What does my Life Map look like?
My previous post asked the question “What’s your purpose?”, and from the responses I received there are lots of people who are in agreement about the importance of knowing your purpose. I was very conscious, as I wrote the post, that there would be a significant number of my readers who were not able to answer that question. To this group I promised my next post would be about a tool I have been developing, called a Life Map.
Even if you do know your purpose, this Life Map tool offers you a way to check in on the alignment between your purpose, and what you do on a day to day basis.
“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” ― W. Clement Stone
The Life Map tool I have developed, is an example of a Lean Canvas. A Lean Canvas comes from the discipline of Design Thinking and is a tool which you use to make a quick, overall assessment about something. The Value Map from my post Is this a good idea or not? is also a lean canvas.
The Life Map tool looks like this:
The Life Map asks a series of questions. You should be able to answer most of them quite quickly. My advice would be to start with the ones you find the easiest to answer, and then move onto the ones that require a little more thinking. If there are questions you can’t answer, just leave that box empty.
The box that asks you to list who has had an impact on your life and why, also asks you to indicate whether this was a positive or a negative experience. Often things that impact us negatively can provide substantial insights into our values, which of course will be aligned to our purpose. I once worked with someone who was incredibly two-faced and manipulated relationships solely for their own benefit. This had a really negative impact on me because authenticity is one of my key values, and underpins part of my purpose which is, helping others to be successful. The people who have made a positive impact on us will, more than likely, have been feeding our passion, which of course is closely linked to purpose.
Once you have filled in as many of the boxes as you are able (except the one that says My purpose is…) look over the Life Map in its entirety and identify the patterns that emerge from the collection of your answers. You might be surprised. Reflect on the pattern that you see noting that your purpose:
Will make use of your strengths in a way that you enjoy
Be something you are good at
Will reflect the positive impact you’ve allowed others to have on your life
Will be something you are passionate about.
Now have a go at writing your purpose in a sentence, based on the information you have aggregated on your Life Map. If you are still stuck, share your map with others who know you well, and ask them for their input.
Knowing your purpose, allows you to describe what you do in a memorable way. For example, if you are a teacher, you could say “I prepare the next generation for success”. Or an accountant, “I help companies gain the most value from their financial resources”. When people ask me what I do, I don’t say I’m the Founder/CEO of Weaving Futures. I say “I help people and organisations design compelling futures”. Not only does describing your job in terms of your purpose sound better, it is also more memorable.
I sincerely hope that the Life Map tool will help you uncover or strengthen your understanding about your life’s purpose. If you know of others who would benefit from using the Life Map tool, then please forward this post onto them.
If you would like a copy of the Life Map tool then send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll happily send you a PDF that you can print off and use.
Till next time,
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