Sunday, November 25, 2012
BlogHer Book Club Review: My Life Map
I was really excited when I got the opportunity to review My Life Map by Kate and David Marshall. The timing was right since I'm on maternity leave and the sleep situation is not so bad. Being on leave for so long is also a great time to think about long-term planning. And you know I'm a planner.
After taking the Mondo Beyondo class last year, I'm a fan of doing introspective "work" and thinking about what I want out of life, instead of just floating through it trying to get to the next day. Admittedly, as a new 2-kid family, there are days where we're just trying to keep everyone happy, clean, and fed, but not so many that I can't keep an eye towards the future and the life I *want*.
This book is a guided journal to help you draw a detailed timeline of your life: past, present and most importantly, the future. It's structured very well to ease you into big goal-setting. I had a hard time getting started because it seemed too "big", but the questions are actually very directed and "bite sized". I love that it starts with the past and present, which are easy to map, since they are fact-based. This is a stepping stone to planning the future, and there are lots of exercises and questions to guide you.
What I especially love is the way they've structured the Maps - you do a "Whole Life" map first, and then a 10-Year Map, then individual "subject" ones for work, family, friends, play, learning, and service. It's all open to your interpretation, and you can do them in the order that makes sense. In fact, the authors suggest different ordering based on your particular outlook - whether you're a top-down or bottom-up thinker.
The authors' website has electronic copies of the Life Map form in several formats, which is very handy, especially if you intend to do this exercise more than once, which they recommend as you go through different stages in life.
My minor quibbles are about the physical book itself - I wish it was spiral-bound to make it easier to leave open when filling out the questions and making notes, and the hardcover binding gives me a bit of a mental block about writing in it, because it seems "too nice" to write in. I also would have loved an e-copy of the questions themselves, so that I could print copies and write on those, rather than in the nice book itself.
But I do think this is a great (and inexpensive!) tool for anyone considering their long term goals in all areas of their lives. It's the sort of thing that gives back as much as you're willing to put into it, and can be worked through over a period of many weeks or months.
So if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up, or are facing a transition period in your life, give this a try!
I was compensated for this review by BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are totally my own.