The Art of Breaking Out with Craig McBreen







June 2018
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


My guest today is Ayse (Aishé) Birsel. She's an award-winning designer, teacher, speaker and author of Design the Life You Love. We spend most of this interview discussing the book, but we also get into Ayse's journey, design practice, and creative process.

Her book, Design The Life You Love, is an illustrative workbook crafted for those looking to reinvent themselves… to break out.

If you go through her process, you start to truly think through your past, have more awareness of your present, and most importantly, you start building the raw material you need to design the life you love.

In a nutshell, Ayse's book is one that teaches you to assess your life, toss out the undesirable elements of it, and add in the things that light you up.

Her creative presence is always there, telling you—in a fun, illustrative fashion—to be the architect of your own vision. To look forward, seek something more, but do it in a pragmatic way. In other words, it's a very creative and inspirational book. But it is also practical with a unique and effective approach to laying out the life you want to live.

There is also a bit of motivation thrown in… Ayse suggests that living a life true to your values will never happen by sitting still and dreaming. You must detail what you wish for and aspire to, map out those desires, and take actionable baby steps to see achieve those goals.

So, we go into great detail about the book and the workshops the book is built upon. And we discuss her workshops—how and why she started the classes, how intimidating those initial steps were, and how they led to the book.

We discuss in detail some of her main sections—deconstruction, point of view, reconstruction and expression. I personally love her heroes exercise and our discussion of the importance of metaphor—for your life today and for a life you imagine. And actress Greta Gerwig's baseball analogy…

"Whenever I have trouble writing, I think about the pace of baseball. It’s slow. You strike out a lot, even if you’re great. It’s mostly individual, but when you have to work together, it must be perfect. My desktop picture is of the Red Sox during the World Series. They aren’t winning; they’re just grinding out another play. This, for me, is very helpful to have in my mind while writing."

You know me and the power of incremental baby steps to change. So I naturally love this quote. And I'm pretty certain you'll love what Ayse has to say, especially if you're at a crossroads, are looking to reinvent yourself, or simply want to a personal brand that truly reflects what you are all about.

Questions I Ask:

  • What sparked you to write Design the Life you Love?
  • How long was the planning to writing process? How many iterations were there? And how painful was the process?
  • How does a non-designer learn to think like a designer?
  • You write about constraints in your book. Can you talk about typical constraints and what that means to someone looking for major life change
  • What do you think about the "Do what you love and the rest will follow" message?
  • What habits keep your creative engine running?
  • What role do values play in the process of design and reinvention?
  • When your life goes out of whack, what do you do to bring yourself back?
  • What new things have you discovered about yourself through this process?
  • What is your first bit of advice for someone looking to change their life?

What You Will Learn:

  • She designed the world's most comfortable toilet seat (and is affectionately known as the Toilet Queen).
  • The concept of Money never figures into her student's reconstruction maps.
  • How learning to think like a designer can profoundly change your life.
  • Doing what you love is only one little criteria for designing a life you love.
  • The Amazing power of warming up with playful illustration.
  • Values are what sustain you through designing the life you love.
  • We get into a discussion of her Chicken Soup analogy to deconstruction, reconstruction.
  • If you can make constraints live together, you can create uncommon value. And this is when breakthroughs happen.
  • For most of her students, it only takes 2 pages to deconstruct their life!
  • Deconstruction—seeing your life as building blocks–can be a powerful way to map out your life.
  • Ayse's friend Casey Gerald told her that when he was a kid and people would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d say, “Myself!”

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Direct download: Episode_33How_to_Design_the_Life_You_Love_with_Ayse_Birsel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm PDT