HHS125: Design Your Life I – What Could I Do With My Life

I created this page to share information about the life coaching course (as part of the Life Design Catalyst Program) we introduce to (mostly) first-year students in the School of Health and Human Sciences.  The course first started with 2 sections of 40 students in 2008; this Fall Semester, 2018, we have 25 sections with almost 500 students

Our ultimate goal is to help student not only succeed, but to thrive in college, empowered to make decisions aligned with their purpose, meaning, mission, and vision.

Each week, I will post the materials we are using for our group coaching program so you can get a glimpse of our process of Life Design Catalyst Coaching; if you have any questions, comments, and/or suggestions, feel free to contact me at whjohnso@uncg.edu.

If you’d like to know more about the LDC Program and our Coaching Process, check out our Life Design Catalyst Program and Coaching Guide: life design catalyst program workbook, 7-26-18.

General Information

  • HHS125 is a 1-credit course that meets once a week for 50 minutes,
  • We use a Group Coaching format – no more than 20 students per section.
  • This semester (for the first time), all activities are done in class.  Only homework required for course are the three posters.
  • A textbook or e-book is NOT required for the course (we are fans of Open Education Resource); all material used for course were created by Bill Johnson and are free to all students enrolled in class.
  • 474 students enrolled in course/program for 2018 Fall Semester (as of 8/22/2018), including one section that was specifically designed for a transfer student living-learning (co-curricular) community.
  • All instructors have been trained as Life Design Catalyst Coaches and are strongly encouraged to engage in activities (and share their results) in order to understand the process for each activity.
  • Four instructors: Bill Johnson (8 sections, approx. 160 students), Megan Cayton (8 sections, approx. 160 students), Scott Holloway (7 sections, approx. 140 students), and Jennifer Clark (2 sections, approx. 40 students).
  • Instructor serves as both facilitator of course/activities, life coach, and academic advisor.
  • Use Canvas as Course Management System; have one main HHS125 site that hosts course materials, where instructors can copy into their own sections of course.
  • Course topics/materials are set each week; instructor can modify delivery of content as they see fit.
  • Food for Thought section are not required reading/viewing, but is recommended for those interested in further exploration.

Week 1: Introductions to Course


Week 2: I Am Statements


Week 3: Storytelling


Week 4: Project #1 – My Life Story Poster and Presentations


Week 5: Personality Type Assessment

The Personality Type Assessment that you’ll be doing for this class is based on the research of Carl Jung; the most popular assessment is the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment. This assessment in just one of many explanations of how you are wired, another way to learn more about yourself. They have used Myers-Briggs as a way to identify strengths and weaknesses, discover potential major and career choices, recognize how you work and play with others, how you learn, how you handle stress – and even help you find potential life partners! One thing to remember about taking this and other assessments; take the results with a grain of salt. It’s just additional information for you to use that could be helpful as you learn more about yourself and what makes you tick.


Week 6: Personal Core Values Assessment

Your values are the things that are most important to you and form the foundation of your life. They are the principles, standards, and qualities you consider worthwhile or desirable. They guide your actions, decisions, and choices for the better on a daily basis. If you notice that something isn’t quite right in your life, a lot of times it’s due to a conflict in your values. Your values have a lot of influence on your relationships and the partners you choose, your behaviors, and your personal identity; it’s important to know and understand them in order to live a more fulfilling life! Note: As you identify your values for this exercise, make sure that you are choosing the most important values in your life RIGHT NOW, not things that you think are important or what you would like to have in the future.  I would argue that this is the MOST IMPORTANT activity that you will do this semester.  Knowing your values can have the most influence in your life – now and in the future.


Week 7: Character and Engagement Strengths Assessment

What are strengths?  A strength is the ability to consistently produce a positive outcome through near-perfect performance in a specific task or given activity.

  • Character strengths focuses on your ethics, morals, behaviors, and values; answers the question, “What is best about who you are?”
  • Engagement strengths consists of your skills, knowledge, and talents; answers the question, “What’s best about the work you do?”

Both are important to understand how you interact with the world on a daily basis.

Strengths focus on the things you do right, not on the things that you do wrong. Research has found that people and organizations grow more when they focus on what they do best rather than trying to fix their weaknesses. Identifying your strengths will also provide you an additional tool to seek opportunities that allow you to use your strengths on a regular basis.

Knowing and focusing on your strengths: (1) Can assist in the process of identifying and living your purpose and fulfilling you mission, (2) Are usually attached to excellence – the more you use your strengths, the better you become in using your strengths, (3) Can be used to help you decide your classes, your major, your extracurricular activities, even your internship and job possibilities, (4) Will provide you direction as to how you should use your time and where you should put your energy, (5) Will build your confidence and self-esteem; you will feel better about yourself when you have greater success in the strengths you use well, (6) Will have you more likely engaged in your job/education and more likely to having an excellent quality of life, and (7) Would give you the best opportunity to be great!

The goal is to use your strengths as much as possible. Using your strengths on a regular basis: (1) Provides you motivation, (2) Gives you energy, (3) Creates positive emotions,  (4) Increases personal and work satisfaction, (5) Increases levels of productivity and performance, and (6) Increases levels of engagement.

Students who’ve known their strengths have been found to: (1) Be more satisfied with college experience, (2) Be more satisfied with advising experience, (3) Have greater satisfaction in courses, (4) Feel better about help from faculty/staff with life plans, (5) Have higher cumulative GPA’s, and (6) Be more likely to stay in school.


Week 8: Meaningful Work Statement and Quiz

What if you could be clear about the work that you’re here to do? What if the work you are truly here to do was connected to your major, student groups/organizations options, internship and graduate school options, and your career? The Meaningful Work activity provides an opportunity to recognize the work you are here to do, at least at this point in your life. You will create lists in specific categories to help you develop a statement that identifies how you want to serve the world and make a difference in a meaningful way.


Week 9: Meaningful Work Quiz and Project #3 Instructions

The difference between a job, a career, and a calling (from “Job, Career, Calling: Key to Happiness and Meaning at Work?” – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/career-transitions/201206/job-career-calling-key-happiness-and-meaning-work):

  • Job Orientation: Individuals who fall into this category tend to view their work as a means to an end. They work to receive the pay and/or benefits to support their hobbies, family, or life outside work. They prefer jobs which do not interfere with their personal lives. They are not as likely to have a strong connection to the workplace or their job duties. The job serves as a basic necessity in life.
  • Career Orientation: An individual with a “career” orientation is more likely to focus on elements related to success or prestige. This individual will be interested in the ability to move upward in his or her career, to receive raises and new titles, and to achieve the social standing which comes from the career. Careers which have a clear upward “ladder’ are appealing to those with a career orientation.
  • Calling Orientation: Individuals with a calling orientation often describe their work as integral to their lives and their identity. They view their career as a form of self-expression and personal fulfillment. Research conducted by Wrzesniewski and colleagues find that individuals with a calling orientation are more likely to find their work meaningful and will modify their duties and develop relationships to make it more so. They are found to be more satisfied in general with their work and their lives.

“The purposeful are those who have found something meaningful to dedicate themselves to, who have sustained this interest over a period of time, and who express a clear sense of what they are trying to accomplish in the world and why. They have found a cause or ultimate goal that inspires their efforts from day to day and helps them fashion a coherent future agenda. They know what they want to accomplish and why, and they have taken concerted steps to achieve their ambitions.” – William Damon


Week 10: Major/Career/Calling Exploration Poster and Calling Connection Mind Map

  • Project #3
    • Major/Career/Calling Exploration (for Freshmen and Sophomore students)
      • Instructions – major-career-calling exploration poster, 10-9-18
      • Presentation Questions:
        • Share your meaningful work statement.
        • Provide an overall view of your Poster.  What did you learn about your choices and options – now in your college career and moving forward in the future?
        • Share your choice of majors (first and second choice) and if you decided to choose a minor(s).  When do you plan to apply to the major of your first choice – if they require secondary admission?  What do you plan to do if you don’t get in?
        • Briefly share your thoughts about your options, regarding involvement in a student or professional organization, study abroad, graduate school, an internship/apprenticeship, and an entrepreneurial/side hustle venture.
        • How did you feel about putting this Poster together?  How did it help you get a little clearer about what you hope to do in the future – while in college and/or after college?
    • Career Calling Worksheet and Mind Map (for Junior and Senior students)
      • Instructions – calling connection worksheet and mind map, 10-9-18
      • Presentation Questions:
        • Share your meaningful work statement.
        • Provide an overall view of your Mind Map.  What did you learn about your choices and options – now as you finish up your college career and moving forward in the future?
        • Share one important item from each of the five categories: Business, Creative, Scientific/Research, Social/Political, and Education/Teaching.  What are two things that you could potentially see implementing right away?
        • Briefly share your thoughts about your options, whether that’s for a current position, a position that you’re looking for, and/or a potential entrepreneurial/side hustle venture.
        • How did you feel about putting this Poster together?  How did it help you get a little clearer about what you hope to do in the future – while in college and/or after college?
  • Inspirational Video
  • Personal Manifesto
    • 8 Sentence Completions
      • I believe in…
      • In my heart of hearts, I…
      • I am passionate about…
      • Here’s what I know for sure…
      • I stand for…
      • I love…
      • I am on this Earth to…
      • I will love myself by…

Week 11: Personal Philosophy

  • Meditation: Liquid Mind: Moment of Grace, Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I61vm_nLNYg
  • Quiz: Are You Living Your Best Life – are you living your best life quiz, 10-24-18
  • Personal Philosophy
  • Personal Philosophy Statement Quiz: Use five questions to determine the significance of your statement.  Is it a statement that truly resonates with you or are you just going through the motions?
    • Does my personal philosophy represent the best of me?
    • Is this statement about me and how I want to live each day?
    • Does this statement resonate with me being my authentic self?
    • Does this statement make me feel energized and come alive?
    • Is this statement something that I will commit to practice every day?
  • Personal Philosophy Self-Coaching Question: Ask yourself this question when you have to make a decision that significantly impacts your life, especially if your statement IS your guide to how you want to live your life every day.
    • In this moment, will this action/decision move me towards living my personal philosophy and ultimately, expressing the best version of myself?
  • Food For Thought

Week 12: Seven Word Life Motto and Personal Charter Poster/Presentation Instructions

  • Seven Word Life Motto
  • Personal Charter Poster/Presentation Instructions
  • Course Evaluations

Week 13: Personal Charter Poster Presentation

  • Coming soon

Last updated: October 24, 2018

4 thoughts on “HHS125: Design Your Life I – What Could I Do With My Life

    • Hi Bernice. I will be updating web site once a week, so you can check back at the end of each week for new material.

      I am neither faculty or a consultant. My three colleagues and I are all 12-month staff. I actually developed the group coaching format because it was easier for me to see 15-20 students per hour than 2-4 students per hour.

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your comments!

  1. I am a career counselor and I teach a career development class at a 2 year college. Your work calls to me! I hope to attend one of your coaching trainings in the near future. Thank you.

    • Would love for you to attend a training; you’ll learn a lot and meet some AWESOME people!

      Thanks for taking the time to respond; greatly appreciated!

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