By this time, you’ve got some useful tools that are hopefully nudging you forward out of your analysis paralysis. We’re not done! Get your webshooters ready as we jump to building #4 — Mind Mapping.
We’re still in the visioning part of the process. This is more than an exercise, it is a useful tool. It especially helps if you are a visual learner. This is something that I learned to do in college during my Interior Design degree. (Although, I don’t remember calling it mind mapping.) In creating a concept and being able to move into the planning phase — you have to take into consideration many factors. It helps to be able to “get them out of your head”… and onto paper or use software designed for this specific purpose. By actively identifying the factors and seeing them, you can move forward in your planning process. You can use this tool from everything to moving past anxieties (see below) to changing careers.
A mind map diagram helps you find a way to make your ideas, concepts, realities, whatever it is you need to map out… tangible so that you can understand it. It helps you clear out the cobwebs. You are creating a flow chart… this type of diagraming exercise helps you see areas of your vision that work — what works together. And, also helps define what does not work.
Need an example? The diagram above is an example of a mind map. It is a representation of my evolving vision. I’m not done with it yet… it’s still a work in progress. The more that I work at it, the closer I can get to reaching a tangible end product. To see it in more detail, click on the photograph and it will automatically generate a larger photo.
Creating a mind map of my vision has helped on multiple levels. For example, one area of frustration for me, I have found that sometimes I lack the ability to convey a large idea into something people can understand. And, that become a sticking point for me. Mind mapping has offered me a way to break down ideas into smaller… more digestable pieces.
Don’t feel as though you have to show off to the world the maps you create. This is about your moving forward and sometimes that is a personal step for your eyes only.
So, how do you get started?
- paper & pen
- dry erase board/pen
The easiest way is with a good old fashioned pen and pad of paper. It will involve lots of scribbling and scratching out. You may find the activity of physically scratching out information cathartic and satisfying. If you can do it on a large dry erase board… all the better. Then, as you evolve in whatever it is that you are working out… your dry erase board will represent the evolution process. You’ll be able to physically see the changes happen. Which is very rewarding!!
If the computer is your cup of tea, I have stumbled upon a great website called Bubbl. Check it out. It allows you to import/export images, collaborate with colleagues, and share your creations. All the diagrams in today’s post were created using Bubbl.
Mind Mapping: Anxieties
Let’s say you’ve got a lot of anxieties going on while you are looking for work. That makes sense… and it’s easy to understand. We’ve all got them. First, create a “bubble” on your page or dry erase board (you’ll want to put it in the center) and label it “anxieties”. Next, draw a line to another bubble… this represents an anxiety you have. You can color code them if you would like. Continue doing this in a circular pattern. (See diagram below.) Draw lines to individual bubbles for any anxieties that you have. It can be whatever… write ALL of them down. Get them out of your head! For me, anxieties range from paying bills to wanting to learn new information that fills in the “unknowns” for my vision. Your mind map will most likely take the shape of a bulls-eye. See my diagram below. This is a great exercise to have a visual of all the worries that plague us. It’s great when we can find solutions to them and then physically scratch them off our map.
Mind Mapping: Career Paths
Another mind mapping diagram example (similar in shape) could be if you are trying to narrow down what career you want to focus on. What direction do you want to go in… you may be having trouble narrowing down your options… there are lots of ideas and interests swirling around in your mind. Similar to the last exercise, draw a bubble in the center of your page/board and label it “career paths”. Now, draw a line to an individual bubble and write down a job/career path you have wanted to do. Continue to do this… draw bubbles for any/all jobs you have ever wanted to do and have done in your life. You may want a big sheet of paper for this! Go back as far as childhood.
These are just a few examples of how you can use this tool. You may find there are other areas you are stuck in that you need to “pull apart”. Get creative and start scribbling. Trust me… it will make a difference.
You never know what you’ll uncover… or how your ideas will change. This is a wonderful tool in helping you move forward!