As many have paused during this interruption of routine and are reflecting on how they want their world to look in the days ahead, a simple framework from design firm IDEO may prove helpful.


In an IDEO podcast, Bill Burnett suggests that you sort all of your activities into one of three categories: how you make money, how you gain meaning/impact and how you find expression. This “maker mix” goes beyond your job to look at the multiple components of life and allows you to design a target to achieve the mix you’d like.


For example, maybe you have a job you don’t love, but it provides the income so you derive your meaning or impact from youth coaching and you express yourself through your hobby. Perhaps you have a job you love that doesn’t pay well but it provides meaning so you supplement your income through your expression and selling your craft. Or maybe your job provides the income, your family the impact and your hobby is what fuels you.


Burnett suggests that you look at where you mix is now and compare it to where you’d like it to be, then take tiny steps to move in that direction through developing relationships, trying things (called prototyping in IDEO lingo) and becoming a great storyteller about your value.


We too often rely on one job to provide income, meaning and expression but maybe we would be happier if we gained those components from different facets of our life. Identify the components of your mix today and spend some time reflecting on whether it’s time for a change. What’s one thing you can do now to start the shift?


Listen to the 45-minute podcast here.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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