I had a dream last night about being lost and confused en route to the beach. It seems I jumped in my car and thought I knew how to get to the ocean instinctively. (In real life I reside in WI so that would be quite a trick). I took a few too many wrong turns and ended up in a diner in the middle of nowhere wishing that I had consulted a map and plotted my route.
When I opened my eyes this morning with the dream still fresh in my mind, I had this flash of “Yeah, I need a map!”. As the fog of sleep receded I realized what I actually need is to create a roadmap for my life and business aspirations for this New Year. You may be familiar with the saying; “If you don’t have a destination and a map to get there, how will you know when you’ve arrived?”
In working with clients in career and life transitions, I have found the Mind Mapping process to be invaluable as a method to open up new possibilities for fulfilling work, create business plans and orchestrate life changes. It is a technique to utilize both the linear, analytical, logical side of the brain with the intuitive, creative, artistic side. Definition: “the Mind Map is the external mirror of your own radiant or natural thinking facilitated by a powerful graphic process, which provides the universal key to unlock the dynamic potential of the brain.” (from mindmapping.com)
We are taught to make lists and write or type from the left to the right in rows. The brain doesn’t think linearly, it works by association branching out in many directions from each thought.
As you think about what you want to accomplish in the New Year, you may want to access both your intellect and your intuition, the left and right sides of your brain respectively. Give it a try!
How to Mind Map:
1. Use a large piece of paper, like flip chart size or poster board.
2. Place your topic in the center of the page and work outward.
3. Use color and graphics to represent themes, associations and to emphasize.
4. Play some invigorating music to stimulate your right brain.
5. Keep your writing hand moving, if you don’t know what to write next, add color or circle words of importance.
6. Consider using stars, arrows and icons to connect different ideas or elements.
Don’t censor yourself, as ideas pop into your head, get them down on the paper. Think of this exercise as making a giant doodle with a purpose; to utilize your whole brain! Use whatever arts and craft stuff you have on hand: crayons, markers, colored pencils, stamps, stickers etc. For some visual examples and more information on Mind Mapping check out these resources:
The Mind Map Book, by Tony Buzan and Mindmapping, by Joyce Wycoff are my favorites.