In my previous work life, I spent a lot of time around museums, news rooms, and marketing conferences. And one thing they all have in common is the idea of curating—curating collections, content, news.
Pulling a collection of different items together. Finding themes. Telling a story. Preserving. Sharing with the rest of the world.
Curating can be a powerful metaphor for lifestyle design, reinvention and developing meaningful work.
You are the “keeper” of your life. You are the subject-matter expert on you. Curating is what you do every day.
After all, you organize and arrange your life every day. You make meaning. You share pieces of yourself with others. You present yourself to the world.
And if you’re already doing this stuff every day (as we all are!), imagine what can happen when you start to get a little more intentional about what exactly you are doing.
(Small steps matter. Practice is required.)
Imagine what happens when you start organizing, editing, sharing, focusing around your vision, your dreams, your inner knowing, your desires and priorities, your big wild goals.
Instead of focusing all over the place or comparing with everyone else.
Curating is practical reinvention, from the ground up.
It’s one of the most practical tools I used to quit a stressful but perfectly fine job and take on a 9-month long “explorer mission” to hit the reset button on my life. Which I can tell you was terrifying at the time.
And it’s a tool I used to create what came next. Piece by piece. And what is coming after that (as in, right now). Like every practical tool, you use it when you need it.
What does it look like to “curate” your life?
You’re deciding what to create in a million tiny decisions every day. Curating means owning your decisions and having solid decision-making criteria so that your decisions get you closer to where you want to go.
You’re already deciding what the storyline is going to be by what you believe, what you say, how you look at the situation you’re in. Curating means choosing the storylines that best match your vision– or help you build that vision in the first place.
Thinking like a curator, you start to focus more around that theme (your WHY and your WHAT). What’s missing? What’s here that I can highlight?
You don’t start out with all the answers, but you use the resources that you have. You build from there. You connect one thing, one idea, one action to another.
You create a meaningful path where you might not have seen one before. You go down it.
You edit. You toss out what doesn’t fit. There isn’t room for everything, and what you select needs to fit within the vision you have for your life and your work. It has to feel right. It has to make sense– to you.
You make meaning of what’s left. Again.
You pay attention to the environment you’re creating and the one that is surrounding you. You take steps to create an environment around you that will brings out the best in you, in your work. You ask yourself what that environment looks like and what has to be in it. You delete what is not working. You find ways to add what you need.
You occasionally step back and look at the big picture. Again. What is working and what is not? Where can you bring in additional ideas, support, resources?
You stay open to what presents itself because as the subject matter expert of your life, you gain confidence that you’ll recognize it when it shows up. (And you can always edit later if you change your mind.)
You take excellent care of who you are and what you have. You are a steward for what really matters– as decided by you.
You take creative risks for your vision. You become more willing to leap when leaping matters, and to take a time out when you know in your bones that this is what will give you energy for the bigger game.
You keep putting it out there, opening yourself to new connections, communities, and new perspectives and unexpected ties to your vision.