Life Mapping: A Vision of Success

Life Mapping: A Vision of Success

Life Mapping: A Vision of Success
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Success is more than just economic gains, titles, and degrees.

Yet planning for success (as you define it) starts with mapping out all aspects of your life.

Similar to a map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.

Origin: Who Are You?

A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now.

People, when asked to introduce themselves, could say something like, “Hi, I’m Jean and I am a 17-year-old, senior high school student.”

However, this does not tell you about who Jean is; it only tells you her present preoccupation.

To gain useful insights about yourself, you need to look more closely at your beliefs, values, and principles, as well as your economic, professional, cultural, and civil status.

You can reflect on your experiences to give you insights into your ‘good’ and not-so-great traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses.

Upon introspection, Jean finds out that she is a motivated person, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination was in the biological-medical field.

She believed that life must serve a purpose, and that wars destroyed human dignity.

As you can see, this gives us a more detailed and rounded description of who Jean is. This should be the minimum you do when you reflect on yourself.

Destination: A Vision of Who You Want to Be

“Who do you want to be?” This is your vision.

It is important that you know yourself so that you can have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things you want to change, whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view.

If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.

Continuing Jean’s story, after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decided she wanted to have a life dedicated to serving her fellow humans.

Vehicle: Your Mission

A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. You can analogise it as your mission or vocation in life.

To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Based on Jean’s self-assessment, she decided it suited her to become a doctor, and that she wanted to become one.

Her chosen vocation was a medical doctor. Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to live a life dedicated to serving her fellow humans as a doctor in conflict-areas.

Travel Bag: Your Knowledge, Skills and Attitude

You can carry food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities in a bag. Applying this concept to your life map, you can also bring with you knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way.

This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success. Jean realised she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills in medicine so that she could become a doctor.

She knew she could be impatient with people, so she understood that this was something she wanted to change.

Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. Objectives

Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your life, you also need to have landmarks (goals) and a route.

These landmarks are your measures of success. They must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound (S.M.A.R.T.).

You cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within three years. The minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two, so this would be an unattainable goal.

Going back to Jean’s example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map: completing a bachelor’s degree in biology by the age of 21; completing medicine by the age of 27; earning her specialisation in infectious diseases by the age of 30; getting deployed in local public hospitals in their town by the age of 32; and serving as a doctor in war-torn areas by the age of 35.

Anticipate Turns, Detours and Potholes

Jean’s example looks very far into the future. You don’t need to go so far if you don’t want to and be aware these landmarks might change, both in exact times and results.

You should allow flexibility, but it’s better to have a map in place to focus your mind and provide you with accountability.

Your map is your guide, but things can change. That’s OK.

The purpose of your life map is to minimise hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. Often, our plans change along the way because of inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control.

Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes, so we must expect them and adjust accordingly.

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