3 Ways to be the Architect of Your Own Life

Architects are skilled in planning, design, and oversight. Architecture isn’t just limited to the construction of buildings. For example, often visionaries are architects of their generations. When you look at the leaders of yesterday and today, such as Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, they are architects of sorts. They planned, designed, and oversaw huge transitions that, in many cases, redefined how we function and process reality on a daily basis. Similarly, we can be the architects of our own lives. Here are 3 ways to awaken your inner architect!
Architects Create Vision

Vision is key!

Your vision can literally serve as your blueprint for the future.  Your ability to walk into the life that you crave depends on the future you see. That’s because anything exceptional that you attempt is often birthed with a vision. It’s the vision that inspires hope when the struggle gets too hard and when calamity becomes all too familiar. That’s why it’s important to not bankrupt your future with a limited vision.  It’s hard to move forward confidently without having a good idea of where you are going. Powerful motivator Zig Ziglar always says if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit the mark every time.

There are numerous reasons for lack of vision. Sometimes it’s the pain of previous failures that halts our progress. In such cases, we have to remember that missteps bring experience and provide insight; moreover, our survival is a testimony of our resilience. You can experience a do over! Other times we’re blinded by complacency with past successes. However, suppose we had stopped with the telegram or the telephone?

Our lives have been so enriched by people who dared to see beyond present circumstances and innovations. These architects changed the future by elevating our visions. According to Seth Godin, they transform our “shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change.” Just because you are not gifted in design doesn’t mean that you can’t design your life.  First, your ability to create the vision for your life necessitates your commitment to learn and look inward. Second, when you peer into the future, make sure that you are looking with a fresh pair of eyes and perspective. Tired eyes rarely see a bright future. Third, your vision for your future may benefit from some perspective of the past. History often repeats itself, so ironically, by looking to the past, you can better anticipate the future. Fourth, draw inspiration from what you read, hear, and feel. Then, create the plan that awakens the music inside you. Remember that prosperity and wealth are not beyond your reach. Doing these things consistently will elevate your vision to new levels and give you a sound basis to design an authentic path for your future.

Architects Create Structure

Another interesting aspect of an architect’s job is that they create or restore order. During chaos, the gifted architect is perhaps most appreciated. By creating order, the architect can enhance productivity and decrease stress. In contrast, disorder is costly! For example, how many times have you been distressed and your productivity ruined due to losing your cell phone, important file, or flash drive?

Order also encompasses how we live our lives. An orderly life is one that is aligned with your skills and abilities, personality, dreams and passions. It is rare that someone else will create this authentic fit for you. However, by truly knowing yourself and patterning your life accordingly, you can align your actions with your heart.

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.” Leonardo da Vinci

Career coach Dan Miller has great advice regarding structuring your work in this manner. He recommends work where you are strongest 80{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} of the time, where you are learning 15{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} of the time, and where you are weak 5{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} of the time. A practical example is if you know you are soon bored after learning something new, then structure your business (or choose a job) where your desire for new challenges is a strength rather than a weakness. For all of us, there is an environment where we function best; it’s where our differences are celebrated instead of merely tolerated. If you aren’t already there, then search for or design the environment for yourself.

Architects Oversee Development

Don’t die with your music still in you!

After he or she has created the vision and developed order, much of the architect’s “hard work” is already complete. Some say 85{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c} of the process centers on the creative aspects, but application is still required. Unexecuted great plans mean that the potential will never be manifested, nor will the design be appreciated in its full glory. For example, before Henry Ford and James Cash Penney could give us Ford Motor Company and JC Penney department stores, respectively, they had to build infrastructure and assemble their teams.

It is the architect’s role to oversee the execution of the vision. Overseers know that productivity, or lack thereof, often depends on their recruiting the right talent, incentivizing their participation, and providing adequate resources and direction to bring the vision into fruition.

The personal application is that we must oversee our own development. We must hold ourselves accountable for acting on our visions; otherwise, they may remain pipe dreams. Often this may require enlisting the assistance of others. Perhaps you may hire a bookkeeper for a business or even your household finances to stay on track financially. Alternatively, you could engage a coach to quickly raise your performance to a much higher level. You may choose an accountability partner to call foul when your actions don’t match your words. Regardless of the steps you take, the responsibility for the product is yours. You have already been empowered, but it is what you do with that power that is key.

Closing Thoughts

As an architect, you can create beauty from chaos or resurrect a structure to its former glory. It’s your blueprint of the future that inspires hope in the face of adversity and order during disarray. It’s your seasoned insights that are relied upon to ensure the safety and progress of the project. The personal takeaway is that as the architect of your life, you have substantial power. However, with this power comes great responsibility. It is no longer acceptable to rely on past excuses for lack of achievement. You already have the components and resources needed for greatness, but the key question is: are you ready to produce?

I’m Roshawn Watson, and I write at Watson Inc on eliminating debt, investing money, and building wealth. Get my free eBook Your Foundation to Wealth by signing up for my email updates (no spam I promise). Get my RSS feed and connect with me on Twitter @roshawnwatson too.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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