Vision mapping is the process of defining your road map towards achieving your big vision. It is the act of outlining clear steps for accomplishing what you truly desire. A vision map can take the form of a list, timeline, illustration, mind map or diagram.
A vision map should not to be confused with a vision board. A vision board is an inspirational collage that provides a visual representation of our vision but does not clarify the path that will lead us there.
Vision mapping starts with vision
Vision mapping is a simple and intuitive process but unfortunately it often gets overlooked.
First you’ll need to define your life vision and get clear on your future goals and what you want out of life.
If you’re not clear on your vision for your life yet I recommend you start with a future visioning session which will help you create your vision for the future.
You’ll need a clear vision of the future you desire and that’s hard to do if you don’t know what you want from life yet. First you have to get clear on your aspirations in life first, only then you can move on to figuring out how to create the life you want.
Break it up
You need a vision for every meaningful area of your life and you also need a road map for each area.
You could create a separate vision map for each but I recommend you have one that combines them all. This way you’ll be able to see how your visions and goals play into each other. It might help you spot connections you didn’t know were there.
Which path is right for you?
Let’s say you envision your future weekends spent on a sail boat. That can be achieved in many different ways and different paths can lead you there.
So what paths can lead you towards a sailboat? Well, there’s the one where you make a lot of money, buy yourself a boat hire a skipper and off you go sipping at a glass of wine with wind in your hair. Then there’s the one where you get a sailing licence and become said skipper. Maybe you can join a sailing club or perhaps you can trade your house for a sailboat and roam around the world.
There are many ways that lead to the same destination and the goal of vision maps is to outline which path is right for you and define what steps you can take in order to achieve your vision.
I can’t help but think about the episode of Friends where Rachel turns thirty realises she is running behind on her family plans and breaks up with the hot assistant. I was sad to see him go …
Anyway, why on earth would I use a comedy show as an example? Well Rachel has a plan, a vision map if you will.
She wants 3 kids, first one of which she wants by the age of 35 which means she needs to get pregnant at 34. She also wants to be married for a year before getting pregnant and she needs to plan the wedding for a year and a half. That brings her to the conclusion that she would need to meet her future husband and father of her kids by the time she’s thirty.
She realises she should already be dating the right guy and breaks up with Tag whom she does’n think is fit to be a father yet.
A vision map stars with the end in mind. Looking at your big vision try to backtrack what steps would you need to take in order to get there.
Make it visually appealing
I like to do my vision map in the form of a mind map. You might find it more appealing to format it as a timeline or perhaps as an illustration of a staircase leading up to your dream where each stair represents a milestone. Maybe you prefer lists.
What I’m trying to say is that a vision map can take many forms, find the one that works best for you. Keep it simple, visually appealing and concise.
Keep it simple
A vision map is supposed to be condensed and comprehensive so don’t be discouraged if you can’t seem to get clear on your roadmap 5, 10, 20 or more years from now. You’re not supposed to figure it all out, not yet.
It’s hard to get clear about every minuscule detail and every small action we need to perform as we look into the future we desire. And the further away we look the less clear the path becomes. This is perfectly normal and the best thing we can do is to accept it.
Visualising, brainstorming and doodling is fun but doesn’t help if you never look back at your vision map.
Vision mapping is only helpful when we make a habit of revising the map often. You need to take time to reconnect to your vision, to keep it top of mind and use it to guide you whenever faced with a decision.
And maybe in the future your vision will change. Maybe you’ll take a different path than the one outlined in your vision map. That’s ok, you can’t predict the future nor how will you change throughout the years. That’s why it’s important to get back to the drawing board whenever you feel a disconnect.
The core of what we want in life, our purpose, usually stays the same even when the details change. The vision map, although ultimately flawed, will help you get closer to it.
Nothing changes if nothing changes and if you’re wanting more out of life you’ll need to take action in the right direction.
You need to get out of your comfort zone, embrace fear and do the hard bits too. What will ultimately set you off on the way to your dream life is action. You must take action, set goals and do your best to achieve them.