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I have zero sense of direction. When my creator was handing out directional skills right before my entrance into the world, I must have been in the bathroom, because I somehow skipped this in the assembly line. I want to scream when someone tells me to head 'east', because in reality, I am parked at a 7-Eleven somewhere at the height of the day surrounded by a Walmart, McDonalds, and vast parking lot with only 1 exit.
There is never a sign with an arrow that says, “this way east”, in these circumstances. All I can say is that I am truly grateful that the universe manifested GPS. Before it, I was afraid, and it hindered me from exploring new places, and doing things I really wanted to do. I feared getting lost and not being able to find my way.
Some people approach their life in this manner. There is no map, no GPS, a lot of fear, and a constant circling of the gargantuan parking lot with only 1 exit. Are you one of these people? Are you stuck?
Without a life map, we lose sight of what we really want out of life. We make rash or reactive decisions that may or may not have negative consequences. We never reach our full potential because in reality, we have never stopped to consider what that is. We just keep circling the parking lot. (And if you are like the husband who can't fathom why such a big lot would only have 1 exit, a few choice words are being sung in harmony.)
The top 5 benefits of creating a life map....
- You identify what is really important to you during your short time here on earth.
- You discover your passion(s) and potential.
- You maintain good health and daily self-care practices.
- You will avoid a lifetime of “should have's, would have's, could have's” = REGRET.
- You feel happy and fulfilled knowing you are living by your values, core desired feelings, and life's purpose.
I am a big fan of Danielle LaPorte's book, Desire Map: The Guide to Creating Goals with Soul. Since I operate a lot on intuition and feelings, working through her process to identify my core desired feelings made a huge difference in my ability to create goals that meant something, had purpose and meaning to me. How great is it to wake up every day exited to face the world? (Well, almost every day, because face it, there are times where we have to do stuff that just comes with life...like dreaded paperwork.)
There are many different ways to create a life map. Some call it a life plan. (I prefer 'map' because it resonates more with my internal desire to visit new places and live an adventurous life.) Some are highly structured, others are free flowing and more visual. You need to develop the format that suits you. However, I will share what I have done as an example.
I first started with a regular text document and answered the following questions:
- How do I want to be remembered by the people that were in my life? I broke it down to family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
- Who are the most important people in my life? I came up with the Universe (my spiritual guide), the husband, family, friends, colleagues, and clients I serve.
- What areas in my life are the most important? I identified spirituality, self care, the husband, family (parents and brother), friends, career, and fun/recreation as my top choices. There are others: personal growth, finances, religion, etc.
- I then created a 'map' for the people/areas in my life with the following bulleted information: my envisioned future (written in present tense), where I am currently (be honest), action steps to get to my envisioned future (of which I then put on my calendar), my core desired feelings, and an inspirational quote or photo.
For example, my Friends entry looks something like this..
- Envisioned Future – I am surrounded by a close, core group of friends. I nourish these relationships by being genuine, giving, and a good listener. My relationships are give and take, and foster mutual respect.
- Core Desired Feeling(s) - Connected
- Where I Stand Now – I sometimes neglect friendships, especially if I get busy.
- Action Steps – I will accept opportunities to meet new people. I will listen and strive to understand others. I will gather with friends at least once a week.
- Inspiration - Oprah Winfrey - “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
Finally, since I am a visual person, I went ahead and created a private Pinterest vision board, and added photos and quotes that represented each person/area on my life map. I added 'to review my Pinterest board every morning' as part of my morning routine.
Creating a life map takes a little planning and 'quiet time' for reflection. However, it is well worth the time spent!
Want to develop your own map but need a little accountability or motivation? Comment below and share some of your plan with others. Don't get stuck in the parking lot!