Connecting with this week’s Better Endings focus on joblessness or underemployment, our Life Mapping tool for this week can be used to envision a pathway to manifest a desired goal. As you engage with this GOAL-CLUSTER mind-mapping activity, I invite you to approach it with a childlike perspective, allowing “playful” ideas to emerge from your unconscious sandbox.
Using the template shown above, you can start by placing either a word, a phrase, or an image icon that represents a meaningful, desired goal (with perhaps a photo of yourself, smiling!) into the center of a page, with an X that segments the page into 4 quadrants around this GOAL-center.
Next, starting with the top/RESULTS quadrant, you can use free association to place words or phrases that represent what you will gain or how you will benefit with your goal ACHIEVED. Where these benefits or positive outcomes are meaningfully interconnected for you, you can draw lines or off-shooting branches showing these connections.
Next you can start filling in any of the other three quadrant sections, again using playful free association to ‘draw connections’ between ideas either within a quadrant or migrating across them.
For example, let’s say your goal is to take a trip to visit Ireland. RESULTS might include: “touching base with my heritage”; “expanding my horizons”; or “slowing down for awhile/ getting away”. Then branching off from one of these you might add, “gold at the end of the rainbow”, and off from that: “retire there?” [okay, now I am getting my own ideas; I love Ireland!]. Now under OBSTACLES, maybe you would write: “Money?” That may lead you to the RESOURCES space, where you can brainstorm how you might afford the trip; if so, you can connect this resource to the obstacle statement. Envisioning Resources might lead you also to think of some very real Solutions, see?
After filling in this GOAL-cluster mind-map so that you feel you have fleshed out all four quadrants with meaningful and helpful ideas, I invite you to go back and circle or use color to highlight those specific Resources and Solutions that can help you to actualize the RESULTS you desire to create in your life. You can also start a new page, placing any of the specific Results or Resources or Solutions (or Obstacles) you generated with the GOAL cluster into the center, and explore that aspect with its own, freestyle cluster mind-map.
Approaching this technique as a playful game will facilitate emergence of a mindful awareness that can stimulate “out of the box” solutions. Remember from Denise’s Guest Blog two weeks ago: “There IS NO BOX!”