The Big Picture: A Guide to Finding Your Purpose in Life — Press Release

UW-Madison Professor offers ‘Big Picture’ Advice for New Graduates — University of Wisconsin News

New Survey Data Finds Young-Adults Prioritize Purpose over Paycheck — Press Release and the UW School of Human Ecology Blog Post

Seek Your Purpose Before Your Paycheck — Acculturated

Top 5 Things to Say (and NOT Say) to a New College Graduate — Acculturated

Choosing Purpose… At Every Age. — Encore article, Midcentury Modern article

Talk Purpose with Your Young Adult — Free Life Reimagined online program

Finding Your Purpose at Any Age with Dr. Chrsitine Whelan — Engaging Presence

What Readers Say

The Big Picture offers excellent and comforting postcollege advice that helps graduates avoid feelings of tension, anxiety, uncertainty, and worry. It does something rare: it helps the reader realize what he or she really wants in his or her life, not what society or parents want. But most importantly, this book shows young adults in a calm and collected manner how to discover the many paths they can take. —Natalie Shribman, Bates College

This book was a wake-up call to find my purpose in life. I thought I had it all figured out, but The Big Picture helped me examine my current goals and aspirations, offering a new, meaning-focused perspective.  —Joseph Mazarella, Duquesne University

The Big Picture helped me so much more than I could have ever imagined. As I began reading, I realized that even though my real adult life hadn’t started, I’d noticed that the movie of my life had started, and I was in it now. The camera is rolling, and I’m ready for it—wherever it takes me. This book is helping me direct it. —Nico Galván, The New School

I honestly could have never gotten to where I am today without having worked through this book. It really made me think of my goals, dreams, values, and purpose. It made me think of how I want to live for the rest of my life, not only focusing on the short term but the long. Any kids who don’t know what they want to do with their lives should read this book. —Robert Hillard, University of Pittsburgh

I was not expecting that The Big Picture would teach me anything about myself, but it actually illustrated a lot about my priorities and showed me just how much legacy matters to me. I recently changed from premed to prelaw. I was confident in my decision at the time, but still had a few doubts that prelaw was the right move. This book helped cement my feeling that I made the right move. —Hugh Hamilton, University of Pennsylvania

The Big Picture is a relatable book that meets us where we are right now. It helped me reflect on my skills and values in a meaningful way—and then guided me toward action for a purposeful life as a college student and beyond. The exercises will help you get down to the heart of the matter and then, through personal exploration, begin to branch out to the larger purpose and goals. —Ally Tufenkjian, New York University

This book has made me more motivated to do something with my life starting right now. I’ve considered more careers than I had originally, too, because I want to do something that makes me feel good about my impact on the world. Plus, reading this book helped me limit my stress a bit. Whew! —Nikki Burnett, University of Pittsburgh

Advance Praise 

“If young adults could be guided in the right direction for a life journey of meaning and purpose, we would be grooming the leaders of tomorrow for a better world. This book is the perfect guide.” —Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and author of Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

“For those entering adulthood, purpose is fundamental to health, happiness, and creative work. Christine’s guidebook is the finest map of the territory today and an inspiring picture of what purposeful living can be all about—if we dare! Read this book to experience your life in a whole new way!” —Richard Leider, international bestselling author of The Power of Purpose, Life Reimagined, Work Reimagined, and Repacking Your Bags.

“The Big Picture is a researched, accessible, and practical guide that has everything young people need to figure out what to do with their lives.” —Pepper Schwartz, PhD, professor of sociology at the University of Washington and author of Finding your Perfect Match

“The Big Picture is very relevant and valuable for our youth—and I’m glad to see this initiative. Exercises like these can have a transformative impact on young adults. Indeed, purpose is an area in which we all would benefit from deeper reflection.” — Hitendra Wadhwa, professor, Columbia Business School

“Whelan’s book is a must-read for those asking “what next?” in college and beyond. Building off her popular classes at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Human Ecology, The Big Picture is a step-by-step guide for identifying what matters to you, and how to make your mark in the world.” —Soyeon Shim, PhD, dean of the School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This book isn’t for the “I think I’ll read, scratch my beard, and think” set. It’s for doers. It’s for people who want to live fulfilled, purposeful lives. Christine Whelan gives us a book that’s grounded in both science and philosophy. It’s interactive. It’s fun. Most important, it’s wise. I loved it. —Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH, professor and director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan School of Public Health

“The Big Picture is the ideal small-steps guide for young adults to reimagine their lives and seek purpose from the start. As the foremost expert in effective self-improvement, Christine Whelan offers a book that spans the generations.” — Emilio Pardo, president, Life Reimagined

“Rarely have pages in a book felt as comfortable and trustworthy as an old friend, but The Big Picture accomplishes that and more. Across the lifespan, understanding and implementing purpose in our lives is critical but can be daunting . . . not now! The journey to understanding your purpose now and beyond has been broken down into doable exercises and fun steps guaranteed to be a trip worth taking.”  —Janet Taylor, MD, MPH Psychiatrist

“No college grad should be without this priceless wisdom. The leading expert on self-help is your guide through interactive exercises, tested advice, and powerful tools to clarify your purpose and navigate next steps. The Big Picture is a research-based, fun way to get past uncertainty, doubt, or nagging from your parents so you can be your best self now.” —Rich Feller, PhD, past president, National Career Development Association

“They say laughter is the best medicine, but I disagree. The real key to lifelong health and happiness is purpose. As a physician I have seen the power of purpose play out in the lives of people of all ages. As the father of five I know that helping young people understand what matters most is essential to their enjoyment of all that life has to offer. I’d happily prescribe this book to anyone interested in exploring meaning in their lives. Christine Whelan doesn’t preach — she guides. Take this workbook on your journey as you ask what matters and how to make it happen.” —Bill Thomas, MD, founder of the Age of Disruption World Tour

“Research shows that having a purpose in life is linked to better health and better sleep — so why wait?” — Eric Kim, PhD, Harvard School of Public Health








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