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Finding Purpose When It Matters Most



How To Design, Navigate, and Live Your Best Life


At the request of the parents, educators, and students with whom we've worked over the years, we've created an interactive journal that integrates the practices we use to teach students how to design, navigate, and live their life with joy, meaning, and purpose.


And now, with disruptions to the status quo and opportunities to contribute expanding exponentially in areas that include health and wellness in the midst of crisis, justice, equity, and inclusion, social media's influence, and climate change and its impact, it’s vital now more than ever that we support students in finding an entry point and connection to purpose that will inspire engagement and action.


Whether used as a companion to the START Student Workbook or as a standalone resource, the Journal introduces students to the importance of meaning and purpose in relatable language and provides the practical tools students need to assess, reflect, and then take actions that that align who they are with a sense of purpose - contributing to something beyond themselves. On this path, students experience the connection, meaning, and worthiness that fosters happiness and success.


Note: Few of us have had the time, space, and guidance to do this work with the attention and intention it needs. Now, as you support your kids/students in being, becoming, and contributing their best, is the perfect time. We invite you to complete the reflections and exercises first and then to model the joy and connection that comes from living on purpose as you teach and reinforce it in your kids/students.


The new WIN Map Journal for Students will be available this fall. Until then, we're delighted to share a preview with you here. We can't wait to hear your stories and to add you experiences of growth, development, and connection to our growing library of meaningful family, classroom, and individual experiences.


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The WIN Map Journal for Students

Excerpt: Introduction

The Opportunity: Everyone is born with a natural curiosity about the world, the courage to explore, and the desire to connect to people, pastimes, and projects we care about.

From Preschoolers to Professionals, it’s essential to have the time, space, and guidance to explore, tune into, and then take note of who we are (our Wiring), what we care about (our Interests), and where we can apply our Wiring in an area of Interest to address a Need in the world (W.I.N.). When we do, we position ourselves well to take the lead in our own lives and work and to navigate our path with purpose and joy.

The WIN Mapping Process described in this journal is the how-to. In each chapter, you’ll find a set of reflections, exercises, and activities designed to help you explore and connect:

who you are at your best—and ways that can align with

what you care about most—so you can

take the lead in making a contribution

in ways that are meaningful to you—and

that have value in the world.



Excerpt Chapter 1: The WIN Map


When we align what we’re good at with what we care about and apply this to make things better in the world around us, we’re at our best. We feel good, and we do good work. We bring a level of energy and passion to what we’re doing. And in the process, we discover a connection to the purpose of our work that will sustain motivation, engagement, and enjoyment and allow us to map our path through school, career, and life.


Here’s Why: In the WIN Model

• Wiring reflects WHO you are, what makes you tick, your strengths

• Interests reflect WHAT you’re curious about, what you care about

• Needs reflect WHERE you can apply your wiring in an area you’re interested in to make a contribution that matters to you and has value in the world.


The Sweet Spot: The center of the WIN Map, where the three circles intersect, reflects your experience of purpose in your activities, school, and work—a place where you can connect to something greater than yourself.


Navigating your way to your Sweet Spot answers your questions of Why: Why am I here? What will I do with my life? What gives my life meaning? What gives me joy?



Our time in school gives us an opportunity to learn about ourselves and the world and then to use what we’re learning to allow us to do work that is worthwhile. Throughout school and life, as you choose the classes and areas of study and work in which you’re most interested and that best use your talents, you put yourself in a position to do work you like, are good at, and care about.


The WIN Mapping Process will help you to center in on The Sweet Spot. In every activity in which you participate, whether, for example,


  • you’re asked to play forward in soccer, a game you love + allows you to contribute your speed, or

  • you choose to volunteer at the humane society because you’re compassionate + you care about animals, or

  • you decide to study and practice law because you can communicate persuasively + you care about justice,

the WIN Map can serve to help you get on track and navigate to stay on track.



Excerpt: Chapter 4: Opportunities I See in the World


Exercise 4.4: Research Needs You See Around You

In order to identify where you can apply your talents to make a difference, it’s essential to research the Needs you see around you. Look to your family, school, community, and/or the world, and start to take notice of the Needs you see there.

At school, you might see:

- an area on campus that could be transformed into a vegetable garden

- classmates being excluded in the cafeteria

At home, you might see:

- your mom rushing to make dinner after a long day at work

- a younger sibling struggling with their homework

In your community, you might see:

- a lack of after-school opportunities for younger kids

- trash gathering in the local parks

In the world, you might see:

- a lack of school supplies for students in a community hit by a hurricane

- unsafe drinking water in a community in your state or country


Make a list of the Needs you see in your home, school, community, and in the world. Start now and then notice over the next few days and weeks what else you see. Update your list as you identify new Needs.


Excerpt: Chapter 6: On Your Way

Congratulations on completing this draft of your WIN Map. The insights and ideas you’ve captured in this process now—and will capture throughout your life—will provide the information you need to Map Your Path with Purpose. You can use this process to make decisions in the short term and long term, on small or big projects, and on education and career decisions as well as hobby and volunteering decisions.

Life is filled with ups and downs. All of our experiences can serve to teach us about ourselves—what matters most to us. Following your WIN Map won’t always be easy, but taking the time and doing the work on an ongoing basis is the surest path to connecting who you are to what you like and where you can make a difference—delivering the happiness, fulfillment, and success we all seek. When you’re on your path, you’ll find you have an abundance of resilience and hope to get you through the challenges.

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to our circumstances. It isn’t always easy. But the more challenging things are, the greater the sense of accomplishment we experience when they’re complete. Throughout your life, when you take the time to reflect and align who you are with what you care about, to be of service to something bigger than yourself, you build the responsibility, resilience, and resourcefulness that positions you well to deal with the challenges as opportunities.

With the insight you gain from mapping your “WIN,” you have what you need to take the lead in designing and navigating your best life.

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Stay tuned! If this approach resonates with you, Click Here, subscribe to START (scroll down), and we'll let you know when the Journal is available.

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San Francisco · Philadelphia

info@start-leadership.com