Hello Trail Blazers, and welcome to Day 3 of the “Create Your Motivational Action Plan” Series. I imagine some of you are sitting there with your poster board, crayolas and gluesticks, ready to start on your Motivational Action Plan – your one page action plan that will plot out the goal setting activities you need to take to conquer your Everest. While I find the concept of having a brand new box of 64’s delightful (you got the box with the sharpener in the back – didn’t you?) I am going to ask you to hold on just a while longer – we still have some ground work to do before we can start assembling our M.A.P.s. If you have been following along, you probably have a few pages written in your journal already. Day one, I had you answer some questions about your environment, and life in the valley. Day two, you named your Everest, and got very clear about what you want, what might get in your way, and what resources you have that can help you get to the summit. Today, we are going to talk about the lay out of the M.A.P. itself. Today, you are going to become a skilled cartographer for your life.
A cartographer is a person who studies and practices the art of making maps. You may have stumbled into this series thinking it’s a one-time and your are done deal… sorry to disappoint. Once you learn the skill of creating Motivational Action Plans – you will want to make one for every area of your life. That is where it can get messy – and if you are like me, your over-achieving creative side will want to take over and make things WAY too complicated. So, this is why we are going to sit at base camp a little longer and plan out our route before starting. Trust me – this will save some grief, aggravation and white-out in the long run.
Cartographers have the challenge of taking something that is 3-dimensional and accurately representing it 2-dimensionally. You will also face this challenge as you put your goals to paper… you are trying to take “life” and plot it out as a 2-dimensional list you can tick mark off…. but as we all know “it looks good on paper….” and doesn’t always have a way of working out “in-real life.” Life has a way of being unpredictable, yet we all make our to-do lists in such a linear fashion…. and when life gets in the way of our check marks, we get frustrated and give up. It happens time and time again.
This is why it’s important that we set “Waypoints” on our M.A.Ps. Waypoints are sets of coordinates that identify a point in physical space. Coordinates used can vary depending on the application. On geographical maps, coordinates used are “latitude” and “longitude.” Even though the Earth is spherical, and a map is flat, we can pinpoint where we are in reference to latitude and longitude and figure out exactly where we are on the Earths surface and measure the distance to our next way point. Mapping out our goals is very much the same. The “physical space” we use is “time” and the coordinates is our abilities, experiences and environment.
Lets take a goal that most of us can relate to such as – “I want to lose weight.” In order to plot out this goal on our M.A.P. we need to first know where we are now. The obvious answer is to weigh ourselves on a scale. However, that is only giving us one piece of data. In order to plot a waypoint, we need to know more than one dimension of information. We need to know what life is like at the weight we are now. What clothes am I wearing? Where do I shop? What foods am I eating? What level of exercise am I doing? In what activities do I participate? What activities do I avoid? What resources do I have if I feel burned out, tired or defeated? All of these pieces of information need to be plotted as “I AM HERE” on our M.A.P.
Next, we need to name our Everest….. How would losing weight impact my life? What would I be able to do that I currently can’t do now? How would I feel? What would I wear? Where would I shop? What would I eat? How would my life be different? How will I know when I’ve arrived?
Take some time today writing in your journal about your way points for your goals – whether they be business oriented or personal. Start with where you are now, and then write about what it will take to get there. Be as detailed as possible. Meet me back here tomorrow…. and until then, Hit the Heights.
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
The Natural Business Leadership Guide