In our last article our 18 year-old John completed his mind map for the time-frame 12 years down the road when he is 30 years old. He put in writing in his mind map his various dreams and goals across three areas – family, career, and personal. However, there is a large gap between where John is right now at 18 and where he wants to be when he is 30. Now comes a crucial step for John. He must answer the question, “How do I get there from here?”
When we introduced John in this series we identified the time-frames that he will plan for. The exact time-frames are flexible and can be defined as John desires. The most important thing is that these time windows make sense to the person creating the mind map – in this case John. Here is the mind map we laid out for John: (all images will enlarge when clicked)
With his age 30 mind-map completed, the next time-frame for John is the next seven years. At the end of that window he will be 25 years old. This period is exactly five years before the age 30 period he has already completed. With each new time period, John has to review the plans he has already written to make sure that what he plans in this new time-frame truly enables him to accomplish what he has already written in his longer time-frames. For example:
- Family. John wants to be living near his parents when he is 30 in order to be able to take care of them. The likelihood of that happening will depend in large part on John’s decisions by age 25. He has to make sure that this new time-frame takes location into account.
- Career. John said that when he is 30 he will be in his 7th year of work as an engineer. In order for this to happen, John needs to have already been an engineer for two years by the time he is 25. If he were now to write that by age 25 he wants to start his first job as an engineer, there is no way he will be in his 7th year of work when he is 30. This is why he must review what he has already written.
- Personal. Since John wants to be under 190 pounds by the time he is 30, he will want to make sure he is setting a realistic goal for his age 25 time-frame with regard to his weight and health. If he does not pay attention to his weight and instead gains weight in his early to mid twenties, John may have weight problem to deal with when he is 30.
In this way John reviews what is already planned in longer time-frames and begins to write a coherent plan for the shorter time-frames. It is important to note that John’s already completed age 30 plan is not chiseled in stone. In working on an earlier time-frame he may discover that something he has written for age 30 cannot be accomplished by that time. OR he may determine that he has been too conservative and that he can really accomplish more in that more distant period. In either case he will need to go back to age 30 and make changes so that his plan has a realistic shot of success. In this way, the entire process is really an iterative process. That is, it will likely take several iterations (or repetitions) to develop a coherent plan.
Back to Age 25
After reviewing his age 30 mind map, John will now begin writing for age 25 across all three realms. Here is the blank template for age 25 with the familiar fields to guide John in his planning.
Since John has already completed his more distant time-frame, he can more easily step back in time and create his goals:
- Family Status: Mom & Dad 62, Steve 27, Jane 24, Kate 20
- If we are not already living near Mom & Dad, we will look for career opportunities to move closer.
- Steve may have children by this time, and it is important to me to be a good uncle to my nieces and nephews. This is true even if we do not live near one another.
- I will have contributed my love and help to Jane and will have a healthy, supportive relationship with her as an older brother. I will maintain healthy boundaries.
- I will continue my strong relationship with Kate and assist her in whatever ways she needs me.
- I may be an uncle to Jane and/or Kate’s children at this point. As with Steve’s, I will invest in these nieces and nephews and be a wonderful uncle to them.
- Robin and I will be celebrating our third anniversary.
- I will support her in her career, life, and interests.
- I will spend quality time with her and work seriously on making our marriage great. I will invest in us.
- We may have children by this time. I will take fatherhood seriously and will look out for the well-being of them all.
In reviewing his age 30 map, John notices that he failed to say anything about his in-laws in what he wrote about family. He address this now in the new time-frame by writing:
- I will make it easy for Robin and the kids to spend time with her parents.
- I will look for ways to help Robin’s parents.
Also, now that John has identified this oversight from the age 30 plan, he will go back to that age 30 map and add his thinking about his in-laws.
- I will be in my 2nd year of work as an engineer.
- I will establish a reputation as a person with a strong work ethic.
- I will cultivate relationships with engineers I admire in order to learn from them and grow my network.
- I will look for and participate in continuing education opportunities.
- I will earn at least $60,000 per year.
- We will practice wise budgeting and will pay off all student loan debt.
- I will keep my weight under 190 pounds.
- I will play tennis and walk regularly.
- I will eat a healthy diet, and continually educate myself about the latest in nutritional science.
- I will get annual physicals from my doctor.
- I will take guitar lessons and review the fundamentals of music.
- I will play in at least one charity golf tournaments each year for fun and to support good causes.
- I will hunt annually with my Dad and brother.
- I will explore various charities and volunteer my time to determine the place I am most passionate about serving.
- I will explore the mentoring a young person through Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
- I will financially support humanitarian relief efforts through world-class charities.
- I will vote in local, state, and national elections as an exercise of my civic duty and of patriotic gratitude.
- I will continue to learn and explore my own spiritual nature and the nature of God.
- I will focus on my spiritual journey with my wife and grow along with her.
- I will explore and identify a good group of people/church to belong to and to do spiritual work with.
- I will strive to be consistent in my religious beliefs and allow them to guide my actions in work and personal life.
Here is all of this information in the mind map for age 25:
When both the age 25 and age 30 map are included, here is John’s map. Remember, this image will enlarge:
Now that we have gone through two different time-frames for John we can begin to understand the process for doing a complete mind map. I think you will agree that it is actually hard work. We have not even completed John’s plan yet for his two closest time-frames. One thing that will emerge as we look to the closer time-frames is that the specific goals will become more like tasks as he begins to realize actions he will need to take to make his longer vision a reality. In our next article we will examine how the closest time-frames will drive John’s actions.