How to Create a Map For Your Life’s Vision

Jamie Smith Coaching


Not knowing what you want in life doesn’t have to mean you’re lost. It just means you’re at the starting point of figuring it all out. This can be a confusing place to be, but it can also be a very exciting place to be if you just shift your perspective. Thinking about what you want in life is the first step towards gaining clarity of your vision. If you skip this step and don’t take the time to explore and do some self discovery, then “lost” is how you might continue to feel. And let’s face it, feeling foggy and directionless isn’t a fun place to be.

If this is you, and you’re feeling lost or like you don’t know where you want to go with your life, let me help you create a map. A process that will help you re-discover who you are and a map that will guide you to the future version of yourself that you’re trying to become.

If we could go to the store and just buy a “life map”, we would all have already purchased our copy, don’t you think? They’d have a hard time keeping them on the shelves. Because who wouldn’t want to know the exact path to their own personal version of success and happiness? Unfortunately, this map will never be available for purchase, and even if it was, it certainly wouldn’t be one size fits all. Fortunately, this “life map” is available to you, just not on the shelves at a convenience store. You get to create it!

Think of all the times you’ve ever had to look at a map in life. Your most recent experience might have been on a new campus, a theme park, or an outlet mall. Wherever it was, chances are, you’ve had a similar experience to the rest of us when it comes to how you actually used that map to get from point A to point B.

When we’re in unfamiliar territory, the decision to look at a map in the first place comes natural to us. It’s actually the first thing most of us think to do because we know a map exists, and that looking at it will make our lives so much easier. So, think of how nice it would be to have a map for your life too. So that when you’re feeling lost, you can always refer to it to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

Let’s break down the process of using a regular map and apply this same process to the idea of creating your own life map.

Starts with self awareness

When we first look at a map, we look for the red star that says “You are here”. This part of the process is you gaining an understanding of where you are right now in relation to where you’re trying to get to. No one can get to where they want to be without fully understanding exactly where they are right now. This is the self awareness that’s necessary for us to move forward, create positive change, and start achieving our goals.

So, the very first thing you need to do is look at where you’re at in life right now. What do you like about your life? What do you not like? What would you like to do more or less of? What do you have that you’re grateful for and what might be missing? What are you proud of yourself for and where might you need to improve?

What’s my vision?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you now have a greater understanding of your own personal “red star position” in life. The next thing you need to do after you’ve gotten clear on where you are now, is figure out where your destination is. On a theme park map this might be a certain ride, or at a mall it might be your favorite store. In creating a map for your life though, this is the part where you create your vision. The vision is the destination. So, think of those two words as synonymous now.

In creating your vision, you have to ask yourself where’d you like to end up. In other words, what is the destination you’re trying to get to on your map of life? When you close your eyes or daydream about your future self, where is she? Who is she surrounded by? What are the most important things to her? What does she value most? What has she accomplished? How does she feel? What does she spend her time doing? What kind of impact has she left on her loved ones and on the world? Once you answer all of these questions, you’re well on your way to creating a clear destination and a beautiful vision for you life.

Consider the different paths life has to offer

Now that you’re clear on where you’re headed, you start to consider all the different paths you could take to get there. And there are often times multiple paths that could lead you to the same destination. Knowing this should bring you some peace of mind as you journey through the map of your life. Because sometimes, we can worry that we aren’t on the “right path”, but there are multiple “right paths”, and you’ll always have the chance to reroute if you need to.

When you’re looking at a map and trying to decide which path to take, you might make your decision based on ease, or maybe based on what else you might like to see or do along the way. At a mall it might be that you want to visit a couple of other stores as you make your way to your main destination. At a theme park you might want to stop for a churro before you hop on the next ride. By the way, I highly recommend you stop for the churro! And by “stop for the churro”, I mean don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way.

This part of the process where you’re considering the different paths you could take, is you laying down the stepping stones that you’d like to cross or need to cross to get to your destination. These stepping stones are the things you’d like to do along the way and the goals you’d like to achieve. And these goals and activities, one by one, will move you in the direction of your vision; that ultimate dream destination that you can see when you close your eyes.

Life’s about the journey

After you’ve mapped out the paths and defined your goals, the only thing left to do is begin your journey. Only now, you no longer have to feel lost and directionless. You can feel confident knowing you’re headed in the right direction. Because you took the time to gain some self awareness around who you are today. You got clear on your vision and who you want to be in the future. You defined the goals it’ll take to get you there and gave some thought to what you’d like to do along the way. Now it’s just putting one foot in front of the other and remembering to enjoy yourself as you go. After all, life is more about the journey than it is about the destination. Because how we feel once we’ve arrived at the destination is dependent on how we chose to live our lives. So, make the most of your life. You only get one.

Your values are your compass

As you use your new map of life to guide you, there will inevitably be times where you get to a fork in the road and you’ll feel uncertain of which way to go. When this happens, I encourage you to think about your personal values. Your values are your guiding principles and will act as your compass. If you turn to them, they will always point you towards your true north.

Some of my personal values are freedom, growth, and honesty. And in the moments I feel lost or unsure of which decision to make, I turn to these values and let them help me make the right choice and take the right path that’s most aligned with my authentic self. You can use your values to help you make the best choices for you too. Living in alignment with your personal values is just another way you can move confidently in the direction of your dreams.

It’s important to remember a few key things along the way:

Don’t forget to have some fun!

It’s okay to take the scenic route or take a few detours from time to time.

It’s okay for your vision to change in the future. You’re the cartographer and you can update your map anytime.

Don’t forget your compass is always in your pocket when you feel lost.

The most important thing is that once you’ve taken the time to create this map of life, remember to refer to it often and to make adjustments to it as you go. Road maps change all the time because of constant construction. Your life is under constant construction too, because if you’re anything like me, you’re in constant pursuit of the best version of yourself, and you my friend are the biggest and most important project that you’ll ever work on.

Take the time to evaluate your progress, re-create your pathways, and get re-centered to your true north as often as you need. And give yourself some grace along the way because even with a map, it’s still possible to feel lost from time to time and sometimes, getting lost might be exactly what you need to find yourself again.

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