Over the years I’ve heard many people talk about the idea of making a life-map. At first I had no clue what that was or why anyone would want to do it – other than maybe they had too much time on their hands. But as I learned more I found saw that lifemapping can help bring clarity to decision-making and bring some sanity to all the crazy experiences of life.
If you are interested in lifemapping, here are some terms to start with… more to come later.
Concepts for Lifemapping:
LifeMap – a general term to describe the process of laying out your past experiences, learnings and wiring to get some sense of how your life is “playing out” so far. It includes creating some kind of a picture or grid or distilling list that helps one gain direction for future decisions and priorities. When done well—a lifemap does more than describes the past, it also helps define your present and determine your future.
Mega-themes – if you watch most any movie you can see a plot developing, even before you’re half-way through it. And near the end you practically know the ending sometimes, even if some surprises could still develop. Your life has themes just like a movie, and by watching closely for even less time than it takes to watch a movie, you can see some mega-themes develop in your life. A mega-theme is more than just a thread of connection in your life—it’s something that just keeps coming up over and over again that must have overall significance to your life.
Life Wedge – The more narrow the wedge the deeper the impact. The wider the wedge the more shallow the impact. Narrow down your focus in life and hit your target deeper. You may want to put a giant wedge pointing down on a poster and put your life map on it.
Life Arrow – Your life adds up to a unified direction in the future. Like an arrow your life should point to something—like your ultimate contribution. You may want to put a giant arrow pointing to the right on a poster and put your life map on it.
Life Scroll – God sees your entire life like an opened scroll. But you only see one portion of the scroll. You may see experiences and paths developing in this season and draw conclusions that are wrong for the future. You don’t know where every path leads or how every experience ties in to the future. However, sometimes God opens up a huge portion of your life scroll for you to see and gain greater clarity. A calling often includes this. And the lifemapping process itself can contribute to that effect (because you’re unrolling the past portion of the scroll and you can see things coming together into a larger mural. You may want to take a giant long piece of paper put your life map on it (left to right), then roll up the sides like a scroll.
Hinge-Pin Impact – Like a door on a house, you can be a hinge-pin to something bigger. Find the place at which you connect something smaller (a door) to something bigger (a wall, a house, a castle) that God is doing. Then you’re making a bigger difference than all your day to day squeaks and rust shows.
Word of the Year – Choose a word each year which the Spirit impresses on you and pray that God would teach you about that word in Scripture and in your development that year. Review it often.
Fortune Tide – “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” –Julius Caesar (William Shakespeare). The purpose of lifemapping has less to do with content than timing. As the Fortune Tide principle points out, good leaders not only know what to do but when to do it.
*Many of my LifeMap terms and the concepts associated with them originate from the life planning ideas of Steve Moore (Charting the Course), Keith Drury (Strategetics), Robert Clinton (Leadership Emergence Theory), John Trent (The Blessing), John Maxwell (InJoy, etc), Marcus Buckingham (Now, Discover Yours Strengths, etc) and Donald Clifton (Strengthsfinder).