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Define Your Workview

Lesson 4 from: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

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Lesson Info

4. Define Your Workview

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

In this lesson, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans discuss the concept of Workview, which is the set of values that define what an individual believes good work is. They emphasize the importance of articulating and understanding one's Workview in order to determine if their current job aligns with their desired work. Students are encouraged to have conversations in triads, where they read their Workviews to each other and discuss what stood out and when the reader seemed most authentic.


  1. What is a Workview?

    A Workview is the set of values that define what an individual believes good work is.

  2. How is Workview different from a job description or wish list?

    Workview is not a job description or wish list; it is a manifesto that defines an individual's values regarding work.

  3. What is the purpose of articulating and understanding one's Workview?

    Articulating and understanding one's Workview helps individuals determine if their current job aligns with their desired work.

  4. What is the benefit of having conversations in triads?

    Conversations in triads allow individuals to share their Workviews and receive feedback on what stood out and when they seemed most authentic.

  5. What is the role of the listeners in the triad conversation?

    The listeners in the triad conversation are responsible for identifying when the reader seemed most authentic and discussing what stood out to them in the Workview.

Lesson Info

Define Your Workview

We're gonna go up into the Meaning Making layer, look at some of the big ideas, the organizing principles that help us figure out what to do, where we're going and really answer the question, is this really the real me, is this working for me? And the first one's what we call Workview, which is not your job description, and it's not I want a corner office and I'd like a car, you know, that's a job description or a wish list, a Workview is the manifesto, the set of values that define what I think good work is. So if someone says, well tell me about your job, you know, is that really the kind of work you want to be doing, your Workview answers that question. So we're gonna actually jump right in. You've all been doing this already on homework and for the online participants, if you haven't written your Workview and Lifeview yet, you'll want to you know, take a break, and get those things done because we're gonna be talking about your ideas and you have to articulate them to talk about th...

em, and when we talk about them, this is the beginning of many very personal conversations we're gonna have in the room. What we say in this conversation stays in this room. We're co-life designers. Our role today is to assist one another in this life design process. By the way that goes for all two bajillion of us in the cloud as well. You know, even these people's conversation, we're in a small group together, and you're gonna be listening in on this group over here most of the day, and so the whole point is they volunteered their lives lived out loud in order to support all of us having an empathetic and an authentic experience of this process, which means during the day, and if you do this in a group offline at home, you too, want to keep this confidential, these are these people's stories. It's personal not universal, and will you be saying things that well as we all know, I mean work is just about the money. Well actually in my personal, the way I look at it is, we're all the first person active voice here today, we're not trying to be bombastic, you know, certainly respectful and generative. Generative means we're gonna be affirming and suggesting things all day long. How many of you have plenty of places where you can get criticism? (students laughing) Yeah, we sort of thought we would just like skip that for the most part today. You get plenty of criticism. Today we're gonna be generative, not critical. So with that in mind, we want you now to actually pull out your Workviews and we're gonna have a conversation in threes, we'll do this a lot today, and in triads, you know offline if you can do this course together with a couple other friends it's fabulous, and triads means three people, and when you break into a triad today, you do that by pulling your chairs back and getting into a perfect little isosceles triangle. So if Bill's there and say Susan's here, that is not a triad, that's a line, you know, and there's a big leaky place on the back. So pull your chairs back, there's enough room here to do that. We will give you rubrics all day long, and our job is to give you the container to hold the conversation, and here's the container, it starts with, read your Workview to one another. Now, when I say read it, just read it. Not, well, you know, on the way in, I've decided I don't believe any of this anymore, I really, I don't know who wrote this thing, my dog peed on it, you know, no, no, no, no. All that caveat stuff we're used to doing, just skip it, you wrote it, it's your story, hi I'm Dave, my Workview is, boom. So that only takes a minute or two. Once you've read it, then the two people who are listening to you that you just met, here's your job listeners, first, when did the reader while reading her Workview seem most authentic to you? And I'm not even gonna explain what I mean by authentic, you know what to do. And the second thing you're gonna do is talk about what stood out most to you. The first question's what's going on for the reader in that Workview, and when you were listening, what was going on for you? Like, you know, I noticed you really seemed pretty perked up when you were talking about the part about dogs, you know, and I was really animated about the part about rainbows. So whatever that might be. So the two of you can share when did the reader seem most authentic and what part really stood out to you. That's all you do, so it takes a minute or so to read your Workview, takes like two minutes to make some comments about that, then it's time for person number two. We'll give you time to go all the way around the circle. Any questions? Good, I'm so glad that's clear. Okay, go, you know what to do. Who wants to start? Want me to go first? Happy to. Okay, I work in part because I love what I do, and in part because it provides meaning to my days. When I'm in the flow I'm learning, strategizing, collaborating and creating new solutions for problems. It's critical that my work involve people I respect, especially at this stage in my life. I've co-founded ReBoot Accel, designed to help women reimagine life after a work pause and reengage in meaningful paid work. We get them current, connected, and confident to land their dream job or start their entrepreneural adventure. My days are filled with purpose and joy as each week I hear about another life that has been changed. Scaling what we do and impacting women nationally and even globally is an important mission to me. Success to me is less driven by money and more by lives impacted, though it would be ideal to feel fairly compensated for my work. I came from a family with a strong work ethic where my Dad started a Charter School at age 85, and shared his last civic focus meeting of retired executives at 87. I was taught that work is important and giving back is a critical part of my reason for being. I'm grateful for finding work I love with people I respect and that uses my gifts to the fullest. What stood out for me was respect. I heard (mumbles) and your voice changed when you said that; respecting others. Oh, with people I respect. Yeah, and you used the word twice. And I also, when you used the word flow, you kinda got into that. I realize there was like some liveliness in you, in your voice, and those are the two things that I heard. Okay.

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Ratings and Reviews


A fantastic class for someone seeking to optimize their life for a greater sense of satisfaction and especially for someone who is considering a career transition. We are taught effective methods for brainstorming, examining, and prototyping our options, and we are given an approach for the hardest task of all: how to make a choice when faced with multiple good options! Also great tips for networking and getting your foot in the door. This class was very timely for me as I've been struggling with making a decision on what my next career was going to be. I now feel equipped with tools that will help me make that decision with less agony and more fun! Also, I'm a huge fan of design thinking, so it was great to see how that methodology could be applied to making one of the most important decisions in our life.

Karen Vitto

Great course! Great for who like me is on their 30's starting life in a new country with a new language and have been out of the industry for 4 years. Designing new goals, making new networking and starting a MBA for some updates on my carrear. Really helped with some focus. Super recommend!


Loved this class! It was high energy, fast paced and well organized, as well as inspiring. It helped me to make more concrete things I've been thinking and dreaming about. I'm so glad I took it. I made great contacts and will definitely use this material in the future!

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