Mountain Stream Coaching in words with M stylized as mountains and S stylized as stream
Shirtless man rock climbing
Photo Credit: Petr Slovacek on Unsplash

This is the second article in a series describing my seven-stage life design process. In this stage, we begin to take our first steps toward turning our desire for change into actually making that change happen.

Stage 2: Commitment

The Commitment Stage is a time for education, mindset preparation, and assembling your team.

Among the change models, this stage most closely parallels the Preparation Stage within the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). “People start to take small steps toward the behavior change” (reference). Using Joseph Campbell’s language in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, this stage in the Hero’s Journey is the “Call to Adventure.”

There is a natural tendency to try to skip this and the next two stages and to rocket straight away to goal setting in Stage 5. This degree of jumping ahead usually doesn’t end well because any goals set are lacking a coherent foundation, including a thoughtful vision to navigate toward.


Dedicate time to gain a basic understanding of life design and a few change models. This investment is like reviewing a highway map before heading out on a lengthy road trip.

Hopefully, this series of articles (once completed) will be sufficient to get you up to speed. If you want to go deeper, my second article includes a Life Design Bibliography. No one other than perhaps another life coach focusing on life design will read all 18 books. To narrow the choices, I recommend picking among Your Life by Design (Curtis R. Estes, 2015), Designing Your Life (Burnett and Evans, 2016), and Soul Salt (Lyn Christian, 2023). For career transitions, I recommend From Paycheck to Purpose (Ken Coleman, 2021).


I previously identified nine mindsets that are beneficial for a life design journey. In that article, I recommended assessing the strength of each mindset on a scale from zero to ten. Then, concentrate on strengthening any mindsets with low scores.

Some specific suggestions for strengthening each mindset:

Growth Mindset

  • Embrace life design as an opportunity for growth and learning.
  • Emphasize effort and perseverance (verbs) over intelligence (identity). Listen to 18 July 2023 Huberman Lab podcast episode to learn more about this concept.

Abundance Mindset

  • Practice daily gratitude.
  • Practice positive affirmations.
  • Surround yourself with positive, optimistic people.

Service Mindset

  • Help others. Find ways to serve others in your real life (IRL) and online communities. Volunteer.
  • Practice random acts of kindness.

Full Life Mindset

  • Balance your life. Don’t neglect your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Prioritize relationships equal to career.
  • Pursue your passions. Do things that you love and that make you feel alive in all areas of your life.

Design Thinking Mindsets 

Agency and Intentionality Mindset

  • Take responsibility for your life. Don’t blame others for your problems.
  • Take ownership of your choices and decisions.
  • Prioritize your life design activities.

‘Why’ Mindset

  • Ask yourself why you are doing the things you do.
  • In Stage 4 (Bedrock & Vision) you will have an opportunity to define and explore your values-driven ‘Why’ more deeply.

Be Lucky Mindset

  • Cultivate optimism.
  • Believe that luck is a real thing and that you can create your own luck.

Intuition Mindset

  • Practice meditation and mindfulness to listen to your intuition.
  • Trust your gut feelings and follow your intuition.

Begin this work during the Commitment Stage. Then, continue the work throughout the remaining stages until all the mindsets feel fully a part of your being.


Life design is a team sport, as I previously mentioned in my What is Life Design? article. Use the Commitment Stage to assess and build your team.

Several of the life design authors cover this in detail; for example:

  • Burnett and Evans in Designing Your Life advocate for “radical collaboration” in life design. They outline roles for Supporters (people you can count on to care about your life), Players (active participants in your life design), and Intimates (immediate family and closest friends). A mentor is also a key role. Burnett and Evans also recommend a life design project team of between three and six people.
  • Brinkman and Kirschner in Life by Design outline roles for Friends, Associates, Role Models, Mentors, Teachers, and Guardian Angels (people who can help you by using their influence and contacts).
  • Curtis Estes in Your Life By Design proposes a Personal Board of Advisors—a group of like-minded and inspiring superstars who will exchange ideas and constructively critique your strategies.
  • Framework 5 in Julia Lang’s Ten Frameworks of Life Design is “Build a network through empathizing and learning from others.” Lang emphasizes personal networks and notes “life designers must find ways to break into new networks by engaging with people living the lives and doing the work that interests them.”
  • Ken Coleman in From Paycheck to Purpose dedicates Chapter Five to building and leveraging a personal network. Coleman says “Getting connected is not just about who you know but all the people they know.”
  • Joanne Lipman in Next! describes an Expert Companion, saying “There can be a benefit from an expert companion who isn’t closely tied to your profession. It’s easier for them to have a perspective and clarity that you lack yourself, to have enough distance to see something in you that you don’t see yourself.”

Speaking of Expert Companions, the Commitment Stage is also the best time to contract with a life coach as a dedicated guide and companion for the journey ahead—schedule a Discovery Call to explore working with me.

When people seek life coaching, their initial coaching objective tends to be narrowly defined and focused on an external circumstance. The coaching focus usually shifts and expands as we get to work. I mentioned this pattern in my previous article regarding triggers in the Awakening Stage.

In full disclosure, I have yet to have a prospective coaching client come to me seeking help with a comprehensive life design straight away. Perhaps this will change as I publish more life design articles espousing a “whole life” and purpose-driven perspective.

Over to You

Do you recommend any additional activities in the Commitment Stages of a life design journey? If you are on a life design journey, do the first two stages proposed ring true from your experience?

Note: The book links are Amazon affiliate links that pay a small commission to me upon purchase, at no cost to you.

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