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Trying to Decide Where to Go Next? Create a Life Map

The last part of 2015 brought a lot of changes to my life. My family situation changed, as did my living situation. I found myself trying to figure out what to do next — and where I want to go with my life in the long-term.

While I had to make some serious decisions quickly (like moving across the country and settling in before a new school year started for my son), for the most part, I’ve been waiting. Waiting to feel stable. Waiting to feel ready to figure out the next step. Waiting for my son to be properly settled in.

Now that we’ve reached that point, I’m ready to move forward with setting goals for my business and for my life. Before setting those goals, though, I’ve made a life map to help me decide where I should focus.

What is a Life Map?

Your life map is a graphical representation of your passions and priorities. It’s a way for you to sit down and work out what matters to you. It’s a way to brainstorm the things that are most important to you, and that you want to move forward with.

One of the great things about making a life map is that it forces you to see where you want to go with your life. Before you set goals, it can help to sit down and see what you want to do with your life and your business, and identify what really matters to you.

Once finished, you can use your life map to decide what goals to set, and which you should tackle first.

Creating Your Life Map

It can be very effective to use a regular piece of paper and a pencil to create your life map. There’s something about sitting down and using these utensils to write that allows you to really think about the situation.

Start by labeling your life map with something large in the middle. I called my life map “Living with passion and purpose,” because that is what I want from my life moving forward. Then, in smaller circles around that, I wrote the main things that I enjoy most in my life, that can enrich it, including:

  • Relationships
  • Travel
  • Business
  • Money
  • Writing
  • Making a Difference
  • Self-Improvement

All of these areas have sub-areas involved. For example, spoking out from the “Relationships” label, I’ve written my son’s name. Under “Business,” I’ve included my podcasts and websites. Your life map probably looks different, and that’s how it should be. This is an exercise in discovering your own passions and priorities.

Additionally, my map also includes arrows to denote places where my passions and priorities overlap. “Business,” “Money,” and “Writing” all overlap because they are interconnected with what I do. I’ve also seen that “Travel” and “Writing” can overlap, and “Travel” also connects with my son, who often goes on trips with me.

Once I looked at my life map and saw which items were most important to me, from “exercise” and “guitar” (under “Self-Improvement”) to “local political involvement” (under “Making a Difference”), I could figure out how to set goals and take steps to make my life happen in a way that is satisfying.

I don’t have it all figured out just yet, but my life map is helping me solidify what matters to me, and giving me an idea of where to start.

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