The launch of the book, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans – professors at Stanford University has empowered professionals to use the design thinking process to intentionally create meaningful careers.

As a career & executive coach, I have been using this process with great success serving clients interested in being a designer in their career satisfaction and not a bystander. Here are the basic elements of design thinking through a career development lens.

Start by being curious since this primes your brain for new things and opens you up to the possibilities.

Empathize – you are the end user when designing your career so take the time to consider what really matters to you. Reflect on your values, interests, and strengths and why you want to engage in a new career opportunity.

Define – take time to consider what you really need to be happy, successful and empowered in your career. Define this new career world in a way that honors you and not the cultural expectations that may surface.

Ideate – come up with as many creative solutions as possible. Wild ideas are encouraged so don’t limit yourself or be hampered by perceived obstacles. Brainstorm with reckless abandon.

Prototype – this creative phase of the process allows you to try things out. These are rough drafts and need not be fully fleshed out. Try as many things as you can and consider job shadowing, informational interviews, and volunteering as ways to test-drive.

Test – share your prototyped ideas with a trusted source and seek feedback. What worked? What didn’t? How has this experience informed what you want to do next?

Design thinkers reframe problems that can cause roadblocks or procrastination. The reframe allows you to look at scenarios in a new light and come up with solutions or work-arounds. Identify your trusted advisors in this process and ask for help. This open approach with feedback and prototyping is part of the learning process. Design thinking has a bias to action. Focusing on the process will allow you to gain something valuable from every iteration – whether good or bad.

You have tremendous power to create the life and career you want to live and design thinking is a process with distinct skills that empower you to transform.