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iLife: Designing Your Ideal Life Group


In a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal titled “It’s Never Too Late to Start a Brilliant Career,” the author Rich Karlgaard (former publisher of Forbes Magazine) states that late bloomers have “greater opportunities to succeed on alternative paths, far from the madness and pressure of early achievement.” With information well supported by experts in the fields of psychology and neurology, he cites countless examples of creative work happening during all decades of life. He concludes that “a healthy society needs all of its people to recognize that they can bloom and re-bloom, grow and succeed throughout their lives.”

This group takes a psychological approach to help you design your ideal life. You may not be sure of your direction. You may have wandered down the wrong path. That’s ok! We need to redefine ourselves many times throughout the lifespan. There are similarities throughout many stages of life: finding your way when you are 22; deciding on a path in your 40s when your first career no longer works; transitioning to changes in routines due to aging children or parents; approaching retirement; or living with the status quo while experiencing little joy.

With an emphasis on action, this group will help members to build their way forward. We will start the group by reviewing your life story up until now and determining how it has shaped you. We will discuss, for example, whether you feel pressured to go down a certain road, whether you feel torn between your head and your heart, or whether you feel directionless. You will explore who you are now; assess the balance in your work, love, play and health; determine your underlying values and what you find most important in life (connection, money, status, independence, creativity); and identify your core interests, tendencies, strengths and areas of needed growth. You will create life designs that play to your signature strengths, as opposed to situations that are a setup for frustration.

The group will encourage you to let go of comparing yourself to your peers, as different people need different things. The group will introduce you to the concept of “flow,” the feeling you get when engaging in activities that provide ideal levels of challenge and mastery. By designing lives that promote flow states, you will be most likely to thrive and not merely succeed. It is important to avoid the trap of designing a life that appears successful but feels miserable. Ultimately, as there are likely multiple valid life paths for you to take, you will identify and develop three different plans that feel authentic and inspiring to you.

The group makes use of “The Designing Your Life Workbook: A Framework for Building a Life You Can Thrive In,” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, as well as a number of other handouts and resources.


1130 Ten Rod Road, Suite E308, North Kingstown, RI 02852


Wednesdays at 6:30pm


Tuition: $60 per session.; insurance may reduce this amount.
Materials fee: $30

Group Therapist

Sharon Younkin is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker at RICBT. Sharon uses a wide range of cognitive behavioral and DBT strategies to help people grow. With tremendous compassion and understanding, Sharon collaborates with clients to develop awareness, challenge negative thoughts, accept emotion, and use healthy problem solving and coping skills. She defines what it means to have your back.

Earlier Event: September 3
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Later Event: September 14
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