Life Decisions – Use a Compass by Chris Asper, MBA


Imagine for a second that you had to drive somewhere you have never been. What would you use to get there? With today’s technology, you would most likely enter the address into a GPS or App on your smartphone. Within seconds, it would identify where you are, map the fastest route, and provide turn-by-turn instructions until you arrived at your destination.

But what would you use if you needed to steer the complexities of your own life? When you come across your own “fork in the road” what do you use as your own navigation system?

Recently, I came across a book called “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The book shows how design thinking can be used to help create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling. Their approach to making life decisions such as career is different from what I have learned. In business school, I was taught to think about where I want to be in five years and then reverse-engineer the directions to get there. In my own experience, life doesn’t seem to follow such a clear-cut path.

Instead, Burnett and Evans suggest building your own “north-star” because careers are more akin to sailing than they are to driving. In sailing, you rely on a compass as you never know how the winds will turn and have to play with whatever cards nature deals you to reach your destination.

One of the first exercises in their book is to create your own “compass” by writing two short documents called a Work View and a Life View. In the Work View, you are coming up with your own definition of what good work is by answering questions such as:  Why work? What’s work for? What defines good or worthwhile work? In the Life View, the questions are:  Why are we here? What is the meaning of life (as defined by you)?  What is the relationship between the individual and others?

From the short time I’ve made these two documents, it has helped me to make important decisions and get back on track. The truth about life is that we set goals and intentions, and as we do our best, we come across challenges and distractions that can derail us. To get back on track, particularly when a “map” hasn’t been created for your journey, what tool(s) do you find useful?

About Chris Asper:

Chris Asper is a Co-Active Life Coach based in the Greater Toronto Area. He draws on his extensive experience in corporate training, recruiting, and worldwide travel to help people discover their authentic selves and live meaningful lives. He recently completed his MBA from the Ivey Business School.

A big thank you to Chris for contributing to the “Live in the Moment” blog and our first guest blogger! You can connect with Chris on LinkedIn here.



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