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What is Life Model Design?

We already use design to create great products, now it’s time to use design to create a great lives.
— Ayori Selassie, Creator of Life Model Design
Life Model Design Process by Ayori Selassie

Empathy

The core of Life Model Design is a foundation of self-care and the recognition that a good life requires a healthy set of maintenance practices for the mind and body. Empathy is the glue that holds these practices together. Life Model Design recognize the importance of rewards, reflection, and relaxation to creating healthy life habits and routines. Retaining practices enable the best habits and routines. These practices are different for every individual.

 

Life Model Design is 100% brain based in it's approach. Life Model Design has two key pillars; the 4Rs (Reward, Reflect, Relax, Retain), and the 4Ds (Design, Discover, Decision & Develop). These two pillars separate Life Model Design from any other design thinking process by incorporating key aspects of psychology, physiology and neuroscience.

The first foundational pillar supports a healthy life within Life Model Design. That pillar is called the 4Rs- Reward, Reflect, Relax, Retain. These 4 concepts are critical for homeostasis, a healthy mind, body and behaviors. The 4Rs are always in effect but most people don't know what their 4R Model is. Each individuals 4R model explains what rewards they respond to, how they reflect and ruminate on experiences and ideas and the impact it has on their perspective and behavior, what helps them to relax and recover from the stress of life, and what causes them retain old and new behaviors. 

 
Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality.
— Bob Marley
 

The second pillar supports self awareness and growth within Life Model Design. The 4Ds are Design, Discover, Decision, Develop. These 4 concepts are critical for creating the vision, understanding the reality of the environment in which that vision will live, making the decisions, commitments and sacrifices necessary to enable that vision to become reality. Then putting in the work to make it happen by establishing new behaviors. 

The 4Ds happen in an abbreviated fashion almost every time we experience some major growth or development. We have an idea of what we want (design), we may even write it down in the form of a goal. We do a little research (discovery) on it to understand it as much as we can in the timeframe we have to work with. Whatever we learn we use to make a decision, to enroll in the class, to apply for the job, to go on the second date, whatever. Then we go to town and through that experience we grow and develop ourselves.

The 4Ds allow us to do this intentionally, in a process oriented way within our lives for changes that can be very complex or deeply rooted. For example a person may use Life Model Design after they've had a major epiphany in life where they realize they hate their current job and want a career change. Or they are going through a divorce and need to reinvent themselves. Or they've recently had a child and much of their lifestyle is now rapidly changing. There can be several triggers that make Life Model Design the ideal approach. To learn more about the Life Model Design methodology subscribe below and we'll notify you when our online course launches.

 

Introducing:

PLANNER

 

A GUIDE TO DESIGN, DISCOVER, DECIDE AND DEVELOP YOUR LIFE MODEL IN 90 DAYS.

 
 
 

More life design, Less Life Hacks

It can pay off, being a hack. Given the depraved state of American culture, a slick dude can make millions being a hack. But even if you succeed, you lose, because you’ve sold out your Muse, and your Muse is you, the best part of yourself, where your finest and only true work comes from.
— Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
 

I have a few words on the popular culture of “hacking”. First a little background. As a kid my mom couldn’t afford to buy us anything besides the necessities, so by age 11, I’d become a regular at the local Library. Learning was my escape from the real world and reading was the gateway to my muse; comic books, sci-fi fantasy, art instruction, technology, and entrepreneurship. By the time I turned 16 I’d become a walking, talking technology consulting business. The twist? I ran a consistent portion of my business on pirated software because unlike books, there wasn’t a software library where you could check out photoshop when you had a project to deliver. In order to run my business, I had to hack the system.

Hacking the system isn’t a bad thing, it’s really quite good and powerful, especially when it is done for good reasons. For example, tech companies depend on hackers to report vulnerabilities in systems, aptly called “Responsible Disclosures”. There were some formative hacking experiences of my own life. As a youngster, when I became frustrated with the peer to peer file sharing controversies (Napster getting the smack down) I ran a popular website dedicated to helping people stick it to the RIAA and support independent musicians by purchasing indie music online. While I attended community college part time, I worked a full-time job while running a business on the side (all hacks to support my family) I took occasional breaks from my hustle with my modded PlayStation, Dreamcast and "borrowed" ROMs from friends for "free entertainment". It was a hack that at times offered just enough recreation to help me hold it all together. It all paid off in the end. I was good enough at "hacking wares" that I was offered a position at Adobe doing Quality Engineering to prevent people from hacking their installers. Ironic right? That is all to say that hacking is good for a purpose, but hacking isn’t a complete solution to getting ahead in life.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve mentored and advised people across the country and outside the US about work and life survival struggles. Most sought me out because I am authentic (they can relate to me), helpful (I have tools that I openly share with others) and I’m successful (I have a track record of success in one of the most competitive places in the world). Without being braggadocios- Silicon Valley has treated me well and I’ve kept pace with the most competitive market in the world DESPITE being a short, African-American woman without any institutional degrees who came straight from the hood. People of all genders, ethnicities, and levels of experience seek my advice not simply because I am successful, but also because of what I have had to overcome in order to achieve success. In their minds, I must have some sort of a secret weapon to overcome the odds. The questions are fairly consistent and usually rank in this order;

  • “How have you held your own in such a competitive male dominated tech bro culture?”
  • “How have you not been crushed under the pressure of consistent gender and racial micro aggressions?”
  • And my favorite “How do you balance being a mother, having an aggressive career and performing significant entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities on the side?”.

The answer? I stopping hacking and I started creating my Life Model.

I had to embrace the idea that I didn't know exactly what I wanted for my life, or for my career. I had to be confident in the notion that it was sufficient enough for me to know that what I wanted wasn’t what I was being offered. That made my mission much more clear, my mission was simply self-discovery. I released the safety of the bird in the hand and proceeded to search for something that would fill me with zeal, make my heart leap and risk the possible failure of… whatever is out there in the unknown. And I did it with Life Model.

 
If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results
— TONY ROBBINS
 

Role models are important when you are on the path of discovery. If you want to do something, knowing who has done it before can be a powerful source of inspiration. Finding role models and mentors whom you can follow their footsteps, and learn from their mistakes is instrumental. The tricky part is when what you want to achieve has never been done before, that means it requires a lot of different types of mentors and intersectional inspiration. You must model bits and pieces of many people and experiences into your own life and lifestyle. This is precisely where the life model made the difference for me. Each little bit of advice or learning applied may have been “hackish” on the surface, but when fused together the hacks build up sustainable practices that help you grow and progress. This growth is much better than simply exploiting systems with hacks which is unsustainable. This kind of growth becomes strategic activity or a key action. We need to talk less about life hacks, and more about our life model and life strategy.

My dedication to my Life Model culminated in the creation of a framework called Life Model Design. It’s something I kept to myself for a long time, and when I did share, it was with very close friends who needed help connecting all the dots in their life. Overtime with the insistence of friends I’ve taken my frameworks and worked with psychologists, neuroscientists, psychoanalysts, medical doctors, teachers, athletes, entrepreneurs, and coaches and they all agreed that it was something I needed to share more widely. I put up a website and started facilitating Work Life Integrity Experiences (workshops) where participants learned to use several tools I developed to gain more clarity and growth in the areas of life that mattered most to them. 

Every person who crosses paths with this work leaves with the notion that they can be more intentional, flexible and strategic. They come to know that they don’t have to succumb to being a hack. With a life model for your personal life, family and career there will be a body of work, a result, an impact, or a ripple that will change this world for the better stemming from you. Every day that my work helps others reach their potential and achieve more fulfillment & meaning in life is a day where meaning in my life is multiplied. There is so much potential for us to be great in this life, and life model design is the perfect means to that end. 

The mission of my life model is to be inspired, to enjoy creating and to do my best for myself and others. What's yours? 

 
Words have power, every communication is a power exchange.
— Ayori Selassie, Creator of Life Model Design

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