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You Are the Map. Still, You’ve Got to Write it Down.

Erica Schreiber
/
May 2, 2017

Have you ever started a company with the intention to dominate an industry without a clear mission and an air tight business plan? Gone to the market without a shopping list for a major holiday or event? Shown up at an annual board meeting you’re leading without an agenda? Arrived at a tough and pivotal negotiation without time spent strategizing and a solid plan? If so, how did it turn out for you?

There’s a time and place for playing off the cuff—which can yield wildly positive dividends—and a time for planning things out so you can stay focused on the task at hand and maximize your chances at success.

So why (in god’s name!) don’t we take the same care to map out ourselves and our lives? I can hear the groans already. But hear me out. I’m not talking about standard goal-setting or strategizing about how to climb the corporate ladder.

I’m talking about mapping out who you at your core, what your greatest gifts are, and how you’re meant to give them.  A map designed to ignite every aspect of your being, making you feel on fire with vitality now, and inspiring pride in your 80-100 year old self.

My purpose according to my map is to support influencers to know who they are and what is theirs to do—and to write it down—that they may live lives aligned with this deep knowing. And so their impact in the world can be aligned with who they are and the good of the all.

Some people require a life meltdown to surrender to their deepest self and to make their greatest contributions. But you don’t need to wait until you’re on your knees to begin your map. You can get started right now. Answer the questions below. Write or type your answers so you can see them, take them in, feel them in your bones. This is a 20 minute process. Are you willing to devote twenty minutes to yourself?

These are stream of consciousness questions. Set a timer and write whatever comes to mind. Don’t censor any thoughts, no matter how off-target or off-topic they seem. If you don’t have anything else to write until time, sit quietly and contemplate the question until more comes. It (almost) always does.

1. Who am I? (10 minutes)

2. I am the most simultaneously relaxed and energized when I’m thinking, doing, creating, expressing… (5 minutes)

3. If I could solve any problem in the world, I would focus on…because…It may be in your family, community, or of global nature. (5 minutes)

Remember that you only see yourself from a given perspective, which is why getting other points of view creates the most comprehensive map. That’s why I do an in-depth inner circle interview process with my clients. You can do similar by asking colleagues, friends, and family to share their perspectives on you.

A map is meaningless until you’re willing to live it. After I map out who my clients are and what is theirs to do, I describe how to best leverage gifts and shadows, detail key habits and practices to integrate, and create a plan with a timeline to put it all into action. You can take a step in this direction right now. Find one way—pick a simple habit or practice—to bring your really lived life closer to what you discovered when you answered the above questions. And please, write it down. Then live it.

About the Author
Erica Schreiber

Erica works with select elite forward-thinking leaders to illuminate and articulate identity and purpose—including zone of genius—in service of maximizing impact. Her clients range across generation, industry, and perspective. She holds a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Swarthmore College. Erica lives in Santa Barbara with her son.