The Structure of Success

A sailboat is highlighted in a reflected path of golden light, as the sun drops below a layer of dark clouds. A visual metaphor for the path of least resistance

Life Design Coaching is a gently “structured” approach to creating results that matter—with whatever you have to work with.

But “structure” terrifies many creative or would-be creative folks. 

Potential clients often ask me, “Isn’t the creating process “unstructured”?

Or, “How can you create if you’re limited by conventions? Isn’t creating, by definition, unconventional?”

The creative process is structured, but it’s far from conventional.

In a creator’s world, invention takes precedence over convention.

Unlike those who lay out elaborate plans in advance, then try to stick to them regardless of changes in reality, creators operate in a structure that allows them take action on a more just-in-time basis. 

You are like a river. You go through life taking the path of least resistance. 
The underlying structure of your life determines the path of least resistance. You can change the fundamental underlying structures of your life.
— Robert Fritz, The Path of Least Resistance

What Is The Life Design Framework?

Creators consciously, or intuitively, set up a structure—an organizing framework—that energizes their action, and allows them to create a path that accounts for changes in circumstances, and other aspects of current reality. 

In the Life Design Framework, your energy and actions follow the path of least resistance from where you are to where you want to go.

A clear, compelling vision of your desired result drives your action. That action is grounded in an accurate, objective assessment of current reality (the current state of your result).

A graphic depicting the Life Design Framework, showing the relationship between vision, current reality and action.
The Life Design Framework For Creating Lasting Results

By holding your vision and current reality in mind together, you set up a useful creative tensiona tendency to move—that both energizes and guides your actions.

Starting small, you learn to create small, sub-results. You learn from experience, make adjustments, and build patterns of success. 

A series of successes generates competence and confidence—and the willingness to stretch for larger successes. Momentum builds. Creating becomes easier, and more effective.

In the Life Design structure, setbacks, even failure, are simply feedback. As current reality changes in response to success or failure, and changing circumstances, you make course corrections. 

The space between vision and reality is a “possibility space,” in which intuition and rationality reinforce each other.

The possibility space enables you to experiment and explore. Learning and invention take place. You create and adjust, create and adjust… making up the path as you go. 

Creating is thus more like ocean sailing than taking a train. 

Which Is It? Trains Or Sailboats? 

It depends.

On a train trip, you not only know where you’ll start and where you’ll end. You also know the exact route and all the stops in between.

The route is fixed and inflexible, albeit predictable. 

Trains work well in predictable times and places. But they’re not so good in changing situations.

Imagine the ground shifting beneath the train track.

A vintage black and white photo of a train crashing into another, and both are off the tracks. People stand by watching
Off The Tracks

Sailing Toward Success

When you’re ocean sailing, all you know in advance is where you’re starting from (current reality) and where you want to end up (vision). You set a course in a general direction toward your destination, but the forces you encounter influence the actual route you sail.

Winds, tides, currents, storms, trade routes, mechanical problems, and the unpredictable interactions among these variables make detailed planning difficult, if not impossible. 

Instead of rigidly following a detailed plan, sailors make up their route as they go.

When they are blown off course they get out their sextant, or tune in their GPS, and determine their current position. 

Then they set a compass heading for a new course toward their destination, adjust the tiller, and head off on their new course. 

A white sailboat with a blue and white sail plies open blue water. In the background, a hazy sky obscures a mountain range.
Smooth Sailing

Like sailors, if you’re a creator, you keep your vision front of mind. 

You also keep track of reality, i.e., where you are in relation to your end result (destination).

You work with the forces in play—making up the route from where you are toward the result you want to bring into being.

The focused-yet-open structure of the Life Design Framework is freeing.

Once you set it up, and establish creative tension, you are free to experiment, explore, be open to intuition and synchronicity, and let the path of least resistance emerge.

You do what is needed to bring your vision into reality. And mostly without a detailed plan.

Indeed, the creating framework is a planning framework, structure for planning as you go. 

Traveller, there is no path. The path must be forged as you walk.

—Antonio Machado, Spanish Poet

Whether on land or on the sea, this is good advice for would be creators of their own lives, work, relationships… whatever matters.

Laying Down The Path

Helpful Resources

For a deeper look into the mechanics of structure and Life Design Framework for creating results, go to Structure Rules!

• Or get my free, 100-page ebook, THRIVE!

• Free Coaching Info Package: email me with “Structure Of Success” as subject.

Bruce Elkin

Life Design Coach. Personal Life Coach. 25 years experience. Clients on 6 continents. Author of 5 books and ebooks. Cares about the Earth and living in harmony with its natural systems.