Life Mapping: A Vision of Success

Success is more than economic gains, titles, and degrees. Planning for
success is about mapping out all the aspects of your life. Similar to a
map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination,
vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.

Origin:  Who you are

A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most
people when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi,
I’m Jean and I am a 17-year old, senior highschool
student.” It does not tell you about who Jean is; it only
tells you her present preoccupation. To gain insights about yourself,
you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles aside
from your economic, professional, cultural, and civil status. Moreover,
you can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your
good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and
weaknesses. Upon introspection, Jean realized that she was highly
motivated, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination
was in the biological-medical field. Furthermore, she believed that
life must serve a purpose, and that wars were destructive to human

Destination: A vision of who you want to be

“Who do want to be?” this is your vision. Now it is
important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea
of who you want to be; and the things you want to change whether they
are attitudes, habits, or points of view. If you hardly know yourself,
then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your
destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical,
emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Continuing Jean’s
story, after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life,
she decided that she wanted to have a life dedicated in serving her

Vehicle: Your Mission

A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can
be analogized to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent,
your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Bases on
Jean’s self-assessment, she decided that she was suited to
become a doctor, and that she wanted to become one. Her chosen vocation
was a medical doctor. Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to
live a life dedicated to serving her fellowmen as a doctor in

Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude

Food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities are contained
in a bag. Applying this concept to your life map, you also bring with
you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your
competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is
a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have
at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold
assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of
success. Jean realized that she needed to gain professional knowledge
and skills on medicine so that she could become a doctor. She knew that
she was a bit impatient with people so she realized that this was
something she wanted to change.

Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives

Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route
determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your life, you also
need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures
of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable,
realistic, and time bound. Thus you cannot set two major landmarks such
as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a
period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a
master’s degree is two years. Going back to Jean as an
example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map:
completing a bachelor’s degree in biology by the age of 21;
completing medicine by the age of 27; earning her specialization in
infectious diseases by the age of 30; getting deployed in local public
hospitals of their town by the age of 32; and serving as doctor in
war-torn areas by the age of 35.

Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes

The purpose of your life map is to minimize hasty and
spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But
oftentimes our plans are modified along the way due to some
inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Like
in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must
anticipate them and adjust accordingly.

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Diane Higgins

"Be your authentic self it's the path to success."-Psychologist Diane Higgins has authored numerous papers and has lectured extensively helping people find their authentic self, learn to be being purposeful and develop positive thinking. Diane is the author and/or editor of our Self Help Section. HigginsSelf HelpSelf HelpParenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids