We hope that you enjoyed our discussion with Professors Bridgette Carr and Vivek Sankaran. If you'd like to give the LawView, LifeView, and Journey Mapping exercises a try for yourself, the information for each of those exercises is included below. Courtesy of Bridgette and Vivek. Learn more about the Designing a Fulfilling Life in the Law course at University of Michigan School of Law and about Bridgette and Vivek's consulting business LawLifeProfs. Many thanks to Bridgette and Vivek for allowing us to share these exercises with our listeners!
Write your LawView (150 words)
Since the average person will spend 90,000 hours (or a third of their life) at work, it’s important to reflect why we do it and what we’re looking for. Research by Martin Seligman has shown that people who make an explicit connection between their understanding of work in general, and a job or role in particular, are more likely to find satisfaction and meaning in their work and are more enabled to confront the challenges that come with working. Your LawView will give you a chance to do this. In it, address what work means to you, and the role that the law plays in your conception of work. It is not just a list of what you want from or out of work, but a general statement of your view of work. Your LawView might address such questions as: Why do you work? What meaning – if any – do you want to derive out of work? Are you looking for a job, a career, or a calling? What defines good or worthwhile work? What role does money play in work? What role does the law have to play in work? What does experience, growth, fulfillment have to do with it? What kind of work environment are you looking for? Ideally, what kind of hours do you want to work? This is your reflection so feel free to address these or any other issues important to your understanding of work. And feel free to define “work” in any way you want to. It might extend beyond a specific job, and might include things you do on the side in addition to your job.
Your LifeView is an opportunity for you to tell us (in 150-300 words) “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Each of us has different approaches to this question and what our ideal life might look like. Below are some of the things that arise when mulling over this question. When reflecting, think about what matters to you the most, those things that create the foundation to interpret and organize how you see and understand the world and assign order (or disorder) to it. Your LifeView is that which provides you with guidance as to why you are here and what you intend to do. You may wish to consider the following questions:
- Why are you here?
- What is the meaning/purpose of life and death?
- What is the relationship between you, your family, your community and the broader world?
- What is good or worthwhile to do?
- Is there a higher power, transcendency, God and if so - of what nature and to what import for your life?
- When you reflect back on your life, what will you be most proud of? Why?
- What impact do you want to leave on the world?
Journey Mapping - Choose Your Own Adventure
We’d like you to start brainstorming future possibilities for yourself. Frequently, these possibilities are found in your “sweet spots,” that are places where your values, strengths and interests intersect. Theologian Frederick Buechner describes the spot as the place “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Think of this as that place that civil rights activist Howard Thurman describes as the one that “makes you come alive.”
This assignment has two parts.
The first is a free-writing assignment where you will jot down your strengths, your interests and what you want out of a job/project. Set your timer for 5 minutes (for each of the three categories) and use the following prompts to help spark your thoughts. Just keep writing. Then after five minutes, move on to the next category.
- What are your unique gifts: skills, abilities, knowledge and connections, or everything else that you bring to the table?
- What are your unique skills or knowledge?
- What experiences have you had gave you unique skills and insights?
- What were those insights?
- What social/interpersonal/cultural situations or dynamics do you excel in?
- What communication strengths do you have?
- Do you speak another language?
- Excel at visual representation of information?
- Communicate with individuals at various levels of authority?
- What did you learn from the neighborhood/community you grew up in? Are there things you can navigate (transportation, community resources, etc) that others may not know? What groups or individuals do you know well or have unique access to? What education, traditional or non-traditional, perhaps from a neighbor or uncle, do you have? For instance, maybe you are really good at and know how to balance a checkbook/finances because your economic situation depended on it What have you learned for your jobs; things you would put on a resume and things you wouldn’t? What are the three things that your best friends, a parent or guardian, and a mentor or teacher would agree you are best at? What is your role in groups—whether you are with your friends, your family, or your peers? Are you usually the pragmatist? The entertainer? The organizer? Imagine that when you leave this session, you receive two emails— a personal and professional email, both asking something of you. What are these people asking of you? What do they see you as an expert in?
Take a few moments to jot down any other skills, abilities, knowledge, connections, or anything else you uniquely bring to the table, especially items you think set you apart from your peer group
- What are the ideas, issues and people that move you?
- When you think of issues that move you, what comes to mind?
- What do you care about in the news?
- What are social/environmental inequities that you ache to see solved?
- What issues do you care about based on your own intersecting identities?
- What are challenges in your community/family you want to address?
- What successes are in your community that you want to see continue and would be excited to become involved in?
- When you think of what is inequitable in the world, what comes to mind?
- What makes you proud to be on the planet?
- If an alien dropped in from outer space, what would you most want to show them or explain to them?
- What parts of our world hurt your heart?
- What issues or ideas make your heart beat faster, whether because you are so deeply compelled by them, because you are angered by them, or because you are overjoyed by them?
- What is the primary topic of the articles you always read, and the movies, books, and TV shows to which you are most attracted?
- When have you seen injustice?
- What would you do if money/prestige were no object?
- What would you pay to learn?
- What other issues or ideas move you or are you drawn to?
- Add any final thoughts
Work/Project Environment -
- What do you want out of a job/project?
- Think about a job or experience you absolutely loved. Why did you enjoy it?
- List the things that made it fun.
- What parts of your workview are most important to you in a job?
- What kind of work environment are you looking for?
- What kind of hours would you like to work? Set hours? Flexible?
- What type of colleagues do you want?
- Would you prefer to work alone, or on a team?
- How much collaboration do you want in your job?
- Would you want to work in an office, or at home?
Part II Look over your three lists, and start thinking of “sweet spots” where you might be able to combine things on each list to create jobs/projects/experience that bring you alive. Do this to get your creative juices flowing. Next, we want you to map out three distinct future adventures.
Adventure 1: “That Thing You’re On The Path To Do”: the plan that most easily comes to mind, that idea you have been nursing for some time.
Adventure 2: “The Thing You'd Do if Adventure One Were Suddenly Gone.” You MUST make a living doing something other than that thing you have always thought about doing. This adventure must be dramatically different from # 1
Adventure 3: “The Thing You'd Do If Money, Image Or Prestige Were No Object” We’d like you to write about each adventure and what they might look like.
For each, come up with a title, a detailed description, questions you have about the adventure, how it relates to your values, constraints you might face, and next steps you can take to explore it. We’ve attached a worksheet you can use as well (if it’s helpful). We look forward to seeing what you come up with.