Designing a Purposeful Life

...and Achieving “Work-Family Balance” Over Time

By Soyeon Shim | Photography by Hillary Schave

Many Americans—as many as two thirds in fact—indicate they are in careers they don’t find meaningful. Others also feel that it’s too late to change or that the time, effort and money spent to acquire a college degree in a particular field has limited their professional options.

But the idea that your college degree determines your career is a “dysfunctional belief,” according to Bill Burnette and Dave Evans. And in response to their book Designing Your Life, reviewers have found their advice to be “rejuvenating” and “a joyful approach” to figuring out what you want to do in life.

In my keynote address at the 2018 THRIVE Conference, I present the “5-step Stanford Design-Thinking” process that Burnette and Evans adapted and critically apply to career building and problem solving—both inherent to crafting a successful and fulfilling life. I’ll explain how their process helped me review my life and gain the perspective I needed to define my purpose; develop my dashboard strategy; then select and rank the tactics I will use to achieve happiness and meaning in the next stage of life. I’ll also share how my dashboard strategy has already helped me reach important decisions—and maintain the confidence to see them through.

Too many times, when a crisis strikes, we lose faith in ourselves and let others take control. Yet that needn’t be the case once you’ve defined core values and fully understand what gives meaning to your life.

Join us at this year’s conference on April 27 to hear Shim’s keynote address “Design (and Build) Your Life.” For more info and to register, visit

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