Why Designing Your Life and Career Might Be Less Daunting Than You Think

By: Jonathan Kalan, Unsettled Co-founder

Lifestyle Design”. “Career Design”. If you’ve been paying attention to the world of personal and professional development these days (perhaps you’ve been secretly planning to quit your job, or looking for a career with more meaning?), you’re bound to have come across these terms. They feel heavy. Daunting. Intense. Like a shitload of work that you’ll have to do, when you still might not know exactly what you’re looking for, and how you want to design it. 

We understand. There’s a simpler way to look at it we’d like to share, and it’s the root of how we approach our experiences and our new Lifestyle Incubator program

Ultimately, the question most of us face is how do we design our lives to serve that ideal personal vision we have of our future? A life that aligns our values, skills, and interests into one symmetrical feeling of, “ah, this is what I’ve been seeking!” In our experience, it’s more attainable than you may think. We see it every day at Unsettled, in the thousands of participants who join us on our retreats and in the work that they continue to do to build the lifestyles and careers they are pursuing. 

If you boil it down to its most essential element, the “design” element of career and lifestyle comes down to the choices you make, big and small, each and every day. Each choice puts us on a certain trajectory – a path of a future vision of ourselves. If we’re unintentional about those choices, then our trajectory can feel a bit like a balloon when you let out all the air – flailing all over the place. Yet when we can be more intentional about those choices, and have a grounded reason for making them, we can surprise ourselves by how much we can control our work and life trajectories. To us, this grounding comes from a deeper understanding of our values, our non-negotiables, what truly makes us feel alive, and how we can design around those things. The Unsettled’s Lifestyle Incubator has been created to help us do just that. 

Our Lifestyle Incubator is the first ever “virtual retreat” (a fully online, peer-to-peer experience) that focuses on 3 essential themes that we believe are paramount in redirecting your life toward one of deeper meaning and personal intention, one that is designed and cultivated by you and for you. 

The themes that we explore to redesign your life framework are: 

1. Radical Self-Awareness

Our desire for change is often rooted in an evolving definition of ourselves. Something has changed, and in doing so has shifted our personal frameworks, priorities, and even definitions of success. Extensive self-awareness and a process of radical self-discovery leads to better alignment between our work lives and our lifestyles. Being radically aware of your interests, values, and lifestyle preferences will have a direct impact on how you will define and shape your transition.

In this retreat, we will practice self-assessment of our values, interests, lifestyle preferences, and work style. When we understand that the only constant in life is change itself, we need to learn the tools to cultivate and practice a constant sense of self-awareness around our decision making, and flex this skillset not just during periods of transition, but also throughout our lives.

2. Lifestyle & Career Design 

It should come as no surprise that at Unsettled we believe our careers should support and enhance our lifestyles. We do not see a separation between work and life. There is no “work/life balance” to be sought, only integration of our careers into our lives so that they serve the same end. An integrated answer to the question, ‘What do you want out of your one short life on this planet?’ 

We often think our lives our defined by the major decisions. Yet true momentum is built one choice and one decision at a time. With a seemingly infinite realm of opportunities and decisions we face each day, all decisions benefit from being guided by a sense of purpose; a blueprint of how to get what you want out of life.

To be intentional about our choices is to take control of our lives. Like most things with lasting value, to build anything requires that you have a vision, a design, and a plan for how you will build it.

3. Experimentation & Practice

When we say “life is an experiment” we mean it in the truest sense. Yet it’s not a series of random experiments; It’s an experiment within your life’s vision. A process of trial and error, discovery and reflection, we must go through before understanding what works for us.  

You will learn our approach of how to conduct small experiments, throughout life, anytime you are asking, “What’s next for me?”. How to track your progress, stay on course, evaluate decisions, and make micro-adjustments when necessary. The trick is to formulate the right questions and to have a bias towards action. 

When you finish this final unit, you will know more about what you want (self-awareness), have a plan laid out for how you will get there (lifestyle design), and a totally new approach for taking small steps that can get closer and closer to what’s next for you. 

You are the leader you have been waiting for. We are just here to help you dive deeper and gain the tools to redefine, with intention, what is next for you. Join us!

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Unsettled is a global travel community for those who embrace the unknown and value meaningful human connection. Our mission is to inspire a lifelong pursuit of growth, meaning, and adventure through travel and shared experiences.


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