Friday, July 22, 2011

Feeling a little lost? Figure out your map-whatever that may be.

My blog has been on a little hiatus, but hopefully you'll be seeing more in the coming weeks.  Perhaps I need a map to get back into my routine or maybe I just needed a holiday, which I am in the midst of taking.  

Recently I posted a status saying “Feeling a little lost” as I was, well…feeling a little lost about something.   A friend replied “Breathe. And figure out your map...whatever that happens to be.”  

This really made me think, maybe because I have a background in mapping.  Figure out your map.   I liked the metaphor and saw that the steps to constructing a good map held true no matter the situation.
A good map will have elements that render it useful and there are things to be decided before starting the process.  What is the purpose if your map?  What does the person using it need? How will you generalize or simplify because of course you can’t put in everything on one map?  What is the area of coverage?  Why are you including certain information?  Lastly, the idea of “Less is more” should be a guiding principle.  

You need to think about where you are and where you want to be.  On a map you plot your locations and in life this involves assessing your current situation and clearly defining the goal and end result you want to achieve.  Knowing a path will help you figure out the resources you’ll need to get there.  Don’t worry if you don’t have them, just knowing what you need allows you to be open and aware so you can find the resource or see an alternative resource is presented.  

You need to simplify or generalize so that your path is clear and focussed.  Pick one goal and look at the map that will get you there.  This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one map, but focus on one map and work out the map to the level of detail that is appropriate at this stage.  

Your area of coverage is to be considered too.  Perhaps your map is to take you from an unhealthy lifestyle to healthy lifestyle and will contain elements such as physical activity, eating well, sleep habits, meditation… or maybe you already have the big picture but want to focus on the physical activity and are planning your trip from inactivity to activity and will focus on this.  Remember that when navigating a course there are often several maps to get you there.  You will have overview maps that you use for planning the general direction and time it will take, but you’ll also have more detailed maps that show street names, landmarks and one way streets to help you navigate the moment to moment turns in your path.  

Know why you are including certain information as you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the details at the planning stage and you don’t want to see the whole world when you are trying to navigate through a construction zone within the city.  Show enough information for the focus and purpose of your map.

Less is more.  If you bring in every element of your life into your roadmap from A to B, it will become crowded and difficult to see where you are going.  This is why we have a map, to remove the distractions so we can see the clear way through.  Of course you have to be aware of the obstacles that may derail you, but make sure that whatever you are including in the map is important and vital to reaching your goals.  The distractions already exist in your life.  Don’t add them to your map. 

I hope each of you goes out and builds your map, whatever that may be to help you see your way forward. 

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