism for Mothers’ looks really interesting. Based on it, Amazon recommends ‘Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children’ too. After a response on Twitter, I started thinking about how children stop being ‘mindful’, so this looks interesting too.

        My wife and I practice attachment, non-violent parenting. There are quite a few similarities in the three approaches.

    • says

      Such such an incredible insight, John.

      The living in the future angle is both amazing and not for me. On the one hand, I can’t wait to see how my son will grow up – what kind of person will he become? What will he be in to? What will he geek out about? On the other hand, he’s in front of me now as a 3 1/2 year old, playing cars and having fun. I can’t worry about what will or won’t happen. He is able to express his needs extremely well in many cases, and I totally admire that in him. I don’t want him to lose that!

  2. says

    Hey Whitney, this post really resonates with me. Congrats on taking such a big step. I know you have tons to give, can’t wait to go listen to your podcasts! Thanks for the continuing solo-career bravery, it’s inspiring.


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