Reframing has been on my mind recently. It’s a powerful tool for stimulating ideas and changing your thinking and approaches in all aspects of your life.

In the fabulous resource, Designing Your Life—How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans apply their deep experience in design thinking to identifying encore careers. A big part of their work involves reframing problems in ways that open up opportunities.

The One Question that Might Free You To Find Your Encore Career:

My favorite reframe in their book is:

Old Frame: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Reframe: “Who or what do you want to grow into?”

Pause right here and think about the difference between those two questions.

The old frame induces stress as you struggle even to comprehend how you might figure out the answer to this question. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is practically a cliché carrying a negative connotation. You might say, “I’m not sure I know what I want to be when I grow up,” with a shrug of your shoulders with the implied meaning, “What’s the point?”

The Question is Liberating When It Comes to Career Thinking:

The reframe, “Who or what do you want to grow into?” is exciting and at least for me, immediately stimulates ideas I can serve up for consideration. It’s less intimidating than solving for the lifetime role and challenges me to think about a tangible next driven by what I’m feeling now.

The reframe is a great prompter for a burst of mind mapping that might just help uncover what’s important for you now.

And perhaps most important of all, the question, “Who or what do you want to grow into?”gives you permission you to recognize you can keep growing. You don’t have to get it perfect the first time. Or, the next time. Or, even the time after that.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

It’s liberating to accept there’s not just one right answer for you at any given point in time, and there’s not only one correct answer for you for your lifetime. There are many versions of you waiting to be created. Of course, “waiting to be created” is the operative phrase. It’s up to you to translate the answer to, “Who or what do you want to grow into?” to a list of wild ideas and exciting explorations that just might fit, and then to pick one or three or six to try on for size. It’s a journey of exploration.

Art's Signature