mapping your way to the life you want - leadership - self leadership

part 3 of 3

Remember the first post of this serie? The one where I mention the 3 leadership skills everyone should learn?

If not, that’s ok, here’s a little recap: the first leadership skill was ownership (that’s a big one and a hard but necessary one at that); the second one was proactivity (this is where things get fun and you get to add some motion to your game); and now the third one: mapping!

Mapping is where everything comes together.

It’s the focus needed once you’ve taken ownership of your circumstances and you’ve decided to move forward, building the life of your choosing.

Re-read that last part for me: the life of your choosing.

That’s right! Self-leadership is about putting you in the driver seat of your own life. And when you in the driver seat, you choose where the car is going!

But if you want the car to go in the direction you want, you need to map out your route.

Mapping is about having a detailed plan of where you are headed.

Ever get in a car, not knowing where you’re going?

Chances are, you won’t get very far. You may drive around and finally figure out where you want to go, but that’s a lot of waisted time. And you shouldn’t have time to waste!

You have a life to enjoy, goals to reach, places to discover, experiences to live…

You need to start mapping!

In the same way your GPS calculates a route, you need to start with your destination.

Your destination is your starting point.

And then work backwards from there. As ironic as it sounds, mapping starts at the end so you properly align your beginning.

Let’s break it down old school : Mapping 101

First, identify where you want to go. This is crucial. I could spend an entire blog post on this (should I? you let me know!).

In order to lead your life, in order to get to the life you are dreaming of, in order to create something grand for yourself… you need to know exactly what that is.

I often hear people tell me they want more money. But what they truly want, are the experiences that money can bring them. Having X amount of money in a bank account is not going to change much. It’s what you are going to do with that money that makes a difference. Whether you spend it on traveling the world, offering yourself or your children a greater education or donating it all to a great cause once your soul has moved on, it that, that you want, not the money itself.

So when you are ready to identify your destination, do so clearly. If you enter in your GPS that you want to go downtown, it may not take you directly to the corner of 3rd and 54th Ave., which is actually what you truly want.

I know I’m being redundant here but be specific. As specific as an address or intersection on a map!

Second, you need to break down the route to your final destination in easily navigable sections.

Each section is a goal, in and of itself.

It is the accomplishment of each of those small goals that gets you to your bigger goal: your destination.

If for example the destination on your map is to be the Executive Director of your division you need to own (first leadership skill!) where you currently are. Let’s say you are currently working at the entry level of customer service, you would need to break down each step (promotions, trainings, networking) in mini-goals.

Each step, each goal, becomes a piece of the road that gets you to your desired destination.

Getting back to our example, if the next step is for you to get promoted to Director of Customer Service, then you need to be proactive (our second leadership skill!) and take all the necessary steps to reach that goal.

And so one and so forth with every small goal until you get to the big final goal.

Third, and this is another one I could repeat ad nauseam, you need to stay the course.

Mapping is only good if you are willing to stay the course.

If midway through your training to become that Director of Customer Service, you decide to quit or you no longer put in the efforts, you need to make that decision knowing you may not reach your intended destination.

Your map will only take you to your destination if you follow the route.

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If you choose to go rogue, you may never get to your destination.

And that is something you need to be conscious about.

It’s not enough to want something. It’s not enough to map out your goals and break them down in smaller achievable goals. It’s not enough to start with a heap of enthusiasm.


Even when it gets tough, even when you are unmotivated, even when you think you no longer want to reach that goal (often times, it’s not that you don’t want to reach that goal, it’s that you don’t want to put in the efforts to reach that goal anymore!), you need to stay the course.

As you can see, the 3 leadership skills you need all build on each other: you need to own your circumstances, in order to be proactive in the pursuit of the goals you map for yourself.

Mapping may seem like the easiest of the skills but in my opinion, it is one of the hardest. Simply because you need to get really personal and honest about what you want and where you want to go.

In order to help you do that, here’s a little meditation and visualization practice to help quiet your mind and get you to listen to that inner whispering voice.

Visualization and Meditation practice

Sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed, your back straight and your chin slightly tucked in.
Close your eyes and take 8 deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
As you breath, focus on the sound of your breath. When your mind wanders away, come back to that sound.
At the end of the 8th breath, go back to your normal breath.
Imagine what it would be like to live the life you truly want: what would it feel like, what would it entail. Be as specific as possible in your visualization. See the details of what you are wearing, where you are standing, what you are saying… See everything in clear details.
Then come back to the sound of your breath.

With time, your destination will be made clear…


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